Top Home Remodeling and Interior Design Trends for 2014

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.)

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.)

Planning a major home improvement project in 2014? If so, you’re definitely not alone.

After two straight years of solid growth in the home remodeling industry, the Remodeling Futures Program at Harvard University predicts “double-digit [percentage] gains in annual home improvement spending” through the first half of 2014.

“For a period of time, we were definitely doing a lot more repairs,” says Desiree Bolman, owner of highly rated Aurora Builders in San Francisco. “Now, people are spending money on more cosmetic enhancements.”

David Merrifield, owner of highly rated DLM Remodeling in Waltham, Mass., adds that he’s seen clients increase the scope of their requests. “We’ve done a lot of full kitchen renovations from start to finish. That’s typically a bigger project.”

The remodelers and interior designers Angie’s List spoke to say in 2014 homeowners are most interested in making strategic improvements to boost functionality, increase efficiency and take advantage of existing space.

1. Opening up the kitchen

Removing a wall between the kitchen and an adjoining room remains one of the hottest trends in home remodeling. The project appeals to homeowners because it instantly creates more space and dramatically changes the look and feel of the home.

open kitchen design
Remodelers say homeowners are increasingly removing walls to open the kitchen and make it a more central part of the home. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Eileen L. of Springfield, Va.)

“In almost every kitchen we do, we open a wall between the living room and the kitchen,” Merrifield says. “Usually we put an island between them.”

The project was also a top trend of 2013, and remodelers and interior designers say it maintains its popularity for a variety of reasons.

“Having open floor plans helps make smaller homes seem larger,” says Susan Colvin, owner of highly rated Susan Colvin Interiors in Indianapolis.

Bolman says families see the kitchen not just as a space for cooking, but for eating, schoolwork and socializing as well. “Just having that flow from room to room seems to be a more appealing kind of concept,” she says.

2. Installing hardwood flooring in the kitchen

Merrifield says the popularity of open kitchens sparked a new flooring trend. “Most people are doing hardwood floors in their kitchens now instead of tile,” he says. “They want to have some continuity when they open up that wall from the living room, which might already have hardwood. They want to continue that flow there to make it one big room.”

Although hardwood usually costs more than other flooring options, it offers durability and a cozy, timeless look that never goes out of style.

3. Customizing the home

Colvin says homeowners are making targeted improvements to ensure the home is a good fit for their lifestyle and family size. “I’m finding that clients are becoming more and more comfortable in smaller houses, whether they’re building or moving into existing ones,” Colvin says. “They’re then customizing the spaces with remodeling to suit their needs and wants. Making use of every room in the house is important now.” She says her clients turn unused rooms into offices, dens, hobby rooms and children’s play rooms.

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building a man cave
This garage was turned into a Harley Davidson-themed man cave. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Shirley Z. of New Kinsington, Pa.)

Remodelers also report an increase in requests for custom charging stations for smartphones and laptops. Some homeowners have them added to existing cabinets to keep gadgets out of sight, or install electrical outlets with built-in USB charging ports.

Colvin says clients often come to her after scouring home improvement websites with creative ideas to transform their homes and refresh décor.

4. Separating the shower and tub

The days when the shower-tub combo reigned supreme are long gone. Home remodelers say the latest trend is to ditch the tub altogether, or to keep it separate from the shower.

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“Standup showers are very popular now,” Merrifield says. “People aren’t having the tub and shower anymore. They want the shower separate, tiled in with the glass door on it.”

5. Combining old and new styles

A hot design trend in 2014 involves juxtaposing old and new concepts. “It’s a kind of a mix and match of more contemporary products with older style, design and materials,” Bolman says.

reclaimed building materials
Angie’s List member Mike K. of Cincinnati says he “didn’t want any of the prefab stuff available from the big-box hardware stores,” so he used a piece of reclaimed, antique elm for his fireplace mantel.

In today’s trendy home, a stainless steel refrigerator might sit next to a farmhouse sink or an antique chandelier might illuminate an IKEA bookcase.

RELATED: Reclaimed Barn Wood Adds Rustic Charm to Homes

“Clients are using an eclectic mix of antiques, vintage pieces and their newer furniture to personalize their living spaces,” Colvin says.

Remodelers also report an increased demand for recycled building materials, which they say can enhance old-meets-new design.

6. Going greener

Green home improvements have been trendy for years, but remodelers and designers say homeowners continue to strive to improve the efficiency of their homes — from installing home automation systems that prevent energy waste to replacing outdated light bulbs and shower heads.

“LED lighting, which was really prohibitively expensive in the beginning, is really affordable now,” Bolman says. “People are using it for undercabinet lights as well as their recessed can lights. It’s very nice and it comes in a lot of color temperatures.”

exterior LED lights
Due to technological advancements are lower costs, homeowners are now using LEDs for all types of interior and exterior lighting. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

Merrifield says he fields a lot of requests for efficient windows and doors. “Fiberglass doors are five times more energy efficient than the old wooden doors,” he says.

FOR MORE: Angie's List LED Lighting Guide

Colvin says the same goes for interior design. “I see many people looking to reupholster their furniture instead of buying new,” she says. “Especially if they know the quality of their existing furniture is better than a lot of the new furniture they see in stores. People are more aware today of the environmental impact a throw-away society can have.”

Editor's Note: This is an updated version of an article originally published on January 31, 2014.

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Angie's List member Andrew E. of Aliso Viejo, Calif, loves the way his kitchen remodle turned out. "This was not a simple remodel," he says. "We wanted not only a new kitchen but a complete reconfiguration including removal of walls."
Angie's List member Andrew E. of Aliso Viejo, Calif, loves the way his kitchen remodle turned out. "This was not a simple remodel," he says. "We wanted not only a new kitchen but a complete reconfiguration including removal of walls."

Remodeling’s on the upswing, with homeowners investing in projects that enhance efficiency and comfort. Among the trends for 2014, according to highly rated remodelers and interior designers:

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