Houzz Survey Reveals Emergence of the Super Kitchen

January 13, 2016

Homeowners are renovating their kitchens to create a “super kitchen” that not only serves multiple purposes but also incorporates features, functions and decor traditionally associated with other rooms, dramatically blurring the lines between the kitchen and other living spaces, according to the 2016 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Survey. 

The survey of more than 2,400 U.S. homeowners using Houzz who are in the midst of, are planning or recently completed a kitchen renovation project found that these kitchens go far beyond cooking and baking, with 69 percent using the space for eating and dining, and nearly half for entertaining (49 percent) and socializing (43 percent). In addition, more than a quarter of renovating homeowners use their kitchen as a homework space (25 percent), one in five watch TV (19 percent) and 14 percent read. As the hub of such activity, nearly two-thirds of homeowners spend more than three hours a day in their kitchens (60 percent).

Further blurring the lines between the functional and living areas of their homes, nearly half of renovating homeowners are making their kitchens more open to other living spaces (48 percent), with 46 percent of kitchens completely open to other interior spaces post-renovation. One in five updated kitchens is also more open to the outdoors following their upgrades (18 percent).

Many homeowners are adding features traditionally associated with living and dining rooms to their updated kitchens, including dining tables (25 percent), chandeliers (23 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). 

Additionally, homeowners are updating the design of the kitchen to integrate with the rest of the home, which 45 percent of renovating homeowners rate as a top design aspect for their updated kitchen. This includes installing custom-made cabinetry (44 percent of homeowners updating cabinets) and hardwood flooring (34 percent of homeowners upgrading floors).

“The modern ‘super kitchen’ supports family, friends and work and does it in style,” said Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz. “Our findings show that homeowners expect kitchen renovations to go far beyond improving flow, storage or aesthetics. The ‘super kitchen’ has literally become a living room, family room and office, with finishes, layouts and decor that challenge us to define where the kitchen ends and the rest of the home begins.”

The top trigger for kitchen projects in 2015 is that homeowners can no longer stand their old one (43 percent), up from 29 percent in 2014. This trigger exceeded other motivations, surpassing wanting to do so all along and finally having the means (the top motivation in 2014), and customizing a recently purchased home, which remained at same levels as last year (37 and 28 percent, respectively). Similar to last year, nearly a third of renovating homeowners are spending $25-$50 thousand on kitchen renovations (31 percent), and another third are spending more than $50 thousand (30 percent). Also, spending on completed kitchens continues to exceed budgets on planned kitchens with more than half of homeowners budgeting $25K or less on kitchen renovations (52 percent).

Additional findings include:

Pro Help on the Rise:
Even more homeowners hired professionals in 2015 relative to 2014, with nearly nine in 10 enlisting the help of a professional (87 percent, up from 80 percent in 2014). Over half of those renovating kitchens hire a general contractor (54 percent) or a design professional such as kitchen designer, interior designer or architect (27, 14 and 11 percent, respectively).

New Kitchen, New Style:
Three-quarters of homeowners changed the style of their kitchen during their project (76 percent). While traditional rooms and rooms without a particular style were most common prior to upgrades (32 and 36 percent respectively), few homeowners selected these styles for their updated kitchens. Instead, homeowners describe half of their updated kitchens as transitional (21 percent), contemporary (19 percent) or modern in style (12 percent).

Updated Layouts Support Flow:
Nearly half of homeowners updating their kitchens changed the layout of the room (48 percent). U-shaped kitchens are the most popular choice of new layout (35 percent), followed by L-shape (28 percent), shapes which lend themselves most easily to open-concept floorplans.

Neutral Colors Reign:
Similar to last year’s findings, the majority of those renovating kitchens continue to gravitate toward neutral colors that will stand the test of time. Shades of beige, gray and white are top choices for updated walls (22, 22 and 17 percent, respectively), and white and medium-light wood are still trending for cabinets (38 and 18, respectively).

High-Tech Kitchen Tools:
A third of homeowners who upgrade their appliances during their kitchen remodel report that one or more of their appliances have high-tech features such as color touchscreen displays (20 percent), built-in apps with recipes, cooking tips and more (six percent); and wireless controls via smartphone or tablet (five percent). Additionally, of kitchen renovators who added a new range or cooktop, 11 percent opted for induction cooktops.

The “U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study” is an online survey of U.S.
Houzz users conducted in October-November 2015. Eighty-five percent of respondents completed or worked on their kitchen project in 2015 and the rest planned to start in early 2016.