As the pandemic became manageable, it caused a definite shift. Employers and employees appreciated a flexible working culture and many people now embrace working from home for a number of days each week.
‘Enforced time at home led to an upswing of new projects for many homeowners,’ says Houzz’s managing director ANZ Tony Been. Its recent Houzz COVID-19 survey revealed that 75 per cent reported they were thinking of changes that would help them enjoy their home more.
The two most popular options were renovating a kitchen or bathroom. The stats speak for themselves. ‘The common pain points were small, outdated spaces and awkward layouts (44 per cent), followed by old or outdated finishes (43 per cent) and inadequate storage (29 per cent),’ says Tony.
As ever, functionality was a priority among homeowners on Houzz. The top five features replaced or added during kitchen upgrades were benchtops (78 per cent), taps or plumbing fixtures (76 per cent), cabinets (75 per cent), splashbacks (73 per cent) and sinks (71 per cent).
‘Over the past three years, the Houzz & Home studies have reported that more than 25 per cent of renovating homeowners are making major changes to their cooking space. Kitchens continue to command large renovation budgets with one-in-10 homeowners spending over $45,000 on their kitchen renovation,’ Tony says.
No doubt, 2020 was the year of the ‘living kitchen’. Not just a space to cook, it now serves double duty as a home office, school study, playroom and entertaining area. Tony has also noticed a rise in popularity of furniture-style kitchen islands. ‘This feature provides more cooking and entertaining space in the heart of the home while blurring the lines between a functional work zone, dining space and piece of furniture – all while sitting comfortably within an open living area,’ he says.
There’s a renewed appreciation for designer details such as integrated media systems, walk-in larders, hideaway storage, extra power outlets and open shelving. Function, aesthetic and technology are key so what will homeowners demand from their kitchens post-pandemic?
‘We’re seeing that the most popular update for homeowners on Houzz is changing the layout, followed by upgrading the plumbing, and increasing the size of the kitchen,’ says Tony. ‘The average size of an upgraded kitchen is 14 square metres.’
Another common desire is to transform a shabby bathroom into a hotel-inspired sanctuary, introducing mood lighting, stylish accents and indulgent accessories.
‘If a homeowner wants to create a bathroom design that really makes a difference, they can turn to home renovation professionals on Houzz to discuss the look and functionality tailored to their needs,’ Tony explains. ‘We are seeing smart storage features such as mirror cabinets, integrated power boards and custom joinery becoming popular on Houzz.’
He’s also seeing homeowners move away from the minimalist look and freshening up the bathroom palette with soft pastels and matte metallic finishes that feel warm and inviting.