Due to a number of factors, we are enjoying one of the best sellers’ market of this millennium. Interest rates are still at historic lows, and the world is changing significantly due to COVID-19. People who are working at home and sharing their space with kids who are doing remote school have a compelling reason to rethink where they live. There is a notable exodus from crowded cities, and vacations have become staycations. It’s a great time to move to the lake; therefore, it’s a great time to sell your lake house, especially since there is a shortage of available homes. You have very little competition.
For a lot of lake homeowners, once they decide to sell, panic sets in. Many of the homes built in the housing boom of the ’80s are now outdated. The thought of renovating an entire home is quite overwhelming, so experts agree that you should probably start with the kitchen. That’s great, but what are the latest trends?
Here are some guidelines on renovating kitchens in 2021.
Let’s start with the good news. Homes that are more than 20 years old had enclosed rooms with doors. For several decades, open floor plans have been the trend and these “chopped up” homes have fallen out of fashion. Now, picture mom and dad working on their laptops while the kids are doing their remote schooling in the same room. The noise and chaos of that situation have reignited the need for doors that shut. There are still people who prefer open floor plans, but others are now seeing the value in rooms with walls.
Until recently, the latest fad in kitchen décor was cold colors and monotones. For a while, every kitchen cabinet was bright white. Then, every kitchen had light gray cabinets with a darker gray island. Some even had three tones of gray. The stress of the pandemic seems to have changed the preference to softer tones. Light, creamy beige or the ever-popular greige (grayish beige) are more common. Countertops have evolved, too. For years, very dark Uba Tuba granite was in almost every house. Today’s most popular countertops are lighter with more of a marble look. In addition, granite is no longer the market leader. Quartz counters, which have come down in price, are more common. Granite counters are carved out of quarries, whereas quartz counters are man-made by mixing crushed rock with resin. While granite is better for hot pots, it does need to be sealed and can stain. Quartz counters, because they have resin in the mix, are not good for hot pots. However, they do not stain easily and do not need to be sealed.
If you need help deciding, the top-selling quartz counter at Home Depot is Calacatta Gold. According to their rep, it goes with everything. The top-selling granite is White Springs. Keep an eye out for the next big trend which will be Ultra-compact counters. These do not have resin and are extremely durable countertops. Unlike other counters that yellow and wear in the sun, Ultra-compact is ideal for outdoors.
You’d be surprised to see what a difference a refreshed coat of paint on cabinets and new counters can do for an older home. The average counter replacement job is in the range of $2,000-$3,000, much less than you might expect. You’ll probably want an expert to paint your cabinets, so that price will vary with the number of cabinets in your kitchen. It’s worth the effort because this is one update that you will get back with the sale of your home. Good luck, and have fun renovating.
Many thanks to Emily Knight, merchandiser for Home Depot countertops, who contributed to this article.