10 Most Popular Kitchen Upgrades

The 2020 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study sheds some light on the most-coveted kitchen remodeling projects. 

1. Large islands with storage

Photo: crateandbarrel/Instagram

A whopping 98 percent of homeowners who add or upgrade an island choose to integrate storage, whether it be open shelving, cabinets or pull-out drawers.

2. Contrasting island colors

Photo: parkandoakdesign/Instagram

All-white kitchens had a good run, but homeowners are increasingly looking to add a pop of color to their kitchen islands — gray and blue have proven to be the most popular hues. 

3. Contrasting island countertops

Photo: pikeproperties/Instagram

Homeowners are mixing and matching their countertop materials like never before. A sizable 29 percent of contrasting island countertops are white and wood — think butcher block paired with brilliant quartz.

4. Transitional style

Photo: erinkestenbaum/Instagram

Among the 85 percent of homeowners who opted to change their kitchen style, 21 percent went with transitional, which is defined as a blend of traditional and contemporary.

5. Full height backsplashes

Photo: recharmed/Instagram

Kitchen backsplashes have reached new heights. Designs that extend all the way to the ceiling have increased in popularity by 11 percent. Don’t be afraid to go all out with a feature wall!

6. Blue kitchen walls

Photo: enkontrast/Instagram

While neutral tones still reign supreme, blue kitchen walls are gaining traction with 7 percent of remodelers adopting the trend. Hey, repainting the walls is a helluva lot easier than refinishing kitchen cabinets, why not experiment with bold color?

7. Hardwood flooring

Photo: lindsay_hill_interiors/Instagram

After being knocked out of the top spot in 2019, hardwood made a powerful comeback as the year’s top flooring material with 29 percent of the vote. Surprisingly, vinyl/resilient flooring fell to number three, favored by 14 percent. 

8. Engineered quartz

Photo: centered_by_design/Instagram

Durable quartz has been rising in popularity since 2017 and remains the top materials in upgraded countertops, although at a slower growth rate (51 percent versus 48 percent a year ago).

9. L-shaped layouts

Photo: russelljmilligan/Instagram

L-shaped kitchens are total workhorses and provide plenty of space for those coveted islands. It’s no wonder they’re favored by 40 percent of remodeling homeowners who choose to change up their layout. 

10. Recessed lighting

Photo: ahousewebuilt/Instagram

Proper lighting is an essential component of good kitchen design. While it’s easy to get caught up on choosing the best pendant style, recessed lighting brightens up the entire space, not just your work surface. Of the 79 percent of homeowners who upgraded their light fixtures, 69 percent went with recessed lighting.

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