discussing trends in home remodeling, industry experts agree — quality
is trumping quantity. "In the past, the most important thing was,
‘How big can I afford to make it?’" says Chris Egner, a member
of the Milwaukee/National Association of the Remodeling Industry board
of directors and owner of Design-Build-Remodel in New Berlin. "Now,
it seems like people are conscious of the space, but they’re willing
to spend their dollars on higher quality and better finishes — more
detail, rather than just a larger, empty box."
executive director of the Metropolitan Builders Association, says there
are five primary trends surfacing in home remodeling. They include:
aging in place (remodeling a home to meet both current and future
needs); flex spaces (spaces you can easily modify as needs change);
in-home offices; overall consumer savviness; and home automation. She
says it’s important to consider your current stage of life when
remodeling a home (Is your family expanding and in need of more space?
Or will you and your spouse be empty nesters within a few years?) but
agrees that "quality is really important over the quantity of
Here, the experts
weigh in on what’s hot — and what’s not — in home remodeling.
kitchens — spaces that blend a functional kitchen space with a casual,
sit-down dining area — are an emerging trend, and one Hillmer believes
is here to stay. "Kitchens continue to be the heart of the
home," she says. "We’re seeing fewer formal dining areas and
more of an open-concept feel that has either an eat-in kitchen with a
large island that kids can sit at or an adjacent kitchen table that isn’t
in a separate room."
undoubtedly the leading cabinet color in 2015, but according to Egner,
boldly colored cabinetry is starting to hold its own. "White is
still the most popular, but people are looking at more bold colors for
the cabinetry," he says. "There are people willing to put blue
or red or yellow cabinets in. In the past, nobody was that brave."
Hillmer says consumers are also beginning to forgo stainless steel
appliances in favor of custom covered, built-in appliances, which
resemble the surrounding cabinetry. "It looks seamless yet it’s
still functional," she adds.
practicality still occasionally top of mind, many consumers with small
children (or even avid chefs) are choosing quartz counters, which are
nonporous and resistant to heat, over granite or marble. "Quartz
manufacturers have done a great job in mimicking natural stone,
especially Carrara marble," says Leslie Dohr, a member of the
American Society of Interior Designers and a design principal at
Milwaukee-based Deep River Partners, Ltd. "People love Carrara
marble — it’s a classic material for countertops. It’s very Old
World and very traditional, but it stains easily and is hard to
maintain. People are picking quartz for its durability."
Like the bathroom,
the bedroom is morphing into a place to relax and recharge. Fostering a
serene escape is top priority, and unlike other areas of the home,
square footage is increasing to accommodate designated seating areas or
flex spaces. "We’ve been seeing a lot of interest in master
sitting rooms or master areas off of master bedrooms," says Dohr.
"I think they provide a nice retreat or a place to reconnect that
is separate from children’s areas."
Technology is also
making its presence known in the bedroom, and installing a theater-type
level of audiovisual equipment can transform a room into a mini in-home
theater, further reinforcing the room’s stance as much more than just
a place to sleep. "When you’re remodeling or opening up any
walls, that’s your opportunity to put in extra wiring for home
automation or security technology, even if you don’t use it right
away" notes Hillmer. Other home automation features, like the
ability to control heating, lighting and even drapery with an iPad or
iPhone, are also popular, she says.
are more popular than ever before, and luxurious accents like steam or
digital system showers and heated tile floors are the new norm when
remodeling home bathrooms. "The general trend that I’m seeing is
that people are looking at their bathrooms as more of a spa and retreat
area than just a functional, get in and get out, type of thing,"
This trend has led
many homeowners to replace their traditional tubs with walk-in showers.
"We’re seeing less of the whirlpool tubs and bathtubs and more of
the large, walk-in showers with multiple shower heads," Egner adds.
And for those not wanting to eliminate a tub from the bathroom just yet,
Dohr says consumers are instead installing freestanding tubs cast in
statement-making materials like steel, bronze or copper. "In
general, I think people are going away from shower over tub, instead
focusing on a freestanding tub and making that an element of
focus," she says.