Home styles change and homeowner tastes are fickle, making it more important than ever for builders and remodelers to keep up with the latest trends in design and amenities. Here are 10 hot trends for the 2015 home, and five that have gone cold.
Searching for a special touch for a high-end home or a single splurge to make an entry-level townhouse look luxurious? Consider these pops of posh, offered by the Life + Money section of The Fiscal Times:
Comeback kid. Copper is showing up on countertops, bathroom sinks, doorknobs, faucets and even staircases. Warn the willing homeowner that the product can scratch and tarnish, so it’s fairly high-maintenance.
Quick cooking. Induction cook tops cost $1,000 and up, but these fast-cooking appliances can be the thing that convinces a house-hunting foodie to buy one home over another.
Smart home. A programmable thermostat, remote-controlled light switches, a security system accessible via smartphone, a basement flood sensor: Any or all—plus more—will make a tech-savvy, young shopper feel right at home.
Genius garage. Technology isn’t just for the house anymore; garage doors can be programmed to open and close via smartphone. Car lifts help fit more cars in a garage; finished, polished floors, paneled walls, and heat and air conditioning turn the room from an afterthought into a man cave.
Roof power. Solar panels cut energy bills and add value to a home. A recent survey by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory said homebuyers will pay $4 per watt more for a home with rooftop solar.
Upscale underfoot. Gray-hued hardwood floors are trending in kitchens and other rooms, as are out-of-the-ordinary colors, finishes and species. A tip: Stick with neutrals that will go with any homeowner’s furnishings and taste.
Today’s renters are tomorrow’s homeowners. Here’s what the young tenants of Washington, DC’s trendiest apartments can't live without, according to Gordon James Realty, which contributed a blog to DC news site HillNow. Builders hoping to attract millennial homebuyers might consider stocking entry-level homes with these sought-after amenities:
Outdoor space. It doesn’t matter if it’s communal or private, but a patio, porch, deck, yard, accessible rooftop, or other outdoor amenity ranks high on nearly every list of millennial must-haves.
Home gym. More apartments and even hotel rooms include en-suite space for a treadmill or stair-stepper in lieu of a shared fitness center, but either one will save the tenant/homeowner from having to pay for a gym membership.
Washer/dryer. Most tenants are willing to pay extra for this universally-loved convenience, so millennial homeowners probably are, too. Put it wherever it fits: in a closet, a spare room, a basement or a mud room—as long as it’s in the home and not in a central laundry room somewhere else in the community.
High-end kitchen. Stainless steel appliances, granite or quartz countertops, and stylish, satin-nickel faucets in the kitchen and bathroom can make even an entry-level home look luxurious.
Syndicated columnist and author Ilyce Glink asked three interior designers which amenities homeowners can live without—and what they want instead. Consider these do's and don’ts when deciding which up-to-date standard options and upgrades to offer in new homes:
Out: The kitchen desk. Few homeowners sit at this one-time staple to pay bills and talk on the phone anymore, so it’s simply not needed, the designers told Glink.
In: More counter space. The space that desk takes up could be better used to house the coffee maker and other small appliances that the homeowner leaves out all the time. And the legroom underneath it can be converted to storage space.
Out: Whirlpool baths. Homeowners think they want them, but who has the time to soak in one? Plus, filling a tub with 80 to 100 gallons can overflow the water bill.
In: An oversized shower with side sprays, a built-in bench and tile walls.
Out: An over-the-range microwave. Most are placed too high to make them comfortable or ergonomically safe for a short-statured cook to use, the designers said.
In: Microwave “drawers,” which can be installed beneath the counter, along with a range hood with an exhaust fan over the stove.
Out: Tiled counters. The grout between the tiles on these high-maintenance features is hard to keep clean.
In: Quartz counters, which come in dozens of colors and styles, and wipe clean with the swipe of a wet cloth.
Out: Brass hardware. Shiny gold faucets and doorknobs have been “out” for a while, although designers try to sneak them back into higher-end kitchens and bathrooms every couple of years.
In: Muted metals in silver tones that match stainless steel appliances. These designers’ favorites: brushed or satin nickel.