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A Reason to Remodel: Changes to Bathrooms and Kitchens in Housing

A Reason to Remodel: Changes to Bathrooms and Kitchens in Housing

Now that the economy is better, homeowners are treating their senses while pampering themselves without leaving home.

Bathroom and kitchen remodels are trending up after sinking to historic lows in 2010, according to a survey released in late April by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Remodelers are also upgrading with newer, better features in their homes, including zen-like spas and gourmet kitchens, reports another survey.

In a late April report that set the stage for National Home Remodeling Month in May, NAHB reports that bathroom and kitchen remodels last year were up between 6 and 7 percent from 2013, respectively. Almost 80 percent of remodelers said upgrades to the privy were most common.

NAHB Remodelers Chairman Robert Criner says the reason for the spike is that homeowners have discretionary funds available for upgrades, “so better style, comfort and safety motivate more home improvement projects.”

Contemporary bathrooms and kitchens are gaining in popularity

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) reported earlier this year that bathrooms and kitchens are taking on new shapes and more functionality. Each are trending more toward contemporary styles.

Bathrooms are becoming more like spas with focus on accessibility and easy maintenance. Kitchens need to be more functional and the heart of the home.

More than half of the NKBA designers surveyed plan to do more contemporary kitchens in 2015, a trend that has increased by more than 15 percent in the last four years. Traditional kitchen designs  remain popular.

NKBA said a contemporary style with the feel of a retreat is a major shift in necessary rooms. As recently as a few years ago, about 75 percent of bathrooms designed by NKBA members were traditional. Those bathrooms are now trailing contemporary styles.

The organization’s 2014 Kitchen & Bath Design Trends report released earlier this year noted that zen-like retreats have strengthened its hold on bathroom design. Steam showers, electric heated floors, anti-fog mirrors, lighted showers and shower seats are some of the amenities in demand.

“I see a lot more interest in steam showers,” Sofeeka Hasiuk of Creative Minimalism near Philadelphia said in the report.

Remodelers also installed more smartphone compatible music sources and charging stations for family baths. Coffee and bar areas in the bathroom, as well as separate water closets, and drawer pullouts and rollouts for hair styling equipment and oral care appliances are popular.


Bathroom Remodel

American loves its tubs, especially when it comes to a good soaking


Walk-in showers have been on the rise, but America still loves its tubs. More than two-thirds of NKBA designers specified a free standing soaking tub for master bathrooms in 2014, and about 75 percent of installs included a standard tub and shower surround for guest bathrooms.

Jacuzzi or jetted tubs are drying up a bit, however. Los Angeles-area bathroom designer Bill Donohoe said homeowners want a place for a good soaking.

“People are moving away from jetted tubs to more classic soaking tubs,” he said in the report.

As for sinks, under-mount styles are the leader and will remain at the top in 2015, taking more of a share from vessel-style basins. Large, single trough-style sinks with two faucets are replacing the traditional side-by-side vanity sinks in master bathrooms.

While white and gray are the dominant colors for bathrooms, purple, lavender and lilac tones are coming in style. White fixtures continue their stronghold, while beige features are becoming less popular.

Most say the contemporary bathroom trend will continue this year, with remodels ranging $10,000-$29,000.

Kitchens are still the hub of the home

Kitchens are becoming more functional and easier to maneuver, plus a place to hang out for something other than a bite to eat.

Homeowners want kitchens with less maintenance, lots of firepower and easy preparation areas for entertainment and gourmet cooking, and space for a flat-screen television and work areas. Pullouts and rollouts for cabinets, as well as more storage in refrigerators, freezers and dishwashers are in demand. Some kitchen are even taking on duplicate appliances, like a pair of dishwashers, to handle those large cleanups.

“Kitchens have been, and still are, the hub of the home and clients want everything in their kitchen, i.e., televisions, docking stations, convenience appliances, etc.,” said California designer Donna Marie Mushinskie.

In addition to bath and kitchen upgrades, remodels included simple projects like window and door replacements, according to NAHB’s survey. Room additions – including turning basements into living spaces – also ranked high, as well as whole house remodels. The survey also found that a need for more space and a reluctance to move to a new home were popular drivers for home owner remodeling.

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