Top Image: Photography by Rachel Loewen ©Houzz

Homeowners are making room in their renovation budgets to prioritize kitchen countertops, according to the 2022 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study. The survey of nearly 2,400 U.S. homeowners using Houzz who are in the midst of, are planning, or recently completed a kitchen renovation, found that more than one-third of homeowners reportedly splurged on countertops (35 percent). The most common feature improved during kitchen renovations, countertops were upgraded by more than nine in 10 homeowners (91 percent). 

When it comes to choosing new kitchen countertops, homeowners opt for materials based on the look and feel, durability and ease of cleaning, rather than cost (69, 57, 38 and 23 percent, respectively). Engineered quartz and granite, for example, are the most popular countertop materials (42 and 24 percent, respectively), despite tariff and pandemic-induced price increases. Of the more than one in five renovating homeowners who select an island countertop material that contrasts from their primary countertops, over one-third choose butcher block or wood slab (35 percent), which has also been impacted by the pandemic. Aesthetically, homeowners increasingly choose white for their countertops during renovations (39 percent), up six percentage points from the previous year. 

Margaret Wright Photography © Houzz

“It is clear that homeowners are willing to spend a little more to get exactly what they want in countertops that are both beautiful and practical, despite rising prices of labor, products and materials,” said Marine Sargsyan, Houzz senior economist. “We’re seeing a rise in overall kitchen renovation spend as homeowners not only splurge on specific features but also make major modifications to the kitchen layout, systems and walls, many of which require the assistance of licensed home professionals. In fact, hiring rates for home professionals to complete these projects are the highest we’ve seen in four years.” 

The median spend for both major and minor kitchen remodels* increased in mid-2021 by 14 percent to $40,000 and by 25 percent to $10,000, respectively, compared to 2020. The median spend for a major kitchen remodel of a large kitchen (250 square feet or more), continued to climb for the fourth year in a row, to $50,000, up from $45,000 the previous year. The median spend on a major small kitchen remodel (less than 250 square feet), increased as well, up to $35,000 in mid-2021 from $30,000 in mid-2020.

More than two in five homeowners change the layout of their kitchen and over one-third upgrade systems, such as electrical or plumbing, or modify walls (43, 38 and 33 percent, respectively). Considering the complexities of these projects, homeowners are increasingly turning to home professionals for help. Overall hiring of kitchen renovation professionals has jumped to 89 percent from 85 percent in 2020, its highest level in four years. General contractors continue to be hired the most frequently (53 percent), up significantly by four percentage points from 2021. Cabinetmakers, kitchen designers and interior designers are also being hired more frequently than last year.

© Houzz

Additional insights from the 2022 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study include:

• Appliances Get a Boost from High-Tech Features: Appliances are the second most common feature that homeowners splurge on during kitchen renovations (27 percent). Over a third of upgraded appliances include high-tech features (35 percent), up six percentage points from the previous year. The most popular kitchen appliance features are wireless and smartphone controls (26 percent), up eight percentage points from 2021. 

• Beverage Refrigerators Abound: Nearly one in five homeowners are incorporating beverage refrigerators in their renovated kitchens (19 percent) and 14 percent are adding wine refrigerators, up five percentage points from 2021. This may be connected to the increase in homeowners who use their kitchens for entertaining (56 percent), up four percentage points over the past year. 

• Islands Are Where We Work From Home: Following a kitchen renovation, one in five homeowners say that a top activity at their island is work (20 percent), up four percentage points from 2021. Homeowners are making space for this activity with nearly two in five islands stretching more than 7 feet in length (39 percent), up five percentage points from last year. Homeowners are also making the space brighter with the vast majority installing new light fixtures above islands (92 percent). 

  • White and Gray Prevail as Top Colors: White continues to lead as the top choice for kitchen cabinets, backsplash and walls (41, 40 and 32 percent, respectively). Gray is the most common alternative to white, with 27 percent of renovating homeowners painting the kitchen walls gray, 13 percent installing gray flooring, and 11 percent opting for a gray backsplash. That said, blue, black and green bring visual interest to the space through contrasting kitchen island cabinet colors (26, 10 and five percent, respectively).

Vinyl Flooring Steps Ahead:

Vinyl or resilient flooring continues its ascent for the third year in a row, nearly doubling in popularity since 2019 to 23 percent and overtaking ceramic and porcelain tile (19 percent), which declined by five percentage points and fell from first place.

Hardwood now leads as the most popular flooring material in kitchens (25 percent).