Hot Home Design Trends: 7 Smart Upgrades Worth Investing In

A new survey by HGTV shows that 38% of Americans are planning to do some type of home improvement project in the coming year.

While your main motivation for reinventing a part of your living space will be to enhance your comfort level now, it’s always wise to keep the future in mind, too.

Taking a forward-thinking approach to the remodeling projects you undertake and considering how they add value to your home and will make it more attractive to future buyers is financially savvy.

So which home design trends are expected to be embraced by homeowners this year? We took the pulse of various interior designers and homebuilder organizations to find out.

7 home design trends worth paying attention to

Naturally, not all of the home design trends listed below will have staying power with homeowners and still be popular in, say, five years.

Some will evolve and some may well just fizzle out. After all, that’s why they’re called trends! We’ve mostly chosen relatively “safer” remodeling trends, including a few that never seem to fall out of fashion.

Here are seven home design trends worth paying attention to if you’re looking to update the aesthetics and functionality of your house.

1. Modern kitchen upgrades

Of the 2,000 respondents to that HGTV survey, 55% named the kitchen as the area of their home they considered the top priority for a renovation.

Because it’s one of the hardest-working rooms in the house, kitchens are always top of mind amongst homeowners when it comes to living space upgrades.

Another new survey of 1,000 U.S. homeowners by Hausera (an online kitchen and bath specialty retailer) found that 84% of the respondents had remodeled their kitchen, laundry room, or bathroom in the past two years. Two-thirds of them planned to do further upgrades to these rooms in the next two years.

In the kitchen, the top three reasons given by homeowners for doing a makeover were:

a change in lifestyle (41%)

to add value to home (38%)

to improve the room’s functionality (38%)

The “Marie Kondo effect” continues to resonate in the world of interior design. The minimalist aesthetic of gray colors that have been popular for a number of years now are expected to give way to more usage of another neutral color – black.

Two-thirds of the interior designers recently surveyed by Sherwin-Williams planned to use more black colors in their kitchen projects, particularly matte blacks.

The minimalist design approach includes showing less visual clutter. This should lead to more kitchen designs that keep appliances hidden, yet easily accessible via cabinetry with pullouts and lift-up panels.

For kitchen appliances, the stainless steel look continues to be very popular. Convection and induction ovens are expected to make their way into more homes. And more stoves will ditch the over-the-range microwave above them for high-quality ventilation hoods.

Granite will remain one of the most popular go-to materials for kitchen countertops. As a premium countertop option, porcelain slabs and quartz are being used increasingly in kitchen renovations.

2. Finished garages with a more upscale appearance

One of the home design trends that continues to grow is finishing the garage and turning it into an upscale extension of the living space.

The New York Times described garage makeovers as “the final frontier in home renovation”.

new Homeowner’s Most Wanted survey found that a finished garage was named the fourth most important feature for homebuyers. 25.8% of those surveyed considered it a high priority, especially baby boomers and millennials.

Showroom quality floor coatings, slatwall panels that look superior to a wall’s exposed studs or scuffed drywall, and premium cabinetry can be color coordinated to create a stylish, visually stunning space.

While garage aesthetics are getting more attention from homeowners, so is giving the room more functionality. Primarily, maximizing the garage’s storage space is of significant importance.

Adding enough efficient and versatile storage systems (like slatwall and overhead racks) creates parking space for vehicles. With the proper setup, keeping the home’s single-largest storage space well-organized requires much less effort.

New lighting, insulation upgrades, a new garage door and opener, and cool extras like a TV, audio system, or decorative perimeter LED lighting add to the garage’s appearance and functionality.

A garage makeover is seen as a win-win for homeowners. They can enjoy the comfort of a stylish, modern-looking garage with more storage, which in turn becomes a great selling point for their property in the future.

3. Flooring upgrades

If a trend never seems to go away, can you really call it a trend?

The answer is apparently “yes”. Most of the homebuilding and interior design experts we looked at say that flooring upgrades will be one of the most commonly done home improvement projects this year, just as it is every other year.

The timeless visual appeal and low-maintenance nature of hardwood and ceramic tiles explains why this is one of the home design trends that never ends.

