What are the top remodeling trends for 2010?Whether you need to spend less money lately or you want to get more value for what you spend, the economy probably is driving your choices when it comes to home improvement.
When times are tough, we tend to choose more practical products that will last a long time, not only because they’re durable, but because their design is timeless.
Some of the home-improvement contractors in my referral network helped me come up with a Top 10 list of design and remodeling trends for 2010.
- Bigger rooms. We’re spending more time at home, cooking, eating, enjoying our families and entertaining. So homeowners continue to favor large, open spaces and less formal rooms. Those with dining rooms or TV rooms separated from the kitchen are removing walls to create “great rooms” like the ones you’ll find in so many newly built homes.
- Bare floors. People are ripping out their carpeting and installing harder floor surfaces, like ceramic tile, hardwood or engineered wood, and laminates. The hard surfaces are easier to keep clean, harder to stain and less likely to collect dust. One exception: the bedroom, where carpet is still a popular choice.
- Reuse. In remodeling, reuse trumps recycle. If you’re replacing your kitchen countertops with something higher-end, perhaps you can use that old vinyl slab in a craft room or laundry room. When you’re expanding the size of your patio, you might be able to clean up your old flagstone and mix it in with some new pieces rather than changing the whole thing to pavers or another material. Reusing something you already have in a new way is a frugal solution that creates less waste.
- Product knowledge. When every penny counts, we want to spend them on products we know are worth every one. So homeowners are paying attention not only to prices, but to news about product recalls, defects and durability. They’re asking where their drywall was manufactured and how the look of a wood cabinet will change as it ages. They’re asking more questions and doing more product research on their own.
- Kitchen upgrades. If you can freshen only one room in your house, it will probably be the kitchen. People who are investing in their homes are looking for the greatest value, and an upgraded kitchen gives back—as a selling point when you’re ready to put your house on the market; in convenience and lower operating costs if you plan to stay; and as a point of pride if your family and friends congregate there.
- Simpler designs. Less is more in 2010; homeowners are getting back to basics with clean, simple, timeless designs that create a comfortable home that’s less ornate and easier to maintain. Homeowners are choosing products and styles that are affordable and functional—yet updated.
- Looking ahead. People who are spending money on their homes today are considering how the changes they make will affect them in the future, especially if they plan to stay put as they age. Bathroom remodels typically include the installation of grab bars, curbless showers, wider doors, higher toilets and taller vanities, which are comfortable for people of all ages and can allow older family members to live at home for longer.
- Going green. How green a homeowner gets still depends on the price of the energy-efficient or environmentally sound product compared with a standard model. Still, more homeowners are looking at products like tankless water heaters and dual-flush toilets, which save energy and water—so they’re cheaper to operate than older units.
- Muted colors. Dusty blues, muddy browns and muted purples are pushing greens, golds and bright colors from design palettes both indoors and on the outside of the house. Homeowners are gravitating toward calm, comforting colors, and are embracing shades like gray, eggplant, taupe and earthtones.
- Paying cash. Fewer people are making expensive home improvements during these gloomy economic times, but those who are feel they can afford to. More homeowners are saving up for their projects before starting them so they can pay as they go rather than incurring a debt to pay later.