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Top 10 home trends for 2021

As people rethink their homes’ functionality after spending more time in them, features we never knew we needed — such as a home gym or no-touch appliances — are more important than ever.

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Photo by @betagamma from Unsplash.com

We’ve all been there this year — toddlers interrupting Zoom meetings, daydreaming (or Zillow Surfing!) for more space, and shamelessly feeding sourdough starter kits. 2020 has changed the way we live in and outside our homes.

As people rethink their homes’ functionality after spending more time in them, features we never knew we needed — such as a home gym or no-touch appliances — are more important than ever. While public health precautions continue to keep us at home, these features will only become more popular to create spaces that keep our families safe, all while providing an oasis of comfort.

Driven by this new COVID era, Zillow shares top 10 home trends for 2021 that will not only add comfort, but might even add extra value to your home.

‘Zoom Rooms’

A Zillow survey found a desire for a home with a dedicated office tops the list of reasons why Americans working from home say they would consider a move, if they were to continue working remotely at least occasionally. In 2021, people will receive more clarity from their employers about the ability to telecommute moving forward, which could trigger a move to a home with more space.  And, as people tire of working from a kitchen table, they will be wanting a more permanent — and quiet — solution for their at-home desk.

As of November, the number of listings mentioned “home office” or “Zoom room” increased by 48.5% compared to the same time last year. Pennsylvania home builder Berks Homes also says requests for an at-home study in lieu of existing living space more than doubled this year.

‘Homecation’ Amenities

With lots of time and nowhere to go, homeowners are coming up with creative solutions to create vacation-vibes right at home. “Pool” was the top Zillow keyword search term in 2020. “Waterfront” and “dock” also landed in the top ten. Additionally, homeowners may be looking for big and small ways to create a luxury experience at home, from upgrading to a spa-like bathtub or relaxing rain shower. Zillow research shows home buyers paid more for amenities that make their home feel like a retreat. Listings that mentioned a free-standing tub typically sold for 5.5% more than expected, while the listing keyword “spa-inspired” contributed to a 1.8% price premium.

The rise of remote work will allow more homeowners to turn their favorite vacation destination into their hometown. Page views of for-sale listings in areas typically considered vacation destinations – such as Key West, the Jersey Shore and Cape Cod — are up nearly 50% compared to last year.

Intergenerational Living 

Intergenerational living will rise in popularity as young adults and grandparents alike find themselves moving in with family for financial and health reasons. According to Generations United, about one in six Americans currently live in multigenerational households, and this year, the share of young people moving back home reached all-time highs as more Millennials and Gen Z’ers than ever – particularly renters – found themselves packing their bags and moving back in with their parents.

Katie Detwiler, Chief Experience Officer at Berks Homes says this trend is manifesting in how people are designing new construction homes, with more requests than ever before for a finished basement with a full bathroom, and bedroom additions.

Gourmet Kitchens

This year inspired people to break out of their old baking habits and start new hobbies in the kitchen, and in 2021 homeowners will want to level-up from their sourdough obsession to create other culinary masterpieces. A previous Zillow survey1 finds 41% of people value a well-equipped kitchen more than before as a result of social distancing recommendations — and more people will want the space to show off their new culinary skills in the next year.

“We’ve seen an increase in requests for gourmet kitchens,” says Katie Detwiler, Berks Homes’ Chief Experience Officer. “This includes bigger cabinets and island additions so homeowners have the space they need to cook their gourmet meals.” Berks Homes has seen more than 100 more requests for alternate kitchens and island additions this year compared to last.

Backyard Oasis

A yard that is safe and functional has taken on renewed importance — a Zillow survey from the Harris Poll2 found that 41% of people say they value a large outdoor space more as a result of social distancing recommendations.

There are many easy upgrades to make a backyard a relaxing oasis the whole family can enjoy, and in tandem, increase the resale value of your home. Zillow research finds homes mentioning “firepit” in the listing sold for 2.8% more than similar homes, and “outdoor kitchen” sold for 4.5% more. Smart sprinkler systems and outdoor lighting are other features that add a contemporary flare to a backyard that also help your home sell up to 15 days faster than expected.

Smart and Safe Tech

It’s more vital than ever that our homes stay as germ-free as possible, and smart-home technology has come to save the day, with products like touchless appliances, self-cleaning toilets and bidets. And while a lot of these products are niche right now, they will evolve to become the standard in home design. Next year as homeowners can start welcoming guests back inside, they will increasingly seek out creative solutions to keep their spaces as germ-free and chic as possible. 

