So, what remodeling projects are on top of everyone's list?
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) conducted an exclusive poll of their top builders and developers for us and found that while most people are not starting major renovation projects due to the economy, now is the time to take care of the smaller jobs around your home.
Call it the over-arching remodeling trend for 2011: Tackling small projects while you wait to do the really big remodeling project that's on your list.
Here are 12 top remodeling trends to welcome in the "aught teens":
1. Save Money: Remodel Your Bathroom. Old tile getting a little grungy? It looks like 2011 is the year for a bathroom update. Dennis D. Gehman, president of Gehman Custom Remodeling says, "Bathrooms are the hottest project, we think it's due to the economy. Baths cost less than a kitchen or addition and most houses have more than one bath, so there are more available to be remodeled."
2. Must-Do Remodeling Projects. Rather than going through major renovations, next year people will continue to only complete the projects that need to be done, like repairs to siding or roof leaks. Mitch Speck of Specktacular Home Remodeling says he is seeing a trend of people doing "'have-to' projects instead of 'want-to' projects."
3. Warming Up The House. Warmer tiles and colors are coming back. People tend to be moving away from minimalist, white designs in favor of cozier, earth tones. The trend, however, is not rustic. Instead, it'ss a mash-up of earthiness and modern design. Judy Mozen, president of Handcrafted Homes, Inc., says she is seeing people favor rooms that are more contemporary and calming, but are "still not totally contemporary."
4. Getting Decked Out. George Christiansen of Pequot Remodeling Corporation says his clients are building outdoor spaces for themselves. "It appears that people want to sit outside again and are staying at home more frequently. Many pools are also being built in the neighborhood."
5. Hiring A Great Contractor. Darius Baker of D & J Kitchens and Baths, Inc. says that "consumer diligence" is on the rise. "Folks are finally getting the message that it is important to look closer at the companies they are considering for their project. They are asking the questions we have been telling them to ask for years."
6. Paying in Cash. Rather than taking out loans for renovation projects, homeowners are using cash for projects. Steve Klitsch of Creative Concepts Remodeling, Inc. says homeowners are giving themselves a budget and picking and choosing what projects they can do with the money. One way to save money is by updating features, like cabinets, but not remodel an entire room.
7. Opening Up Rooms: "Open floor plans are in, so we're removing interior walls and opening up the spaces in older houses to modernize them," says Gehman. Open floor plans help families be more flexible with the square footage they already have.
8. Bronze Age. Along the with warmer tones in homes are warmer tones in metallic features. Kathy Adams of J&C Adams Co., Inc. says "oil rubbed bronze, aged bronze, or distressed hardware" will be big in the coming year.
9. Going Green. Bamboo floors, grass thatched roofs, and bark siding may sound like something from "Jungle Book," but they are just a few of the newest green home products. In addition, people are getting energy efficiency upgrades. Adams says upgrades on glass will be continue to be big, and adds that "people are even asking for tri-pane (windows)!"
10. Industrial Flair. Exposed beams will continue to be popular, but so will "stainless steel cable and architectural products," says Michell Milestone, director of sales and marketing at JG Development, Inc. With so many people working from home, home will take on more of an industrial or commercial look to enforce business credability.
11. Creating Relaxation Space: With home values still falling in many areas and a new prediction of three more lousy years of real estate, homeowners are more stressed than ever. So it's no surprise that when they are developing new spaces, tranquility comes to mind. Mozen says people are asking for "zen-like" bathrooms. "The bathrooms don't have to be big-but they have to be relaxing and soothing. They seem to prefer showers with the works-steam, seats, body sprays, etc."
12. Planning ahead: "We are seeing many clients thinking about their retirement years," says Jillian Renner of Golden Rule Remodeling & Architecture, Inc. Her clients-even those far from retirement-are putting in easy-opening cabinetry, hand-held showers, and more accessible kitchens and baths. Renner adds, "Even though the clients don't need those things right now, they are planning for when they might find them needed."
Are you planning a remodeling project this year? How much are you planning to spend?
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Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate at ThinkGlink.com and The Equifax Personal Finance Blog, and is Chief Content Strategist at RealtyJoin.com, a community for real estate investors.