Home remodeling trends to look for in 2013

The last few years have not been kind to the remodeling industry. With the Great Recession and falling home prices across the country, homeowners weren't spending significant money on remodeling projects.

Heading into 2013, the remodelers Angie's List spoke with say business is picking up and homeowners are starting to remodel their homes again.

"We've seen a consistent increase in the size of projects by volume, but also in the types of projects people are undertaking," says Tony Slade, owner of highly rated DESIGNfirst Builders in Itasca, Ill. "A year and a half ago, I might have done a kitchen where in the same type of project this year, I will be doing a whole first floor renovation."

It's not just seasoned homeowners who are remodeling their homes. Charlie Griffey, owner of highly rated Griffey Remodeling in Columbus, Ohio, says he's seen an increase in the size and scope of remodeling projects for new homeowners, too. "With so many houses in foreclosure or short sale, homebuyers are able to get good deals and spend more money fixing them up," he says.

According to the remodeling contractors Angie's List spoke with, homeowners are remodeling their homes to make them more functional by opening up rooms, adding customized features to solve problems and making energy-efficient improvements to reduce waste and save on utility costs.

"More clients are keeping their homes rather than fixing what has to be fixed and moving on," says Dawn Williams, design consultant for highly rated Tremain Corporation, a kitchen and bathroom remodeling company in Indianapolis. "With [TV channels like] HGTV and DIY, people get to see new and wonderful materials in a finished room so they're not as afraid to incorporate them into their homes," she says.

Home remodeling trends for 2013

1. Creating more space

Angie's List member Thomas W. of Mason Neck, Va., knocked down six walls during his home remodeling project to make his kitchen more spacious and open.

Slade says he's seen an increase in the number of homeowners who want to knock down walls between adjoining rooms. "People are deciding the home they live in needs to perform a certain way for them," he says. "It might not be big enough or nice enough or might not be oriented right for their growing family."

Removing a wall instantly opens up the home, creating a new look and feel without having to do any new construction. It helps the rooms of the home flow into each other while allowing light to spread around. "You almost feel like you have a new house and it gives you more opportunities," Slade says.

Griffey says the most popular choice is knocking down walls between the kitchen and adjoining rooms like the family room or dining room. He’s seen an increase in these projects and expects the trend to continue through 2013.

It's important to hire a qualified contractor for a wall demolition because it's dangerous work, especially if it's a load-bearing wall.

2. Customized remodeling

Emily Domaschk, owner of highly rated Signature Home Improvements Inc., in Round Rock, Texas, says custom remodeling is hot right now and homeowners are choosing projects to make their homes more functional. "Everyone wants to bring custom design ideas into their own home," she says.

The latest trends include everything from special stations for charging cell phones and computers to custom storage spaces and built-ins. Custom lighting, such as installing under-cabinet lighting, toe kick and soffit lighting and concealed outlets for charging laptops and cell phones are also popular options.

"We're also seeing a lot more personalized organizational concepts incorporated, such as message centers for the busy family and customized pot drawers for the gourmet chef," Domaschk says.

3. Walk-in shower and master bath

Angie's List member Michelle W. of Philadelphia converted a third floor bedroom into a master bath complete with a walk-in shower.

While kitchen remodeling has been popular for years, Griffey says homeowners are now investing in remodeling their bathrooms. "Master bathroom remodeling is becoming as popular as kitchen remodeling," he says. "In 2013, the big trend in remodeling a master bathroom will be getting rid of the large bulky tub and opting for a larger shower. People just aren't using the big tubs that much anymore."

Homeowners are choosing walk-in showers that sit flush with the floor and stand-alone bath tubs to maximize existing space.

"Shower projects have been huge – especially with everyone wanting to upgrade to walk-in showers with expanses of frameless glass," Domaschk says. "We expect this to continue in the New Year."

4. Remodeling for energy efficiency

Eco-friendly remodeling has been hot for several years, and more people are starting to make functional green improvements that provide immediate results.

"It's not recycled glass countertops or bamboo flooring but better indoor air quality," Griffey says. "From low-VOC paints and adhesives to more energy-efficient windows and furnaces, these trends are here to stay."

Angie's List member Angel M. of Marysville, Tenn., replaced 14 of the windows in her home with high-efficiency windows.

Some popular efficiency improvements include replacing an aging HVAC system with a newer, more energy-efficient model that can be programmed to operate based on the homeowner's specific preferences. Smart thermostats that study a homeowner's living habits and automatically set up a unique operation plan are also gaining in popularity.

Regardless of the size of your next home remodeling project, Angie's list can connect you with highly rated contractors and home remodelers in your area.

To see photos of how Angie's List members remodeled their homes in 2012, check out the new photo gallery, Top 12 of 2012.

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separate shower and tub walk-in shower
Home remodelers say the latest trend is to keep the tub separate from the shower. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Joe P. of Tustin, Calif.)

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Would like to open up my family room into my sun room.

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