Technological advancements also give consumers an almost limitless numbers of design options to choose from with both products.

If you fancy adding ceramic tiles that look like real wood to your floors, that’s doable (and quite trendy). Engineered hardwood now has a bigger share of the flooring market than traditional hardwood does.

Another popular design trend is having a more consistent flooring appearance on a floor, or even throughout the entire house.

In addition to having a cohesive look, this design strategy also helps make a living space look bigger.

4. Bolder bathroom designs with modern amenities

The bathroom is another perennial favorite part of the home for upgrade projects.

As in the kitchen, interior designers are looking to take a “bolder is better” approach to the colors used in bathroom remodels and will be more partial to darker tones this year. That means trendy grays are out and black is in.

Black is also expected to become a more popular color for bath tubs and other bathroom fixtures. Deep soaking tubs, freestanding tubs, and large open-concept showers are in vogue right now. Shower add-ons like ambient lighting, anti-fog mirrors, and integrated bench seating will be used in more shower designs.

Industrial-style sinks and vanities are trendy at the moment as well and add a classy (and classic!) look to the bathroom, while also providing a modern aesthetic.

North American homeowners have been slow to warm up to incorporating bidets into their bathroom designs and designers expect progress in this area to continue at a very modest pace.

The Japanese trend of using high-tech toilets that have seat warmers, built-in deodorizing systems, and lids that automatically open will also continue to grow.

Here are several more of the home design trends that are expected to appear in more bathrooms over the next few years:

underfloor heating systems

terrazzo counters, backsplashes, and wall surfaces

brass finishes (particularly brushed brass)

lighting that’s creatively integrated into the bathroom’s architecture

tiles with unconventional shapes

5. An outdoor kitchen and entertaining space

Interior kitchens aren’t the only cooking space that homeowners want to upgrade.

Recently, the American Institute of Architects released their Home Design Trends Survey. Incredibly, 45% of the architects who were surveyed expected outdoor kitchens to be the most popular type of home kitchen remodel project done.

Forbes acknowledged the increasing popularity of outdoor cooking and entertaining spaces by writing “outdoor kitchens and living areas are trending strongly and richly, with more enhancements than ever before”.

Here are some of the key components for creating a home showpiece with an outdoor kitchen:

a premium built-in grill with state-of-the-art features like temperature control, smart tech that responds to voice commands, and integrated lighting

a stylish, yet resilient countertop

durable built-in cabinetry tailored for your grill setup and customized to complement a home’s décor

interior kitchen amenities like a sink, side burners, and a countertop grill

built-in refrigeration appliances and ice-making machines

6. Smarter home tech

There are a head-spinning number of smart home tech products on the market and choosing the right ones for your living space can require a bit of homework.

Once you have decided which upgrades to make, you should start to enjoy the convenience and savings that these products promise to provide in helping to run your home.

Smart appliances are one of the most widely adopted types of high-tech products. Better voice recognition by the products’ smart assistant systems will widen their appeal.

Wi-Fi-enabled fridges are getting smarter with features like internal cameras, remote access via a smartphone app, and programmed voice reminders to pick up certain types of groceries.

Motion-sensing faucets for the bathroom and kitchen, as well as smart lighting products, rank near the top of consumers’ wish lists for smarter home tech.

7. Open spaces that also allow for privacy

A new wrinkle in the area of open-concept home designs has been trending upwards in the past few years.

Sliding closet door systems have been making their way out of the bedroom and into other parts of the home.

Taking advantage of this product’s versatility, the sliding doors are being used as room dividers to partition off large open spaces to create privacy when needed.

A big reason this trend is growing is that it allows homeowners to enjoy the best of both worlds with their living space.

The spacious open-concept floor plan can still make the occupants feel like this part of their home is more interconnected. When more privacy is needed, the simple slide of a door separates an area of the room.

To keep as much natural light in the living space as possible (while maintaining privacy), the sliding door is designed with attractive frosted glass panels.

In addition to this clever concept being implemented into more house designs, condos and office spaces are using it, too.

Which home design trends appeal to you?

Will any of these hot home design trends influence which home improvement project(s) you take on over the next couple of years?