“Our tech-driven appliances, solid surfaces and smart fixtures have come to the rescue,” says Kerrie Kelly, Zillow home design expert and founder of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab. “Features like voice-activated faucets, robotic vacuums, and electronic-assistant controlled lights have updated the traditional tasks of cooking and cleaning by incorporating thoughtful innovation into home products.”

Smart home technology is becoming increasingly appealing to buyers. A Zillow analysis  found that listings mentioning a smart light in their listing description sold seven days faster than expected, and listings mentioning a smart thermostat sold 6 days faster than expected. Features like a shiny, new touchless faucet will rise in popularity as homeowners prioritize the cleanliness of their home to keep their families safe and germ-free.

Small City Living

Increased opportunity for remote work has pushed many home shoppers to reconsider how and where they want to live. Since there is less need to be close to urban job centers, shoppers in 2021 may opt for wide open spaces and smaller, more affordable communities. This trend is already playing out in search traffic data.

Small cities, such as Borger, Texas, Pierre, S.D. and Vernal, Utah, accounted for the greatest year-over-year growth in out-of-town search traffic, and a dozen markets such as Pierre, SD, Jackson, WY and Hudson, NY saw out-of-town search traffic double this year. Newly pending sales for small cities (population between 54,000 and 137,000) is up 34.3% since last year, and have seen positive year-over-year pending sales since July. Small city living will only continue to rise as telework becomes more permanent and open up homeownership opportunities for renters.

Health and Wellness at Home

People across the country quickly adapted to rapidly changing restrictions, creating fitness clubs or mental wellness spaces in their homes. In November, 4.1% of for-sale listings on Zillow mentioned health and wellness areas in the home. Listings that mentioned “health and wellness” increased starting in summer, peaking in November as lockdown orders resumed and daylight took away precious daylight hours for outdoor activities.

But it’s not just physical health homeowners are prioritizing. The isolation from social activities and loved ones will increase the need for more-private “feng shui” areas — spaces for reflection and meditation to stay mentally fit, as well. Berks Homes have seen floor plans adding an extra bedroom over a garage or in their basement increase this year. These additional private spaces may start to become meditation rooms, or a quiet room to escape the chaos of life.

Pet-Friendly Living

The flexibility of remote work gave many people the opportunity to be home all day, and in turn, made it easier to add a new best friend to their family. According to a Nielsen survey, 20% of respondents in July said they adopted one or more dogs or cats between March and June, up from less than 5% over the same time last year. An increase in furry friends joining families means “pet-friendly” rentals are on the rise, as landlords entice renters with added benefits. Zillow research3 found that 73.1% of rental listings allow pets.

As people welcome more furry family members, Zillow expects they will be looking for pet-friendly features in their next home. A 2020 Zillow analysis found for-sale listings mentioning a pet shower or dog wash in their listing description sold for 5.1% more than similar homes, while listings mentioning a fenced backyard in their listing description sold 6.8 days faster than expected.

Rise in Demand for New Construction

Traffic for new construction homes has increased significantly on Zillow4, up 82% in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter a year ago, signaling an increasing number of shoppers interested in personalizing their home’s features and living in a new, clean space. A 2020 Zillow survey found5 more than a quarter of buyers who bought a new construction home did so to customize home features, while 37% chose new construction because everything in the home was new and never used.

Home Care

Ideas for an on-trend bathroom

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Bringing an outdated bathroom into the now is a sure way to infuse value and personal enjoyment into your home.

Whether you’re tearing down and starting fresh or simply looking to infuse some new life with a few key elements, these ideas can give you the inspiration you need to transform a tired toilet into a modern marvel.

Make a singular statement

For a bolder look, the best approach may actually be quite simple. Use a single material throughout the room for big impact. For example, run the same tile you select for the floor up the walls, across the vanity, around the shower and up to the ceiling. It’s a dramatic approach, but with the right color and pattern, it can work, especially with a pale or neutral tone. The same concept applies to other materials, such as plaster or concrete, which can create a uniform look that makes a statement.

Try a timeless tub

Freestanding tubs were once associated with older, outdated homes, but like many things in design, these stand-alone vessels are once more back in vogue. Today’s freestanding tubs offer tons of style to fit nearly any design motif. If the claw-foot style of yesteryear is your thing, there are plenty of contemporary takes on the look for an updated, traditional bathroom. There are also a wide range of sleek styles that look nothing like the classic version for a completely fresh, sophisticated bath. Give your tub extra star power by setting it against a backdrop of tile or reclaimed wood, and punch up the style with standout fixtures to make your tub a truly unique feature of the bathroom.

