For the majority of homeowners, kitchen design is a significant long-term commitment and requires a constant balance of function and aesthetics. Those decisions reverberate for 30 years or more. In fact, according to the latest Houzz Kitchen Remodeling Survey, 25 percent of participating Houzz users are remodeling kitchens that are more than 30 years old. Another 41 percent are updating kitchens that are 16 to 30 years old.
The survey, which polled more than 3,500 Houzz users who are in the midst of, planning or have recently completed a kitchen remodel, found that most kitchens last two to four times longer than the typical U.S. marriage (eight years) and duration of car ownership (nearly six years).
“We already know that kitchens are the biggest driver of discretionary spending in the remodeling market,” said Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz. “As the economy has improved, many homeowners who delayed spending on kitchen updates feel like they now have the means to remodel (37 percent).”
Given the cost and longevity, homeowners are making choices to ensure they can live with their kitchens for many years to come, from researching products that last to studying up on designs that stand the test of time. They're also, Houzz notes, looking to hire a professional designer to help them along the way.
Some 80 percent of respondents plan to hire a professional for their kitchen remodel project. While the majority hire pros for construction (76 percent), many homeowners are also hiring pros for design and construction management (46 percent and 39 percent, respectively).
According to the survey, when purchasing kitchen products, quality is the top driver for appliances (70 percent agree), as well as for paint (48 percent). When it comes to prioritizing design or style, those characteristics are top considerations when buying lighting fixtures (78 percent), cabinets (52 percent) and faucets (48 percent).
Also according to the survey, homeowners are sticking to the standard, with finishes like white cabinets (49 percent), in shaker (37 percent) or raised-panel (22 percent) styles, granite countertops (45 percent) and stainless steel appliances (83 percent).
Given the long-term relationship with the kitchen, making the space compatible with family and lifestyle is key. Here top priorities include ease of storage (65 percent) and entertaining (46 percent). It's a fact that seems to be driving people to remodel kitchens with organization features like a built-in pantry (44 percent), pull-out shelves (62 percent), deep cabinet organizers (38 percent) and built-in pet bowls (6 percent).
Other highlights from the survey include:
• Kitchen remodels go big: When homeowners choose to undergo a kitchen remodel, the majority (68 percent) are going big with projects requiring “substantial construction.”
• Current spending exceeds planned budgets: Homeowners are also spending big on kitchens, and often more than they budget for their projects. More than half of homeowners budget $25,000 or less for their upcoming remodels (51 percent), yet in 2014, only 40 percent of homeowners spent less than $25,000 on remodels. Perhaps relatedly, 36 percent of homeowners plan to spend between $25,000 and $75,000 on their new kitchens, but 46 percent of projects fell in this range in the past year.
• Neighborhood style: The most popular styles for new kitchens include traditional (23 percent), transitional (18 percent) and contemporary (16 percent). While just 11 percent of homeowners are choosing a farmhouse-style kitchen; this number more than doubles (to 25 percent) for those in rural neighborhoods.
The full 2014 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study can be downloaded here.
The “Kitchen Trends Study” is an online survey of U.S. Houzz users in November 2014. n=3,571.