If owning a finished garage you can be proud to show off to your neighbors is at the top of your list of remodeling projects, let Garage Living help you achieve your goal.

Schedule a free design consultation with us today.

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Award-winning Home Remodeling Ideas You’ll Want to Steal

When remodeling your home, you don’t want to settle for less. You want something that complements your home’s style, but is still fresh and in step with the latest décor trends. To find truly awe-inspiring home remodeling ideas, check out those that designers and builders have labored over, ones that have won awards. This list is a great place to start, with remodeling ideas for kitchens, bathrooms, and even the entire house.

Kitchen Design Maintains Character, Maximizes Storage

The stunning kitchen update shown at the top of this page and above includes varied counter heights to provide flexibility and meet the ergonomic needs of tall homeowners. The apron sink provides functionality while enhancing the period look of the space.

(Credit: Pete Eckert Photos)

Before: The existing kitchen design didn’t work well with the rest of the home and lacked enclosed storage.

A previous remodel of this kitchen left the homeowners feeling disconnected from the rest of the home. But after Craftsman Design of Portland, Oregon worked their magic, this kitchen redesign now ties in seamlessly with the rest of the home, as shown in the photo featured at the top of the page. Each element is designed to maintain the home’s historic character and maximize storage throughout, including:

A more workable layout

Custom white oak cabinetry built especially for tall homeowners to increase functionality

Soapstone counters, handmade tile, and oak flooring to reflect the beauty of the original period

Recognition: National Contractor of the Year (COtY) Award Winner, Residential Kitchen $100,001 to $150,000, National Association of Remodelers (NARI)

A Stunning Basement Renovation: From Clutter to Company-Ready

This basement remodel created a multi-generational space with distinct areas for both grandparents and grandchildren to enjoy.

(Credit: Liz Ernest Photography)

For the grandkids, a cozy reading nook with custom bed and built-in shelving and cubbies provide plenty of space for grandchildren

to read and hide away toys and art.

Attractive recliners and a flat screen TV give the grandparents a space where they can relax while babysitting.

The wrapped I-beam in stained wood adds style to the ceiling.

When you live in a home for decades, basements frequently become forgotten tombs for things no longer used. Home renovation ideas for basements abound, but this design is unique in the way it incorporates areas for both the grandparents and the grandchildren. The result makes it the perfect aging in place solution for the homeowners, who do a lot of babysitting. Designer Iris Chadab of Windows to the Walls Interiors in Alexandria, Virginia started by creating two separate areas — one for the grandchildren to read and play, and the other area for the adults to relax, read, or watch TV.

The kids’ side also includes plenty of storage to contain the clutter from toys, books, and gaming equipment. The other half is space for the adults to entertain friends and enjoy their favorite shows from the comfort of stylish seating that still reclines. The hardest part for the homeowners? Clearing out 40 years of accumulated junk to make room for a wonderful new stage in their lives.

Recognition: National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers Homes for Life Award – Multigenerational Remodel

Feature a favorite design element in your bathroom remodel on a budget

Removing the tub and replacing it with an all-glass shower enclosure opened up this bathroom to a brighter look.

This hand-painted Portuguese tile mural became a focal point in this bathroom redesign.

Before; It’s hard to believe this is the same bathroom!

If you have a favorite piece of heirloom furniture, artwork, or design element, consider creating your house makeover around it. That’s what the homeowner did with their bathroom remodel. They carried a hand-painted Portuguese tile mural all around Europe before bringing it home to Austin, Texas. And, the fine folks at Adams Company created just the space to highlight the mural, choosing colors to reflect its beauty. Removing the tub and installing a glassed-in frameless shower opened up the bathroom. Painting the existing cabinetry and topping it with a matching quartz remnant brought this project in below budget. The stone pebble shower floor and 24-inch Lefka white tiles join forces with the glass block window to lighten the room. The crystal chandelier is the cherry on top.

Recognition: National CotY Award Winner, Residential Bath Under $25,000

Bring your vision for an open kitchen and great room to life

This kitchen and great room remodel shows what a difference open design can make.

(Photo credit: Versatile Imaging)

Before: The kitchen lacked character and felt walled off from the living area.

