Trendy Renovations: Do I Dare?
People are constantly asking me about reno and design trends: What’s new this year? Will it catch on? Is it worth it? Will it add value to my home? I always answer thesequestions with this caveat: if you’re going to stay in your home for the next 10 years (or more) and want to do a reno that’s just for you, I say go for it. You want to be able to enjoy your home, so if that means putting in a sauna, put in a sauna. When you’re focused on your own long-term use of the home as opposed to its resale value, it comes down to personal taste rather than dollars and sense.
The next thing I like to tell people is that “trendy” doesn’t always have to equal “crazy.” There are plenty of reno and design trends out there right now that have been trending upward for the last few years and are likely on their way to becoming part of what we consider the norm for our homes.
We all know that kitchen and bathroom renos are the most valuable rooms in terms of return on investment and there are plenty of trends that will help with that return. And plenty that won’t. Open-concept kitchen designs are still trending up and most new buyers are looking for them - in other words, a well-done, open-concept kitchen reno will result in a good return. Where you won’t get a return in a kitchen reno is deviating from a neutral design palette in favour of brightly coloured, high-gloss cabinets, for example. Renovation trends (like open-concept kitchens) tend to have a much longer popularity cycle than design trends. This means you should incorporate trendy design elements in easily changeable accessories (like hardware and drawer pulls), as opposed to built-in (and expensive) elements, like cabinets or counters.
Bathroom trends - like kitchen trends - can also play in, or against, your favour depending on which reno road you decide to go down. One of the biggest bathroom trends right now is the large, curbless shower. I love them because they add a level of luxury to a bathroom while still adding value. With a rapidly aging population, I suspect that these showers will become more and more popular, since they’re far more accessible than bathtubs and shower stalls. On the other hand, while open-concept kitchens are a great trend to follow, open-concept bathrooms (specifically master ensuites) may be a trend that does your home more harm than good.
Do try to please most of the people, most of the time
I know what you’re probably thinking: “Open-concept bathrooms? Is that a thing?” It is. A master bedroom that seamlessly connects with a master bath - without walls - is, in fact, becoming more and more trendy. As I said before, if it’s a renovation just for you and you like that design, don’t be afraid to go for something unconventional. But if you’re concerned about resale value, aim to appeal to 90 per cent of people, 90 per cent of the time - a box that an open-concept bathroom won’t tick.
Another major money-making area of your home is the basement. If your house has a basement, simply finishing it and adding more livable space is going be a great return on investment. Basement trends that keep popping up over and over again on my radar include media rooms, home gyms, and even the basement bar area is making a comeback. Where the basement is concerned, it all comes down to usability. Keeping the basement use-neutral will help with resale and value. Could your home gym double as an extra bedroom if you swapped the weights for a bed? Could your media room be a kids’ playroom instead? It’s important not to paint yourself into a corner with these trendy room renos. Don’t install fixed seating and rake the floor in a media room. Don’t install a mirror wall in your gym.
Of course, the most valuable way to finish your basement is to put in a basement income suite. I might be biased, but I like to think I helped make this a trend!