Islands Continue to Be Main Draw in Kitchen Design

January 9, 2020

Kitchen island

© Rachel Loewen / Houzz

Make sure that kitchen island shines because home buyers may increasingly be sizing it up. Large islands are a prominent feature in kitchen design today, and most remodeling homeowners are putting high importance on this central kitchen spot.

In a survey of nearly 2,600 homeowners conducted by Houzz, a home remodeling website, one third of homeowners said they added an island during renovations and nearly a quarter of owners said they upgraded their current one.

Islands are getting bigger. A third of remodelers had kitchen islands that measured seven feet long, while another 39% had one that was six to seven feet long.

For the finish of the island, two in five renovating homeowners added or upgraded their island cabinets for a contrasting shade to their main cabinets. Gray was the most popular choice for that at 26%, followed by blue (19%) and black (11%).

Contrasting the countertop colors of the island was also common among remodelers. The most popular choices for contrasting the island was white (23%) and medium wood (21%).

Remodelers also made sure their island had storage features too. Further, more than half—or 52%—featured built-in appliances, such as microwaves, dishwashers, garbage disposals, cook tops, and beverage refrigerators.

Kitchen island

© Jessica Cain / Houzz

The Houzz survey found that of major kitchen remodels completed in mid-2019, homeowners spent an average of $35,000—which is up 17% from a year ago. Houzz considered a “major kitchen remodel” as one that included at least all cabinets and appliances being replaced. While spending is up, fewer homeowners this year, however, opted to upgrade countertops or sinks as well as tackling structural changes, like opening the kitchen to other interior rooms.

“It is remarkable to see median spend on kitchen remodels grow by double digits for the third year in a row,” says Nino Sitchinava, Houzz principal economist. “Combined with a two-year decline in the scope of kitchen remodels, spend increases confirm our findings of significant price inflation in the home remodeling industry due to changes in international trade policy. Homeowners are dealing with increasing product prices by substituting materials, as indicated by slower growth in the use of engineered quartz and a decline in the popularity of engineered flooring materials, highly impacted by tariffs on imported materials from China.”

Some additional kitchen trends that emerged from the Houzz survey:

  • Taller backsplashes: More backsplashes in the kitchen were installed that stretched all the way to the ceiling. Or, homeowners installed tile from their counter to their upper cabinets or range hood. The most popular colors for backsplashes: white (35%), multi-colored (20%), and gray (15%).
  • Vinyl flooring: Vinyl flooring is becoming a trendier choice for renovated kitchens. This hardwood alternative has climbed in popularity from 10% in 2018 to 14% in 2020 among remodelers.
  • White shaker cabinets: White continues to be the most popular cabinet color (45%), followed by medium wood (11%) and gray (10%). Shaker cabinet door styles are by far the most popular choice among remodelers.
  • Recessed lights: The most popular light fixture upgrade among remodelers is adding recessed lights, at 69%, followed by under-cabinet and pendants lights (65% and 56%, respectively). Ninety-two percent of homeowners upgrading their kitchen island also chose to install new lighting above the island.
Source: 
“2020 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends,” Houzz (Jan. 9, 2020)