If you’re looking for ways to change a closed-in kitchen into a modern open kitchen design, this example shows how to do it right. In this case, while their 70s-style home already had a cool vibe, the pre-renovation kitchen layout wasn’t working for the homeowners. Hatfield Builders and Remodelers took their vision of an open kitchen and living area and made it come to life.

Simple, clean lines and a large great room are now in place. They replaced everything in the kitchen:

All new cabinets for the perimeter

Danby honed marble counters and black slate backsplash

Island and wet bar from Dulce

Stainless Thermador appliances

Open shelving next to the apron front sink adds flair

Floors finished with a custom gray wash stain over white oak

Recognition: American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Dallas Design Ovation Award

Whole House Transformation Reveals the Beauty of Accessibility

Every remodeling project comes with its set of unique challenges. In this case, the original fireplace, was 2 feet out of plumb. The solution involved creating an asymmetrical design that looks like a work of art.

(Photo credit: Sara C Imagery)

Before: The living room was drab and walled off from the dining room and kitchen.

This complete home renovation actually won three awards, and it’s not surprising when you see what Corinthian Fine Homes in Indianapolis, Indiana did to transform this mid-century modern home into a fully ADA-compliant masterpiece. This included opening the main living areas by removing walls between the kitchen, living, and dining rooms – a plus for accessibility as well as livability and eye appeal. Adding cathedral ceilings and skylights further enhanced the feeling of freedom with openness and light. A master builder and certified graduate remodeler, the general contractor also redesigned a ho-hum fireplace into an artistic focal point – a creative solution and repair when it turned out that the chimney was 2 feet out of plumb. New hand-scraped walnut flooring was selected for its textured beauty, which can also hold up well and mask wear from wheelchair use.

The master suite features custom-designed sliding barn doors for functionality and style.

An open vanity and custom-designed cabinets add accessibility and clean lines.

The curbless shower with linear drain features both rainfall and hand-held shower heads.

A 2.5 car garage was converted into an ADA-compliant master suite. An ADA vanity, curbless shower, and sliding barn-style doors make tooling around this suite of rooms easier for a wheelchair-bound homeowner. In addition to the accessibility features, this remodel stands out for the fact that you’d never guess this was a garage conversion – inspiration for those who want to use their garage for room to grow.


ProRemodeler Design Award – Platinum Award for Universal/Better Living Design

Chrysalis Award – Regional Award for Residential Universal Design

Qualified Remodeler Master Design Awards – Bronze Award for Universal Design

New Window Design Brings the Great Outdoors Inside

If you’re not ready for a major remodel, but you’re looking for a way to expand a room, you’ll want to add the SkyCove by Marvin to your list of home remodeling ideas. Easy enough to install in one day by the handy DIYer, this fully-constructed glass pop-out creates a cozy nook where there once was the typical picture window. An integrated bench is comfortable for one or more people, extending the home’s living space while bringing you closer to nature. Low E3 glass also reduces solar heat gain and energy use.

Recognition: House Beautiful’s Best of the International Builders Show 2020

Turn Your Basement Into a Luxurious Home Theatre

This in-home theatre includes two rows of ten seats, designed with enough space to move around and elevated appropriately for viewing, while still providing enough head room when standing.

Every step in the room has LED strip lighting with a filter lens. The seats also have built-in lighting around the cup-holders and underneath each seat.

To create the feel of a real theatre marque, the design team constructed a stone wall with built-in columns to match the Spanish aesthetic of the home. The movie posters are backlit for an authentic feel.

Perfect for family reunions, holidays, or entertaining with friends, this home theatre offers all the amenities you could imagine. Schloegel Design Remodel of Kansas City, Missouri did a remarkable job of transforming the client’s basement into usable space. Beautifully working around existing soffits, the team was able to install 10 theatre chairs, elevated and spaced perfectly, yet maintaining ample headspace. They consulted with an audio-visual partner to make sure every detail, from projector height to speakers, was perfect. Adjacent to the theatre space is a bar, complete with leather-covered chairs and movie posters.

