Every month at EHD is a blast, but January really stands out. We launch every year with a series of trend posts – catch up on our kitchen, bathroom, and decor predictions – and pulling them together is unbelievably fun. There’s a lot of Zoom conversations and Instagram DMs of inspirational spaces and “I’m noticing this…have you seen it anywhere, too?” messages peppered with like, a tiny splash of wild speculation. What a treat!
But like…what if I told you that I, the team’s resident data wonk/person most likely to wear a pocket protector, knew which trends people were actually installing in their homes? BECAUSE I DO, and I’ve been keeping it to myself quietly, but NOW I WANT TO SHARE.
So basically, the folks on Yelp’s data science team looked at all of the site’s searches and review mentions to pinpoint the home-centric terms experiencing the biggest growth. I love this because it shows the projects – big and small! – that folks at home have actually decided to invest in this year. It’s one thing to read a trend post or to pin new inspiration, but seeking out quotes or vendors signals real commitment. Let’s get started, yeah? (PS. I had literally never heard of one of the renovation trends on this list before and autocorrect STILL says it’s not a real word, so we’re gonna be doing some LEARNING together in this post.)
25. Up 13%: Solar Panel Installation
Our first renovation trend: renewable energy! This Joshua Tree cabin is one of my favorite solar-powered projects – instead of stacking panels on the roof (“there was no way we were climbing up twenty feet to put panels on the roof in the desert sun in the middle of summer,” said the designer), the design team installed a solar tree that’s simultaneously architectural and functional.
24. Up 30%: Stained Concrete
We’ve been singing the praises of concrete for a few years now (see: that 2018 trend post). It’s durable, affordable, and a real workhorse. (Concrete floors. Concrete countertops. Concrete islands. Concrete sinks. Concrete tubs. Concrete tiles. Is there anything it can’t do???) But if you’re tired of its traditional matte gray appearance, staining concrete can add new long-lasting color, depth, or shine – a dramatic change – without sending you into a full renovation spiral. I have deemed this a “make it work” trend (you’ll see even more of these below) and am preeeetty sure it’s pandemic-related.
23. Up 34%: Cabinetry
Plot twist: if you take millions of people and force them to cook almost every meal inside their own house, they will proooobably start coming up with some ideas on how to make their cabinet layouts more efficient and their kitchen organization more enjoyable. Who would have seen that coming??? Everyone?
22. Up 39%: Home Organizers
The lone non-renovation trend and a real plot twist!!! HOW DID THIS GROW BY SO MUCH? I know that we’re all feeling clutter body™ (an EHD go-to term that describes the anxiety you get when you’re surrounded by stuff) but guys…people got hopped up on The Home Edit’s Netflix show and are hiring strangers to come into their house to help them organize! During the pandemic! WILD. All that said, I do love that a bunch of small businesses in this space are probably taking off and if you’re on the hunt for a side (or main?) gig, this may be something worth exploring.
21. Up 49%: Quartz Countertops
Get lost, marble!!! There’s a new gal in town and her name is QUARTZ. She’s low maintenance, but you have to keep her out of the sun (she can be sensitive to UV rays) and keep her away from super hot things (she burns easily – me too, girl!). I actually re-learned both of these things just now by revisiting this 2019 post, which I’m 100% sure is the most internet’s most comprehensive guide to selecting stone countertops.
20. Up 51%: Glass Door Installation
Like most design blogs, we’ve been very bullish on the whole “EMBRACE INDOOR/OUTDOOR LIVING” messaging over the past year, so it’s exciting to see that we are all seemingly on the same page. I’ve long been obsessed with the scenic sliding door in Em’s family room (there’s a GIF in that post if you want to view it in action! It’s even better in real life, if you can believe), but the above house tour took it to a whole new level – the family chose to go super minimal on their furnishings so their splurge-worthy doors would shine.
