Times are Changing: Remodeling Bathrooms and Kitchens to Attract Residents

Modern Kitchen


America’s living rooms may be losing ground as a place to hang out at home. Remodeled kitchens and bathrooms are more contemporary and now areas that beg for a lingering stay, at least according to the latest data from builders and remodelers in the housing industry.

A couple of recent surveys by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) report that the move is on to make kitchens the heart of the home and bathrooms a place to be pampered.

In a report that set the stage for National Home Remodeling Month in May, NAHB says that bathroom and kitchen remodels last year were up 6 and 7 percent from 2013, respectively. Almost 80 percent of remodelers said upgrades to the privy were most common.

The reason? Homeowners have discretionary funds available for upgrades, says NAHB Remodelers Chairman Robert Criner.

Contemporary-style bathrooms and kitchens are more in demand

NKBA surveys for the past two years have documented the transformation of bathrooms and kitchens to contemporary areas loaded with functionality and lower maintenance. Both are being outfitted with technology and more equipment, which suggests Americans intend to spend more time in them.

New kitchen remodel designs include less emphasis on nuking a frozen dinner to having room and firepower for a gourmet spread or dinner parties.

More than half of the NKBA designers surveyed plan to do more contemporary kitchens this year, a trend that has increased by more than 15 percent since 2011.

Retreat-style bathrooms are now more popular than traditional privies

NKBA says a contemporary, zen-like bathrooms are a major shift. Just a few years ago, about 75 percent of bathrooms designed by NKBA members were traditional. Now, those bathrooms are now trailing contemporary styles.

In demand are steam showers, electric heated floors, anti-fog mirrors, lighted showers and shower seats. Also, walk-in showers continue to grow, and free-standing soaking tubs are being requested more.

Entertainment and a good cup of Joe or a drink are equally important while in the privy. Remodelers are installing more smartphone compatible music sources and charging stations, as well as coffee and bar areas in family baths. Separate toilet areas, and drawer pullouts and rollouts for hair styling equipment and oral care appliances are popular.


Under-mount style sinks continue to be popular and are at the top for 2015. Large, single trough-style sinks with two faucets are replacing the traditional side-by-side vanity sinks in master bathrooms.

While white and gray are the dominant colors for bathrooms, but purple, lavender and lilac tones are gaining in popularity. Fixtures are trending white rather than beige.

There are more to kitchens now than just the kitchen sink

Kitchens are becoming more functional and easier to maneuver and keep up, plus a place to hang out for something other than a bite to eat. Demand for appliances with large storage areas and more cabinet space suggest home chefs want a place to put on a big spread.

Some remodelers report that duplicate appliances – two dishwashers, for example – are desirable. Kitchens are also a place for being entertained or getting some work done. Flat-screen televisions, docking devices, and work areas are being incorporated into remodels.

“Kitchens have been, and still are, the hub of the home and clients want everything in their kitchen, i.e., televisions, docking stations, convenience appliances, etc.,” said California designer Donna Marie Mushinskie.

(Image Source: Shutterstock)


Contributing Editor, Property Management Insider
President, Ballpark Impressions, LLC

author photo two

Tim Blackwell is a long-time publishing and printing executive in the Dallas/Fort Worth area who writes about the multifamily housing and transportation industries. He has contributed numerous articles to Property Management Insider, and worked as a newspaper reporter in the D/FW area. Blackwell is president of Ballpark Impressions, and publishes the Cowcatcher Magazine. He is a member of the Fort Worth Chapter/Society of Professional Journalists.

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