Recognition: All Star and Silver Remodeler of the Year (REMY) Award, NARI Kansas City Chapter

How to move from remodeling ideas to making it happen

So what’s your goal? Whether you want to start with a kitchen or bathroom makeover, or are renovating your entire home, our Ultimate Home Remodeling Checklist gives you a clear roadmap to planning, prepping and getting it done. Then when you’re ready, you can use How to Hire a Remodeling Contractor as a guide to finding the right company for the job.

Not sure what you’ll do with all your stuff during construction? Consider getting an on-site storage container delivered to your driveway to keep your belongings safe and close at hand.

Carol J. Alexander writes about home remodeling and lifestyle topics from her home in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Her work has appeared in This Old House, Family Handyman, and Farmer’s Almanac.

Please stop modeling your house after home-improvement shows

Home-improvement shows have become massively popular in recent years.

But the shows only spotlight a handful of home decor styles.

As a result, people's homes are starting to lack personality.

Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

My ideal Saturday morning involves three things: coffee, a bagel, and a "Fixer Upper" marathon.

I love home-improvement shows because they're the perfect formula for relaxation. Watching experts transform someone's home can make the stress of any day fade away.

For years, I worshipped these shows, and I became a believer in the power of open-concept floor plans, barn doors, industrial sinks, and accent walls to transform a house into a home.

But recently, I've noticed these shows are becoming a bit too powerful.

People have started to see home-improvement as blueprints for how their spaces should look, creating millions of identical homes that have been drained of any personality.

Home-improvement shows are making people's houses look the same

Home-improvement shows have become massively popular in recent years, with millions of Americans tuning in to watch homes get renovated or flipped.

HGTV, for instance, is more in-demand than ever, with a 22% increase in its April 2020 ratings as compared to 2019, according to MarketWatch.

Faithful viewers see HGTV personalities like Chip and Joanna Gaines, the Property Brothers, Ben and Erin Napier, and Christina Anstead and Tarek El Moussa as design gurus, relying on them to show them how their homes should look.

But the problem with that reliance is that home-improvement shows only spotlight a handful of design styles, giving people a limited view of the ways a home can look good.

There are stylistic choices that are common on the majority of these shows, like shiplap walls, exposed beams, and industrial sinks, and the focus on those styles is leading people to embrace them in real life.

For example, the search term "modern farmhouse" has had a steady increase in search traffic over the last five years, according to Google Trends.

However, the decor highlighted on home-improvement shows isn't right for everyone, particularly because these designers are renovating with television in mind, and as a result, making design choices they may not have made off-screen.

Home-improvement shows only focus on a few styles of home decor. ocwarfford/Shutterstock

For instance, a former HGTV executive told Insider that open floor plans are popular on the network's series not because they look good, but because the demolitions appeal to male viewers.

Likewise, these renovations often happen on a time crunch, sometimes making them flashy instead of practical and functional.

Read more: 3 easy ways to start investing in real estate, from 'the clever investor' who's flipped over 1,000 houses

The typical viewer isn't thinking of these goals and restraints as they watch a home-improvement show, so they assume that what they see on screen is the perfect fit for any home.

And as these shows attract more and more viewers, people's houses are starting to look identical, since it seems there is only one way for a home to be stylish and inviting.

Your home should be a reflection of your personality — not a television show

Watching home-improvement shows is a great way to get inspiration for how to redecorate your space.

The shows can give you ideas you may not have thought of before, and they're often educational, as they teach you the mechanics of what it takes to renovate a space.

But using them as an exact template for how you should remodel your home is a mistake.

Your home should reflect your personality and taste, not those of a television host or network.

Your home should reflect your personality. emmaduckworth/Getty Images

If you focus solely on following trends that you see on TV, you'll lose sight of the things that are important to you in a home space as you redecorate, likely leaving you with a home that isn't functional for your family. Your space may also feel impersonal and generic if you're replicating the renovations you see on screen.

Instead of trying to make your home look like a copy of a space you've seen on a home-improvement show, pick and choose the upgrades you see that actually make sense for your life.

While there's no denying Joanna Gaines has great taste, your home doesn't need to look like it's straight out of an episode of "Fixer Upper" to be perfect for you.

Maryan Barbara
Maryan Barbara

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