19. Up 71%: Closet Design
Closets: the unsung heroes of the home. They’re private, small, and the perfect place to flex some design muscles without fear. (I also feel this way about powder rooms, but that’s neither here nor there!!) Last year, Sara shared several of our favorite bold, beautiful, and functional walk-in closets before taking a stab at designing her own and to no one’s surprise, she did a GREAT job. You can learn more in the reveal post above about how she set about working with a closet designer and how she laid out zones for all her essentials. (And if you want to get REALLY in the weeds on your own closet, hop down to the comments for a long note from me about the IKEA Pax system vs. The Container Store Elfa system – the one Sara actually used – because we learned a lot!)
18. Up 80%: Home Office
My mom and I moved into my childhood home – or at least, the one where I spent my formative teen years – in the early 2000s. One of her first agenda items? Turning a random first-floor walk-in closet into an office for me. She fully decked it out with built-ins, two separate desk areas, and tons of drawer space and I loved it. (Trendsetter alert!!! Brenda originated the cloffice, pass it on!) Over the last few years, she’s been noodling on turning it (and her full-sized office in the room next door) into a secondary bedroom/bathroom suite, but 2020 threw all those plans in the garbage. Suddenly, having two offices – one that’s the perfect size for homeschooling two kids and the other that’s great for WFH – doesn’t seem like such a bad thing to have.
17. Up 83%: Kitchen Islands
My thesis: everyone saw this Velinda Hellen Design island and immediately felt compelled to update their own island. Creative storage, tons of drawer space, a built-in downdraft range, and still room to sit? VISIONARY. When the world reopens, you just KNOW so many good chats will be had standing around the thousands of new-and-improved islands being installed nationwide as we speak.
16. Up 84%: Kitchen Remodels
So we’ve chatted cabinets and countertops and islands, but most people are just going ALL IN with all new kitchens this year. This actually tracks with the data I’m seeing on our end, too – our kitchen posts are performing at unprecedented levels and formerly esoteric posts are getting tons of google traffic out of NOWHERE. To that end, we’re going to have at least three new kitchen reveals coming your way early this year (Sara, Albie, and Rashida are all almost done!) so hopefully, we’ll be able to provide even more new inspiration as you undertake your own renovation 🙂
15. Up 85%: Outdoor Kitchens
After last year, I can imagine the value of having a place where you can be outside AND cook. Like, who hasn’t dreamed of a dedicated area where you can simultaneously make delicious treats while getting a temporary reprieve from spending 24/7 within 1,000 square feet of another person at all times? More importantly, outdoor kitchens add a ton of value to homes long-term – and they’ll be GREAT for future celebrations with friends and family.
14. Up 97%: Fire Pits
Ah, yes – we’re really jumping into the outdoor portion of the trend list here. If you missed out on a fire pit last summer (they sold out almost instantly everywhere), you may want to start budgeting for one now! New outdoor decor and accessories typically start dropping in March, but you can see some of our favorites from last year right here.
13. Up 111%: Gazebos & Pergolas
Who doesn’t love a pergola? They’re DIY-able (I mean, if you have Shavonda Gardner-level DIY skills) and they’re an easy way to bring zones, definition, and a little bit of sun coverage to an outdoor space. The turn towards being more intentional about outdoor living isn’t just a Covid fad – it seems to be a permanent fixture in the design world that we’ll see throughout all of 2021.
12. Up 121%: Tuckpointing
I TOLD YOU WE WERE GOING TO LEARN. Basically, tuckpointing is when a mason uses two colors of mortar to make your bricks look cleaner. So in the example above, someone slathered on a matching red mortar to patch corners and holes and then added a new white mortar line for definition. It’s the brick version of Emily’s schmeared fireplace – a total ‘make it work’ trend. Love it. Love learning. Long live tuckpointing!!!
11. Up 134%: Gutter Installation
I honestly can’t explain the growth in this one. A lot of these trends are situation-based, with people making changes in reaction to the new state of the world. Gutter installation, though? Like, we’ve always needed gutters on our homes. Are you making them nicer? Just tired of looking at them? Would love to hear from someone who has taken on a gutter-related project this year!! 🙂
10. Up 172%: Sustainable Landscaping
Another encouraging earth-friendly trend! Instead of just looking for beautifully landscaped yards, folks are on the hunt for sustainable choices – think drought-resistant plants, native trees and flowers, and inspiration for at-home fruit and vegetable gardens.
