PodcastBuilding ProductsConsumer and Home Design Trends

Designing with More Confidence

Dean Wehrli
John Burns photo

Dean Wehrli

John Burns

January 17, 2020

Builders can finally rely on data as well as opinion to make multi-million dollar design decisions, resulting in improved profitability.

At last year’s Housing Design Summit, the head of architecture at one of the largest builders in the country shared that consumer design preferences were changing more quickly than ever, attributing most of the reason to the Internet, and specifically Houzz and Pinterest. This was causing consternation for his salespeople, who were having to respond to customer requests for more up-to-date designs and materials.

Also at the Design Summit, Nino Sitchinava from Houzz laid out the most data-rich presentation of design trends I have ever seen. In this podcast episode, Nino shares an update on those trends, with one of the hot trends she mentioned last March already on the decline!

Featured guest

Nino Sitchinava, Senior Director, Economics, Survey and Data Science, Houzz

Here are a few of Nino's insights from the podcast

  • Colors. Shades of white continue to dominate, followed by gray. Strong accent colors are showing up in unique ways, such as on island cabinets (~40%) and in appliances.
  • Custom cabinets. Cabinets now comprise up to 2/3 of the kitchen remodel spending, as affluent older homeowners are opting for custom cabinets over stock cabinets. Cabinet storage in islands has become even more critical, often including accent colors of black, blue, and emerald green.
  • Two-person showers. Bathroom remodels include larger showers, a trend led by the new home industry years ago. We recently pointed out that this new home trend had gone too far, with ridiculously oversized showers now returning to more functional, 2-person, spa-like showers.
  • Fewer farmhouses. After noting a rise in farmhouse style last February, Nino has identified that farmhouse is starting to wane. In our most recent DesignLens™ webinar, we noted the same. More specifically, farmhouse continues to be popular in more rural areas and is declining in more urban areas.
  • Modern contemporary kitchens are on the rise, with crisp lines and neutral tones.
  • Smart home features are now a given. The remodeling conversation has morphed from whether to include smart home features to “which features should be included?” New home security technology is the most popular, with a 20% adoption rate.
  • Accessibility still not part of the conversation. For the most part, accessibility and universal design features tend to be a purchase that takes place after the remodel.

Looking into her crystal ball, Nino sees the following:

  • Big ticket remodels: Aging homeowners with a lot of wealth are big users of Houzz and will drive expensive remodels well into the future.
  • More homebodies: People are spending more time in the home and thus are paying more attention to home design. Our building products team has also identified this shift, additionally noting that people intend to live in their homes longer and are spending extra on more durable materials that won’t need to be replaced as often. The growth in longer-lasting composite decking in comparison to wood decking is a great example of this consumer shift.

Want to Subscribe to the New Home Insights Podcast?

The New Home Insights Podcast is available on all major podcast platforms. Click any of the platforms below to subscribe.

Building Market Intelligence™

Every week, we deliver analysis to over 40,000 subscribers with our Building Market Intelligence™ newsletter. Subscribe to our weekly BMI newsletters to stay current on pressing topics in the housing industry.

About The Author

Dean Wehrli
Dean Wehrli
Dean helps housing sector clients figure out not just what might work and what might not, but why.
John Burns photo
John Burns
Chief Executive Officer
As CEO, John grows, leads, and supports a team of passionate, articulate, likable, and smart experts. Together, we solve today so our clients can navigate to tomorrow.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about our services or if you would like to speak to one of our experts about we can help your business, please contact Client Relations at clientservices@jbrec.com.

Products and Services Mentioned

green check icon

New Home Trends Institute

The New Home Trends Institute pairs design inspiration with exclusive insights into the “why” behind consumers’ housing choices. Gain exclusive insight into housing preferences and pain points through our monthly survey insights reports, webinars, and proprietary surveys of builders, architects, designers, and other industry professionals.
green check icon

Building Products Package

Our research subscription provides unparalleled expertise and a unique specialized perspective on new construction and remodeling, backed with exceptional data, for business planning and investor relation support.
green check icon

Building Products Consulting

Our building products team is comprised of industry experts with diverse sector and functional experience. We partner across organizations to provide custom consulting reports to aid organic and inorganic investment decisions, strategic planning, and marketing.

Latest Insights

Dear Consultant: Will BTR Rent Growth Outpace Apartment Rent Growth Over Time?
The Death of the Hallway (and Other Design Trends) 
Homebuyers Have Never Been More Creditworthy