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3 Takeaways from Houzz's 2019 U.S. Kitchen Trends Study

With KBIS coming up, Houzz's new report outlines what consumers need from their kitchens and how they're renovating them.

Alison Martin
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Hi-tech contemporary kitchen with smart refrigerator
Photo: Margaret Wright Photography

Next month, manufacturers, retailers and designers will head to the Las Vegas Convention Center for the 2019 edition of the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS). The event promises the latest designs — from countertops to lighting — and insights on the challenges facing the industry today, and there will be plenty of not-to-be-missed seminars and networking events.

But what designs and priorities are on consumers' minds right now? Luckily, Houzz has the answer. The home design platform released its 2019 U.S. Kitchen Trends Report last week, and the report offers great insights as to what consumers want in a renovation, why they're motivated and what they're spending their money on.

So what upgrades and renovations are consumers doing in their kitchens? Here's what you need to know ahead of KBIS.

Renovations need purpose beyond aesthetics

In 2017, 44 percent of survey takers said they were doing kitchen renovations because they just could "no longer stand the old kitchen." The second most popular reason for starting a renovation? Wanting to do it and now have the means (40 percent). Those reasons are becoming less important to homeowners. In 2019, only 34 percent said they could no longer stand their kitchens and 33 percent said they'd wanted to do it and now have the means.

So what's driving kitchen renovations? No one category commanded a huge majority, but the one factor that has received steady replies over the last three years is the "want to personalize a recent home purchase." An average of 30 percent of responders over the last three years have cited this as their reason for kitchen renovations.

It's unclear exactly why this change in consumer attitude happened, but it could be that aesthetics in the kitchen aren't quite a good enough reason to invest in a huge kitchen renovation. Some smaller upgrades, such as a new faucet or hardware, can be done easily and make a big impact. As a designer looking to target recent homebuyers, a message about personalizing a kitchen may resonate well with this group.

Farmhouse styles, the color gray and black stainless steel appliances see a rise in popularity

At Lightovation last week, we saw farmhouse-style lighting go a little French Country, but in kitchen designs, farmhouse is seeing a slight rise in popularity. The reigning style continues to be transitional (21 percent), but farmhouse (14 percent) has steadily crept up on contemporary (15 percent). Over the last three years, transitional and contemporary have held the top two spots with little competition, but farmhouse has steadily gained traction over the last three years. 

As for cabinet colors, white has remained the dominant color, averaging at 42.6 percent of respondents over the last three years. But gray has shown some growth in popularity. Since 2016, the color has risen 3 percent in popularity, and now one in 10 new cabinets are done in gray.

A whopping nine in 10 homeowners replace all of their kitchen appliances during a renovation, so if you're unfamiliar with new appliance technology on the market, make a note to learn more about it at KBIS. Regular stainless steel is still the popular choice (69 percent) for consumers, but black is starting to take off in the category. Now one in 10 homeowners chose black stainless steel.

The kitchen goes hi-tech

Last year, the smart home trend took off, becoming more mainstream as home assistants like Alexa and Google Home became more accessible and useful to homeowners. Of all the rooms in the home, it appears that homeowners see the most use for these products in the kitchen.

Data tables from Houzz's 2019 Kitchen Trends study
Source: Houzz
*** Percentages reflect proportion of homeowners who update electronics as part of a completed, current or planned 2018-19 kitchen renovation.

"Among those upgrading faucets and appliances," the Houzz report states, "the choice of high-tech devices is growing in popularity. Over half of upgraded faucets are high-tech (57%), boasting water efficiency, no-fingerprint coating or touch-free activation. The adoption of appliances with wireless controls nearly doubled year over year (9% versus 16% in 2018 and 2019 studies, respectively)."

Almost one-third of renovating homeowners plan to add or upgrade a home assistant in the kitchen, and really, it makes sense. If there's one room in the home where people are likely to need an extra hand or cannot easily look up a measurement conversion, it's the kitchen. There are other practical reasons for adding a home assistant to the kitchen. Homeowners might prefer listening to music while cooking. Kids doing homework at the kitchen island may find it easier to ask Alexa for help. 


Tell us: Which of these takeaways is most surprising to you? Share with us in the comments!

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