9. Up 253% Chimney Masonry
This one hits home for us at EHD! In case you missed it, Em ran into chimney problems this year (you can read her full LA house update here). I have a sneaking suspicion that this growth is driven by the absolutely wild housing market, seeing as I’m sure that most normal people aren’t like “hey, I wonder how my chimney masonry is holding up, I should probably repair it.” Low mortgage rates = more homes being sold = more inspections being done = more chimneys in need of repair. The circle of life!
8. Up 272%: Decks and Patios
SURPRISE. Just kidding…obviously this is a huge one. If you’re still on the hunt for some inspo, might I suggest Malcolm’s small-footprint multifunctional deck, Velinda’s full-of-zones backyard, or Em’s springtime patio?
7. Up 374%: Pool Installation
Not sure if anyone else tried to get a quote for a pool last summer, but y’all – it was IMPOSSIBLE. Pool builders nationwide were booked a year or two in advance. I was going to make a pun about it being ~time to take the plunge~ but uh, I’ll spare you.
6. Up 413%: Sauna Installation
I have a sneaking suspicion that when most folks say “sauna,” they might mean “wet room.” (Unless you have the room and space to install a full-on steam room in your house, in which case…uh, hey, can I grab an invite sometime??) We’ve been loving on the freestanding bath + enclosed steam shower combo for years now, but they feel more relevant than ever. If it’s time to update, why not treat yourself to an actual spa experience at home?
5. Up 420%: Hardwood Installation
Allow me to speculate wildly for a moment: people who spend all day at home make messes. Hardwoods are (a.) beautiful and (b.) easier to sweep and sanitize and keep clean. Who wouldn’t want to undertake a renovation that can make their lives easier and raise the value of their home? (PS. Em’s above post about picking and installing her LA home’s herringbone floors is enthralling, even if you’re not a homeowner. It’s a deep dive and a fun read with a full cost breakdown!)
4. Up 469%: Exterior House Painting
You thought I wrote a literal dissertation on picking exterior paint colors FOR FUN? Well…I kind of did (still trying to manifest my dream home by pinning future exterior colors, like a cool and normal person) but it was mainly inspired by an uptick in general internet search traffic. If you’re planning to paint your place this year, I’d love to hear about it 🙂
3. Up 473%: Plaster
PLASTER. It’s not just for walls anymore! We’ve fallen in love with plaster cabinets, like the ones above, and the water-safe version called tadelakt. (Arlyn wrote that full-on 101 with tons of inspiration of plaster in use if you’d like to take a peek!) But never fear – if you love the look of traditional plaster walls, you can replicate it at home by using a special lime wash or roman clay paint like this one. Plaster for all!!!
2. Up 864%: Backyard Remodel
No surprise here. We’ve seen outdoor kitchens, fire pits, sustainable landscaping, decks and patios, gazebos, and pools trending…but it seems like this year, the overwhelming majority of folks are hoping to finish the whole space at once. The backyard historically didn’t seem like a space to remodel – I mean, sure, maybe you’d have a patio to sit on and some landscaping with grass in between for playing – so this dedicated idea of installing something with new layouts and zones for activities is truly a HUGE shift. We’re all trying to make the most of the space we have, which is kind of nice to think about. 🙂
1. Up 2,000%: Tub Reglazing
TWO. THOUSAND. PERCENT. Tub reglazing is the ultimate “make it work” trend. Score a great deal on a freestanding vintage clawfoot tub? Reglaze it. Live in a 1930s apartment with a 1930s tub that has faded a lot more than the surrounding tile? (Just me?) Reglaze it. Have a classic white built-in tub that’s just looking a little worse for the wear? REGLAZE IT. It’s affordable, sustainable, and it’ll make you smile a little more every time you walk into your bathroom. Mother earth likes this trend and SO DO I.
That’s a wrap on the huge renovation trend list for 2021! Have you started on any of these projects, or any of them on your list? Are any of them surprising to you (i.e. gutters?!?)? Did you also learn about tuckpointing for the first time today? LET’S CHAT. xx
Opening Photo Credit: Design by Three Birds Renovations