Top Remodel Trends for 2012
Open up that wall!
After making sure it's not structurally necessary, of course. :) According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), opening the kitchen up to a dining area and the family room to create a "great room" is one of the strongest trends in remodeling today.
The award for "Most Popular Countertop" goes to...
Engineered quartz, granite, and natural stone tile. Engineered quartz is virtually maintenance-free and offers a more uniform look than granite. Granite contains natural imperfections and needs to be sealed periodically, but those imperfections also create variations in pattern and color that many people love. Both are very durable.
Stone tile is more prone to breaking and the grout creates maintenance issues, but it is still hugely popular. More people are choosing tiles with a natural, textured look these days.
"Trendiest Countertop" is...
Stainless steel, which is being seen more frequently in residential homes. This works well when used in part of the kitchen, such as on a food preparation island, complemented with a warmer-looking material on other counters.
Concrete counters have enormous "cool factor," and allow you to be creative with color and inserts made of glass or tile. They are prone to cracking, however, and require occasional sealing.
Soapstone, limestone, and butcher block all have ardent fans, but expect them to develop a worn appearance sooner than other materials. (Of the three, soapstone appears to be the most resistant to stains and heat.)
Mix it up.
The style now is to mix different types of materials in the same room, for example, a granite countertop with a glass tile backsplash.
Tile for bathroom and kitchen floors.
Tile is still an extremely popular flooring choice. As with countertops, more people are choosing textured rather than shiny surfaces.
Tip: You can use large tiles for floors in small rooms to make the room appear bigger and cut down on the amount of grout. Also, positioning large tiles diagonally (at a 45-degree angle to the walls) creates a nice visual effect.
Kitchen cabinets: Don't be afraid of the dark.
Many of the new construction homes in 2011 had cabinets with a dark natural finish, ranging from chocolate and coffee to a warm chestnut. That style is expected to remain popular this year.
Maple is the wood of choice according to many remodeling magazines, and remember, unless you're going for the country look, cabinets with clean, straight lines rather than curved details will probably retain their in-style look for longer.
"Green" is in and growing in demand, which is why environmentally-friendly materials such as reclaimed wood and bamboo have big appeal.
Warm feet are a worthwhile investment.
It's relatively simple and inexpensive to add in-floor radiant heat to a bathroom. Rather than requiring a built-in system of tubing for hot water, you can install a thin electric mat that lies beneath floor tiles. In-floor heat is one of those relatively easy upgrades that adds luxury to your day-to-day life and sets your home apart from others.
Have you considered a steam shower?
Steam showers are not just for high-end homes anymore, so consider one if you think it would not be "over the top" for your bathroom. The cost can range from around $1,500 for a do-it-yourself job to $5,000 to $7,000 (or more, depending on materials) professionally installed. Just know that it's more realistic to install one for your own use than to count on a big boost in resale value.
Grey is in. (But just remember: It's grey....)
Brown is out, purple is leaving, and all shades of grey are now in style, according to Beasley and Henley Interior Design in a recent 2012 Trends article. Expect to see it spiced up with bright yellow, orange, and indigo blue.
That being said, please keep in mind that warm color tones have historically been more appealing to home buyers, so if a sale is in your future you might be safer sticking with the tried and true.
Mud rooms are finally cool.
This is a classic example of people loving what works. The convenience of a mud room where you can kick off shoes, hang coats, and clean off pets on your way into the home is so appealing that the NAHB report listed the mud room as one of today's top home design features.
Surprise of the year: Vinyl plank "hardwood' floors.
Faux-hardwood vinyl floors used to be the kiss of death in interior design, but today's products are surprisingly appealing, not to mention easy to install.
This might just be the answer to a mud room or low-end bathroom upgrade, especially if you want to match a bordering room that has true hardwood but don't want to use real wood in a room that will be exposed to moisture or high traffic. Here are two styles from Home Depot as an example.
And a few more, from the NAHB and designer magazines:
- Stainless steel and colored appliances: In. (It's safer long-term to go with stainless steel.)
- Hidden appliances made to look like cabinets: Definitely in.
- Induction cooktop with separate double oven: In.
- Trash compactors: Going out.
- Recycling stations: In.
- Kitchen island with table seating: In.
- Walk-in pantry: In.
- Undermount sinks: In.
- Vessel sinks: Going out.
- Solid surface countertops (such as Corian): Still in.
- LED lighting: In.
- Universal design features such as hand grips in showers: In.
- Antique/flea market chic for decor: In.
- Polished chrome for hardware: Coming back in. (It may be safer to stick with silver versus gold, or simply opt for satin nickel instead.)
- Track lighting: Going out.
- Chandeliers and pendant lighting: In.
Are you remodeling for resale?
As always, if you're remodeling for a future sale, it's safer to pick styles that don't represent the extreme of a current trend - especially if you think you'll be selling in a few years rather than a few months.
Before you start a remodel, please give me a call so I can share my advice about what will pay off best in terms of usability and resale value. My experience can save you time and money, so please take advantage of it!
(What the lawyers make us say: The information in this newsletter is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Please always consult a qualified expert before making decisions based on this content. Nothing in this article is meant to be taken as expert legal, financial, or medical advice.)