Float your vanity

Take a look at today’s trending bathroom designs and you’ll see floating vanities cover the pages of most design magazines and articles. Floating vanities, also known as wall-mounted vanities, mount directly to the wall, providing more floor space and creating a streamlined look.

By mounting the vanity to a wall, the space is broadened, naturally making the bathroom look and feel larger. Additionally, the wall mount allows homeowners to customize the space in terms of countertop height and comfort.

Although the aesthetic benefits often come at the cost of limited under-sink storage space, this potential pitfall can be overcome with a customizable U-shaped drawer option that allows functional drawers to be placed within the wall-mounted cabinetry.

Infuse unexpected color

If you think of bathroom fixtures as purely functional, think again. Not only can they add a stylish focal point to your tub (and shower and sink, for that matter), the ultra-practical fixtures can actually be a source of color. Bold brass and gold tones are in style, or for something completely different, explore a new look like solid black fixtures that pop against several different textures and surfaces.

Introduce ample lighting

Sub-optimal lighting can hamper the ambiance of smaller spaces like bathrooms. If the space has a window, ditch any coverings that restrict the natural light and instead rely on textured glass windows that provide privacy while allowing light to shine freely. Another option is a skylight, which is surprisingly easy to add. If access to the roofline is an issue, consider one (or even a couple) tunnel skylights. Also give care to selecting the right fixtures for the space. Not only should they coordinate well with the overall decor, they should provide plenty of task and ambient lighting to make the room both useful and inviting.

Trick Your Way to a Bigger Bathroom

When knocking down walls to create more space isn’t an option, there are still plenty of ways you can maximize a small bathroom space to make it look and feel larger than it really is.

Opt for monochromatic cabinetry. Whether you buy new or paint existing cabinets, make them blend in monochromatically in the lightest shade possible. White and light colors reflect light, making the room seem brighter and more spacious. To maximize the illusion, extend the monochromatic scheme throughout the space, including floor tiles, wall paint, ceilings and even the decorations.

Place cabinets strategically. Think of the spaces in your bathroom that you don’t usually use, such as the area above the doorway. Especially if you have high ceilings, you can install decorative storage shelves to house items you don’t need in everyday reach like bathtub salts, scrubs and more. You can also use the shelves for storing extra toilet paper and cleaners to free up valuable storage space below the sink.

Maximize vertical space. Consider extending cabinetry up to the ceiling. Adding color at a vertical height can cause the eye to go up and therefore enlarge the bathroom space and feel. It is also a wise use of unused space rather than borrowing from limited floor space, which can make the space feel cramped.

Consider open storage. Open storage shelves trick the mind because the airy openness can give the illusion of taking less space than enclosed storage. However, be mindful of over-filling shelves, which can create a cluttered look. Instead use the open space as an opportunity to feature artwork or other accents that add life to the room.

For more information, visit wellborn.com.

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Home Care

DIY ideas to increase your home’s value

If you’re considering upgrades to your home, consider these DIY ideas.

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Photo by ian dooley from Unsplash.com

Now as much as ever, your home may be a sanctuary for all kinds of expression, from thinking and dreaming to working and playing. Over the past year, homeowners began to consider the intersection of function and design in new ways.

Weekend warriors are dedicating themselves to creating more organized living spaces and making their homes better places for learning, working and living. If you’re considering upgrades to your home, consider these DIY ideas from the experts at Royal Building Products that can increase beauty and resale value.

Home Office: Spending more time at home may mean storage space is at a premium, especially if you’re relying on a makeshift home office. You can add a high-impact and functional element to your office with a built-in bookcase or workstation. Consider your materials carefully since they have a big impact on your final results. For example, a versatile alternative to wood is synthetic polyvinyl chloride (PVC) trim, which you don’t need to sand or prime before painting, ultimately saving time, energy and money. While PVC is slightly more expensive than some wood options, it also requires less maintenance long-term.

Bathroom: By updating worn-out items, modernizing fixtures and creating a more functional space, you can expect to recoup up to 50% of a bathroom’s remodel cost, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. If you’re considering an on-trend look like shiplap, a practical solution like Royal prefinished PVC Shiplap can help create a clean, comfortable space. It’s waterproof, mold resistant, flexible and works well in spaces with many slants and angles. Plus, it’s lightweight and easy to install.

