By Stephen Sardone
Bob Dylan famously sang “the times they are a-changin’.” This can apply to the future trends in home improvement, required by generations that probably don’t even know who Dylan is.
I know that you are “a thinkin’” that you just got done readying your home for the holidays. But as you will soon take the air out of that inflatable Santa in the front yard and stow it for another year, it is time to consider what is ahead and may want to act now.
Tastes have changed, as have the wants and needs of current homeowners and future buyers, especially millennials and Gen-Z. In all cases, despite surges in DIYs brought on by a plethora of books, magazines, online sites and 24-hour programming, these modifications will often require the help of a licensed, professional contractor.
In the last decade, home improvement projects have risen 50 percent, and growth in the next decade will almost certainly continue. The Home Improvement Research Institute held a summit recently and looked at changes ahead. Most are precipitated by new priorities from younger homeowners that live in or are looking to buy character homes, which need to be updated.
Frugal spending and different perspectives are reshaping the marketplace. That doesn’t mean that the open space concept or oversized kitchen and dining facilities are going away, but there are indications that other factors are now coming into place, in your place.
Homeowners are still looking for direction and help since new generations are information grabbers. Nothing beats the advice of a professional versus what one might overhear in the aisle of a big box, home improvement center. Many looking at home improvements today are increasingly impatient. They want the right products and they want them right now.
For smaller DIY projects, they want to be just a few clicks away. For the bigger undertaking, they want the proper people to execute for them.
It appears that product upgrades not directly linked to immediate needs are being put on the back burner. According to experts speaking at the summit, sales of products like facade improvements, high-end cabinets and luxury flooring may be slowing. Homeowners are looking to merge quality brands that provide value.
As pricing comes down on once customized items for kitchen and bathroom remodeling, experts cite that soft close doors and drawers and organizing accessories are more affordable than ever. While new generations are not noted “pack rats,” hidden storage space is a premium and in most cases needs to be professionally installed.
It should be no surprise that mobility is the new norm. In this digital generation, customers are looking for shortcuts in home ambiance such as heating, cooling and lighting. Optimum home security is a necessary evil, but tops the list of improvements. The category is as hot as boxes in the trunk of a porch pirate.
Whether brought on by seeing relatives age or by a heightened physical consciousness, health in the home is another top priority. Wellness design is a fast-growing trend that extends to non-toxic materials like paint and flooring. Young homeowners are looking for touch-free faucets to reduce exposure to germs, and cycled lighting to help improve sleep. Top-of-the-line water and air purification systems are musts.
We believe that home improvement projects will continue on an upward spiral as tastes are refocused.
“For the times, they are a-changin’.”