Ashton Woods recently polled 1,400 prospective home buyers to identify the most prominent trends across several topics of home design—ranging from customization and room layouts to fixtures and finishes.
The company's 2018 Ashton Woods National Homebuyer Survey determined that personalized design options were a leading consideration for three-fourths of buyers when selecting a builder, and that buyers' existing kitchens, master bathrooms, and backyards were the top spaces they seek to upgrade.
According to the results, here are the highlights of what's in and what's on its way out:
- Though current trends still point to white kitchens across design shows and blogs, participants said they preferred natural wood kitchen cabinets over the all-white look.- Future home buyers are saying yes to hardwood flooring and no to carpet.
- The shower-tub combo in the master suite is being replaced with more luxurious options—such as a walk-in shower sans bathtub, or a separate bathtub and shower.
- Participants prefer rustic wood elements found in the ever-popular farmhouse style, but are less favoring of industrial elements.
- When it comes to metal finishes, brushed nickel continues to lead buyer preference.
- Participants preferred transitional and rustic interior design styles, followed by traditional, farmhouse, and contemporary. Bohemian, coastal, and Scandinavian styles were the least popular aesthetics among the survey's participants.
Buyers are placing most of their focus on the kitchen. Nearly three-fourths of participants said they would prioritize luxury features in the kitchen over other areas of the home. And despite the all-white kitchen trend that is prevalent across television shows and design blogs, future buyers are moving towards more natural wood cabinets.
“We identified this emerging trend late last year and started incorporating beautiful natural wood cabinets in our models,” says Leigh Spicher, national director of design studios at Ashton Woods. “It speaks to a shift in the all-white trend, and homebuyers are loving the more nuanced texture and versatility of the look.”
Granite still has the lead over marble and quartz when it comes to countertop materials, with 33% of participants making it their top choice. Classic brushed nickel and stainless-steel finishes were the top metal choices.
“While granite and marble still hold their lead, we are seeing that buyers tend to choose quartz when they learn of its durability as well as the manufactured consistency benefits it has over the other pricier, more natural materials. And as mixing metals continues to gain popularity as a trend, we’re seeing an uptick in requests for historically less popular finishes such as satin brass or bronze. They make great statement metals to complement a more neutral metal such as stainless steel or brushed nickel,” says Spicher.
The survey also revealed that home buyers are making room for their pets, finding it important to have a dedicated space for their pets in their next home. This sentiment was especially strong among pet-owning millennials.
“With nearly 77% of participants owning at least one pet, we are not surprised to see our experience reflected in the survey results,” says Spicher. “We routinely see customers asking for a dedicated space for their furry companions.”
When it comes to bonus rooms, a dedicated home office was cited as the most important space, following changes in work lifestyles which are affecting what consumers want at home. From the participants surveyed, 33% said they would be willing to spend $10,000 or more to add a hobby or bonus room.
“In the past, bonus rooms have been a blank slate when home buyers get the keys to their home,” says Jay Kallos, senior vice president of architecture for Ashton Woods. “Now, buyers come into our [design] studios knowing they want a room specifically dedicated to a hobby–whether it’s a workout room, a media room, game room, or home office .”
In the master bedroom, size is a major draw for homebuyers, with 44% of participants prioritizing master bedroom square footage over features like luxury finishes. In the master bath, 73% of participants are opting to ditch the shower/tub combo. Participants preferred having a walk-in shower and no bathtub (37% ) or having a separate shower and bathtub (36%) over having a shower/bathtub combo (27%).
“Home buyers are asking for the master bathroom to be a luxurious retreat,” says Spicher. “Having a separate shower and tub or a standalone, oversized shower better defines the space and gives it a dedicated purpose and spa-like feel.”
Buyers still prefer hardwood when it comes to flooring. Carpet was a polarizing choice for the surveyed buyers—landing in both the second favorite and least favorite spots. Survey participants identified custom built-ins and decorative ceilings as special design elements they would most like to incorporate into their next home, suggesting buyers want design features that have character and style.
“Home buyers are drawn to any option that allows them to personalize a room for their tastes or needs,” says Kallos. “Built-ins and decorative ceilings are two custom design options that are relatively simple yet make an impressive statement in any room.”
To view the executive summary and full report, visit Ashton Woods.