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2015 Real Estate Trend Roundup

With 2016 well under way, I thought it might be worthwhile to revisit the trends that have helped shape the housing sector. However, I am not referring to those fundamental indicators that pinpoint the market status, but rather the trends that homeowners have adopted to improve their living situations, or at least property value. Let’s take a minute to revisit the trends that shaped 2015:

KITCHEN

Kitchens, for more reasons than you may be aware of, are the most popular room in a home. They are a seminal focal point that deserves your undivided attention. In fact, I could argue that kitchens, almost as much as location and price, sell homes.  The more attractive they are to buyers, the more interest your home will generate, and potentially sell for. However, you can’t just make improvements for the sake of doing so. You must make the right improvements. Let’s take a look at the most popular kitchen trends of last year:

  • GRAY IS THE NEW WHITE
    GRAY IS THE NEW WHITE
    All white kitchens will always be timeless; however, according to manufacturers in the kitchen industry, gray was the most sought after color in 2015. Opt for softer gray tones for cabinet choices, while darker gray is a great accent color. A gray and white combo might be the way to go as the colors will compliment eachother nicely.
  • STREAMLINED CABINETS
    STREAMLINED CABINETS
    Say goodbye to clunky cabinets with twist/turn knobs and hello to a streamlined look and better functionality. Hydraulic hinges were all the rage last year and allowed buyers to go handle-less by making doors open and shut with the touch of a button. If you aren’t quite ready for that, choose handles that are sleek and minimalistic.
  • SINKS THAT POP
    SINKS THAT POP
    No longer do you have to choose a sink that is either white or stainless steel. 2015 enabled shoppers to channel their creative sides by adding a pop of color to an otherwise mundane room. Just make sure to pick a color that works well with other accent colors in your home.
  • MIX & MATCH MATERIALS
    MIX & MATCH MATERIALS
    Who says you have to stick to one medium in your kitchen? Have fun choosing materials that compliment one another. Mix dark and light woods with granite countertops and throw in some stainless steel appliances and laminate tables while you’re at it.

KITCHEN BACKSPLASH

The kitchen, perhaps more so than any other room, is capable of taking on many characteristics. To that point, homeowners are fully encouraged to customize their kitchens in any way they see fit. It just so happens that there are literally countless ways to do so. My partners and I, however,  noticed a trend favoring unique backsplashes in 2015. In fact, I even used some of the following backsplash trends over the course of the year. Let’s see what everyone else was using in their kitchens last year:

  • Chalkboard Kitchen Backsplash
    Chalkboard Kitchen Backsplash
    The chalkboard backsplash is for homeowners who are going for a fun, young, more casual vibe. Use the backsplash for making lists and remembering recipes. Chalkboards are also very child friendly.
  • Stainless Steel Kitchen Backsplash
    Stainless Steel Kitchen Backsplash
    If your house screams contemporary, the stainless steel backsplash is a must. Stainless steel is a material that integrates seamlessly into any kitchen, is durable, and is easy to clean. There is also no grouting or cracks where food, grease, and dirt tend to accumulate over time.
  • Pebble Tile Kitchen Backsplash
    Pebble Tile Kitchen Backsplash
    Similar to natural stone, pebble tile backsplashes apply texture to an otherwise flat surface. If you’re looking for a modern spin on something a little rustic, pebble tile is perfect for you. (It’s also best if you are on a budget)
  • Natural Stone BackSplash
    Natural Stone BackSplash
    Natural stone provides a certain aesthetic appeal that livens up your kitchen. Depending on the style of the rest of your home, choose a stone that either has beige undertones or gray undertones; just make sure not to mix the 2.

BATHROOM

Other than the kitchen, bathrooms seem to generate the most interest in a home. Whether you are looking to sell or are actually living in the home, it is in your best interest to have a bathroom that is, for lack of a better way of putting it, up to date. That way, your home will actually be worth more when it comes time to sell. However, like everything else, you must make the right changes. Last year, people seemed to favor the following bathroom trends:

  • Go Green
    Go Green
    Sustainable homes and “going green” was a big trend for 2015 and is sure to carry on in 2016. Conserve water by opting for hands-free faucets and smart showerheads. A lot of these fixtures use only 1.6gpm (gallons per minute) as opposed to the standard 2.6gpm so you can feel even better next time you’re rinsing off.
  • Integrated Design Features
    Integrated Design Features
    You can still have a stylish bathroom in a small space by paying attention to each appliance’s functionality. Optimize space by adding hidden storage features or conceal your toilet with a decorative toilet cover.
  • Bathtub Or No Bathtub, That Is The Question
    Bathtub Or No Bathtub, That Is The Question
    People automatically assume that there has to be a bathtub in the bathroom. But if you are a person who doesn’t like baths, free up the space and remove the tub. If you do enjoy a nice soak however, opt for a stand alone tub. They come in cool shapes and sizes and add a modern feel to the room.
  • Heated Floors
    Heated Floors
    There isn’t much to say about heated flooring. Who doesn’t want to step out of their shower on a cold winter morning onto warm wood or tile. Heated floors will also be a great selling point in the future.

BACKYARD

Backyards are every bit as integral to a home sell than the house itself. For certain buyers, backyards can even be the deciding factor. But again, they are so versatile that any upgrades you make must be done with the bottom line in mind. Simply making updates for the sake of doing so will equate to playing a game of roulette, at least if you are trying to sell for top dollar. Again, you need to make the upgrades people want to see. In 2015, people seemed to place a high priority on the following backyard trends:

  • Lounge Space
    Lounge Space
    Especially if you live in a warmer climate, a backyard lounge area is a must. Nowadays, it is easy to find relatively cheap outdoor furniture and it will greatly increase your home’s appeal. Maximize your functional living space by choosing comfortable couches and weatherproof tables and chairs.
  • Outdoor “Kitchen”
    Outdoor “Kitchen”
    A stand alone BBQ is no longer enough. In 2015 many homeowners took it to the next level by renovating their outdoor space and creating a fully functioning kitchens. This is not to say you have to go crazy, but upgrading your barbeque and adding a seating area is a great place to start.
  • Water Features
    Water Features
    Install a waterfall, fountain, or something of the like in your backyard to get the feeling of being in a nature wonderland. Not only is this visually appealing, but it will drown out the sound of noisy neighbors and loud traffic.
  • Mindful Landscaping
    Mindful Landscaping
    A backyard’s landscape can set its entire tone, so pick a theme and stick with it. Maybe you want a lush, tropical jungle or something minimalistic, concrete, and easy to maintain. Ultimately, landscaping is very subjective and will look great as long as you are willing to put in the effort.

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