Home Building Insights from the Houzz Kitchen Trends Study

Take a deep dive into the world of modern kitchen design and renovation.

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Every year, Houzz surveys U.S. homeowners who recently completed or are planning a kitchen renovation project. The survey highlights trends in home building and kitchen design that can provide revealing insights into what modern homeowners are looking for in their new kitchen space.

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Here’s a breakdown of the 2021 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Survey, including a look at how things changed in 2020 and some of the year’s most influential design trends.

How COVID Changed Kitchen Design

When COVID-19 hit U.S. shores early last year, it triggered several massive societal shifts. One of the most impactful was how the pandemic forced most people to suddenly spend much more time at home. Not surprisingly, this increase in homebound time significantly influenced the way homeowners looked at their kitchens, particularly kitchen storage.

According to the Houzz survey, a whopping 94 percent of kitchen renovators had work done on their cabinets in 2020 to increase storage, while 63 percent replaced their cabinets entirely. In fact, the number of renovators who did at least some work on their cabinets was four times higher than 2019. Just under half of homeowners surveyed upgraded their pantries, while adding a walk-in pantry grew three percent in popularity from the year before.

Major Kitchen Design Trends

Of course, not all of 2020’s major kitchen design trends were influenced by the coronavirus. The median spend on major kitchen remodels was $35,000, a number that actually remained stable from 2019 to 2020 despite the year’s economic uncertainty.

Kitchen islands remain widely popular, with 63 percent of all renovated kitchens including one. Backsplashes extending all the way from the countertop to the cabinets also saw an increase, up five percent in popularity from 2019.

And while the survey reported homeowners scaled back on major features like countertops and sinks, technological solutions were all the rage, with nearly one in three appliance upgrades supporting high tech features. Most notably, more than half of surveyed kitchen renovations included faucets with high tech features.

Most Popular Materials in Kitchens

The year also saw interesting trends in the kinds of materials people selected for their kitchen remodel. Engineered quartz remained the top choice for countertops, but dropped 11 percent in popularity due its rising cost. Increasing amounts of homeowners opted for islands with countertops made from materials that contrast with the rest of their countertops. Butcher block was most popular for island countertops.

Hardwood flooring, on the other hand, saw a drop-off in 2020 after spiking in 2019, falling back to second among kitchen flooring material. Ceramic or porcelain tile reclaimed its top spot, used in 24 percent of flooring renovations last year. Vinyl flooring is also quickly gaining favor. In the 2019 version of the Houzz survey, just 12 percent of homeowners reported using vinyl flooring, a number that increased in 2020 to 19 percent.

Are People Hiring Professionals for Kitchen Renovations as Frequently?

Despite social distancing requirements, 2020 did not see a drop-off in the percentage of homeowners hiring help for their kitchen renovations.

According to the survey, 85 percent of renovators reported hiring or planning to hire a professional. Forty-nine percent of homeowners hired general contractors, making them the most hired service by a considerable margin. Cabinet makers were the next closest at 27 percent, followed by kitchen designer (19 percent), interior designer/decorator (11 percent), architect (11 percent) and kitchen remodeler (10 percent).