Entryway: A home’s foyer offers the first impression of its interior, teasing the personality of architecture and decor found with each step deeper inside. Whether bold and dramatic, tranquil and serene, or something in-between, the entryway often sets the tone for a home’s ambience. Details like decorative molding and lattice trim can create a striking entryway for almost any home style.

Exterior: Whether you’re sprucing up an outdoor living space or simply want to boost curb appeal, subtle enhancements can make a big impact. For example, board and batten shutters offer an attractive, low-fuss way to highlight your home’s windows. Painting the front door is another low-cost way to freshen up your exterior. Or invite a touch of nature by adding flower boxes to your front porch or windows.

Select a Trim Style to Match Your Home Style

The right style of trim can transform a room into a whole new space. A good rule of thumb is to keep the style of trim consistent with your home style and from room to room.

Craftsman: The craftsman home style pairs well with simple, tailored and purposeful doors and minimally ornamented window casings while white, light beige and cream-colored crown moulding can create roomier spaces.

Colonial: This home style’s rustic simplicity and rich detail call for interior trim that lends a touch of stately courtliness. Choose multi-piece trim and wider baseboards, wainscoting and crown moulding to adorn family room floors, walls and ceilings.

Cape Cod: This practical and quaintly unassuming design can be accented by subtle interior trim such as transom windows and sidelights that surround multi-paneled entry doors, casings for double-hung windows, picture rails and frame walls.

Modern: The clean expansiveness of this home style lends itself to unadorned window and door casings as well as baseboards. You can go minimalist and use trim merely to protect walls and floors. Alternatively, you could rely on trim to create an appealing contrast with the wall colors.

Ranch: Open, informal and inviting, this style needs trim work that flows from room to room. Many styles work, from simple baseboards to more formal trimmed windows and cabinetry in the kitchen, fireplace mantels in the family room and passageway casings.

Find more creative inspiration, tools, tips and practical steps for every level of DIY-er at buildroyaldiy.com.

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Home Care

How to improve your home’s air quality

Regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces is an important step, but one often overlooked aspect of a home’s health and comfort is its air quality.

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Photo by Ava Sol from Unsplash.com

As people continue to spend more time at home, it’s important to support the health and comfort of those living spaces. Regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces is an important step, but one often overlooked aspect of a home’s health and comfort is its air quality.

Proactively addressing potential air quality issues can result in cleaner air and more comfortable living. There are multiple factors that may affect your home’s air quality.

  • Indoor particulate matter consists of the visible and invisible airborne particles in the air that can enter your nose and lungs, some triggering allergies, asthma and other potential health problems.
  • Carbon monoxide, sometimes called the “silent killer,” is a colorless, odorless gas that can build up to dangerous levels if not properly ventilated, causing headaches, drowsiness and, in some cases, death.
  • Too much humidity can encourage the growth of bacteria and mold. Too little humidity can dry out your skin and wood furniture.
  • Volatile organic compounds are emitted by everything from household cleaners and paint to new furniture and dry-cleaned clothing. These compounds can have an adverse impact on your short- and long-term health, so proper ventilation is essential.
  • The level of air pollution in your community can affect your indoor air quality since opening a door or window brings that air indoors.

Change your filters. Clean filters support your heating and cooling system’s ability to operate efficiently.

Control humidity levels. When the air is too damp, the chance of bacteria and mold growth is higher, but when it’s too dry, your skin, lungs and furniture may feel the impact. Many experts recommend a humidity level of 40-50% for optimal air quality.

Invest in an air purifier. An air purifier is a simple way to improve your indoor air quality. Carrier has just introduced a new room air purifier that doesn’t require professional installation, making it an easy and portable solution for both homeowners and people renting their spaces. The purifier comes in two sizes and is powerful enough to purify the air in rooms up 550 square feet. Its high-performance fan and high-efficiency filtration system capture airborne pollutants and its 360-degree design filters air from multiple angles while easy-to-change filters make it a low-maintenance solution for busy households.

Strategically place greenery. Plants are natural air filters, so placing a few indoor plants around your living space may help improve your indoor air quality while also enhancing your home’s decor. Small plants like ferns and lilies are among the best options for pulling contaminants from the air.

Find more solutions for improving your home’s indoor air quality, and take the “Improve My Air” quiz, at CarrierAtHome.com.

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