Today’s Kitchens and Master Baths: Where We Live and Relax

Homeowners are updating their kitchens and master baths with specialized features, functions, and amenities that elevate them beyond their utilitarian purposes

By Nino Sitchinava

Kitchen and bathroom remodels rival one another in popularity, and are the most expensive rooms in the home to renovate—and the similarities don’t end there. Our recent U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends and U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends surveys found that homeowners are updating both rooms to create specialized spaces; these new rooms will be stocked with amenities, features, and furnishings that expand where they and their families live and relax within their homes.

Upgrading Features to Fit Expanded Uses of Kitchens and Baths

Today’s master bathroom upgrades focus on much more than functional necessities. In fact, creating a spa-like space is a top design consideration for every two in five master bathroom upgraders (41 percent). That includes installing personalized features such as rain showerheads (48 percent), bathtubs for two (36 percent), bathtub jets (35 percent), and showers for two (25 percent). Homeowners are also incorporating cozy features including radiant heat flooring (26 percent), towel warmers (11 percent), and steam showers (3 percent).

When it comes to kitchens, homeowners are upgrading these rooms to accommodate the variety of activities and copious amounts of time they spend there. Nearly two-thirds of renovators spend more than three hours a day in their kitchens (60 percent). Their activities in this room go far beyond cooking and baking—over two-thirds use it for eating and dining (69 percent), and nearly half entertain (49 percent) and socialize (43 percent) there.

Given this, homeowners are bringing features traditionally associated with living and dining rooms into their updated kitchens, including dining tables (25 percent), TVs (14 percent), and desks/workspaces (7 percent). Customized features that support entertaining are also popular, including wine refrigerators (11 percent) and built-in stations for coffee/tea (10 percent).

Making Major Changes

A significant share of homeowners upgrading their kitchens and master bathrooms are expanding the size of these rooms (37 percent for kitchens and 28 percent for master bathrooms). This bigger-is-better mentality doesn’t end at the overall square footage of the room; more than half of master bathroom renovators are increasing the size of their showers as well (67 percent).

Major upgrades are common in both kitchen and master bathroom updates. Layout changes are common in kitchen renovations (48 percent)—U-shaped and L-shaped kitchens are especially popular in those with updated layouts (35 and 28 percent, respectively). Countertops (93 percent), faucets/other plumbing fixtures and sinks (89 percent each), and backsplashes (88 percent) are frequently included in kitchen upgrades. In master bathrooms, homeowners are eager to tackle faucets/plumbing fixtures (91 percent), flooring (87 percent), and lighting (86 percent).

Contemporary, Well-Lit Spaces Reign

Many homeowners are using the renovation as an opportunity to infuse new style into their rooms. Three-quarters of kitchen renovators are making a style change (76 percent), for example. Homeowners gravitate toward a transitional (21 percent), contemporary (19 percent), or modern look (12 percent) in their updated kitchens, among others. These styles are also popular in updated master bathrooms, at 18, 26, and 10 percent, respectively.

Lighting is a top priority in upgrades of both rooms, with four in five master bathroom renovators and kitchen upgraders alike tackling this feature during their projects. Homeowners are equipping both rooms with multiple lighting types. In updated master bathrooms, recessed lighting (61 percent) and wall sconces (60 percent) are especially popular. Top lighting types in upgraded kitchens include under-cabinet lighting (74 percent), recessed lighting (72 percent), and pendant lighting (55 percent).

Major Projects = Pro Help

Given the scope of these upgrades, it’s not surprising that the majority of homeowners turn to professionals to help them bring their visions to life. 87 percent of kitchen renovators and 79 percent of master bathroom upgraders hire a pro. Over half of those renovating kitchens hire a general contractor (54 percent) and/or a design professional such as kitchen designer, interior designer, or architect (27, 14, and 11 percent, respectively). When it comes to master bathrooms, 69 percent of renovators hire a construction professional, 33 percent hire a construction manager, and 29 percent hire a design pro.

So what will the kitchen and bathroom of the future look like? Our data shows that large, well-lit rooms that accommodate a variety of activities and uses are here to stay, and homeowners are investing to create spaces stocked with specialty features that fit their particular needs. The rooms that homeowners and their families choose to gather, relax, and do most of their living in will continue to spread beyond traditional family/living rooms, and their remodeling projects will continue to reflect that.

Nino Sitchinava is Principal Economist at Houzz. Learn more about Houzz at Houzz.com.

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