Home Girls: Is there lasting value in remodeling trends?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Home Girl Nan Skinner of Keller Williams shares this article, reprinted with permission of author, from HouseLogic.

By Dona DeZube

When you’re spending thousands to remodel a kitchen or bath, you want those updates to last a while.

To help you get ahead of and sort out the kitchen and bathroom trends — pity the last fool to install an avocado appliance in the 1970s — HouseLogic went to this month’s trend central, the International Builder’s Show.

Our takeaway: For gosh sake, enjoy your home; remodel so that you love where you live.

Still, with a couple of exceptions, these five kitchen and bath trends offer lasting value:

1. Kitchen cleanliness.

By clean, we’re talking design, not germs. Kitchens are going clean, contemporary, and horizontal (open shelves, long and horizontal pulls, thick countertops). Even in a classic kitchen, go with simple, flat cabinets rather than highly carved cabinet details, says designer MaryJo Camp of Design Camp, Denver, N.C.

HL tip: This is a trend to get on board with. A simple, tidy, fresh appearance will have broad appeal if you decide to sell.

2. Color is out.

This year, colors are cycling out, Camp says, except for black and white used together.

HL tip: Practically speaking, black and white are hard to keep looking good. Black kitchens show every scratch and white cabinets show every speck of dirt. 
Regardless, color is fickle; choose what’s best for your space.

3. Dark wood is where it’s at.

If you’ve had white cabinets, you know they show every speck of dirt, which can drive you crazy unless you have a cleaning fetish. Combine those white cabinets with another up-and-coming trend: dark wood. Or if your budget can handle the hit, go with specialty woods like mahogany or zebra wood that can make an island look like a piece of furniture.

HL tip: Alternatively, you could invest your money in more kitchen storage and functionality than trendy decorative elements that might not stand the test of time.

4. Appliances that blend in.

The more open our kitchens get, the more we want them to look like the rest of the house. That’s fueling a trend away from the big pro range and ginormous stainless-steel refrigerator and toward concealed, high-performance refrigerators and dishwashers. Induction cooktops, which use less electricity than electric cooktops, are growing in popularity, Camp said.

HL tip: When you buy appliances, look for the Energy Star label or go even deeper on energy performance ratings with Consortium of Energy Efficiency.

5. Ageless design gets easy.

What the Baby Boom wants, the Baby Boom gets. And Baby Boomers want to live in their homes forever. That’s led manufacturers to create DIY remodeling products with built-in universal design features — like toilet paper roll holders strong enough to hold your weight as you arise from the throne.

If you wanted a no-threshold shower five years ago, you had to have it fabricated as a custom piece, said Mary Jo Peterson, a Brookfield, Conn., designer. Today, companies sell no-threshold shower kits with trench-style drains covered with grills so you can roll yourself right in.

HL tip: We love the trend to universal design-ready remodeling products. To get started, check out our four universal design product ideas from anti-scald valves and door handles.

Which of these trends will your incorporate into your remodeling plans? Do you worry about staying ahead of trends?


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