Original article written by Jennifer Kelly Geddes for Realtor.com.
There’s an irrefutable truth to be found in people’s search habits, and a new survey shows exactly which way the wind is blowing this summer when it comes to home decor.
For the 2022 Houzz Emerging Summer Trends Report, this home design site sifted through three months’ worth of its search results from January to March 2022. Then, the site compared that data with the same time period last year to see which design fads were on the rise—and which were on the wane.
As expected, many of the most popular upgrades continue to reflect a COVID-19 pandemic theme. The toilet paper shortage was one we all shudder to recall, so it’s little surprise that searches for “bidets” are up 14% from last year. And with remote work lingering for many at least part of the time, searches for “cloffice” are still going strong, too (up 76%).
Yet many of the most sought-after home trends of today might be a bit more surprising. If you’re thinking of starting a renovation project soon or you’re just curious about what’s hot right now, check out these popular design fads for some fresh ideas this summer.
Brightly colored front doors
We’re finally inviting family and friends into our homes once again, and fixing up the first thing they’ll see is top of mind. Folks have pushed plain ol’ black and blue doors aside in favor of searching for “red front doors” (up 22%) and “green front doors” (up 55%).
And the knob that came with the house you bought is getting replaced, too, per the report. “Front door handle” searches are up 46%. No more standard-issue hardware!
‘Japandi’ kitchens and bathrooms
Uncluttered, neutral, and very calming are the main themes of “Japandi” style, a mashup of Japanese and Scandinavian design aesthetics. (Ellen DeGeneres and Kanye West are both professed fans of the look.)
Homeowners are embracing this style’s natural fabrics and bamboo as they search for “Japandi kitchens” (up twice as much as last year) and “Japandi bathrooms” (up three times as much).
“Another of our studies on bathroom trends found that people are seeking a space for rest and relaxation, and the top features they want are cleanliness, a lack of clutter, and greenery—all hallmarks of Japandi style,” explains Mitchell Parker, Houzz senior editor.
And if you’re thinking of listing your home anytime soon, Japandi is a smart move, says Susan Jakubowski, a real estate agent with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty in Cornelius, NC. “It’s a very modern look, and modern is highly desirable, clean, and shows well.”
Searches for “barndominium” (a portmanteau of “barn” and “condominium”) are up 154% (and “barndo kitchens” are up almost as much—138%). Chip and Joanna Gaines helped propel this look to the fore when they featured it a few years back on their show “Fixer Upper.”
A barndominium is a wholesale conversion of an old barn into a home, explains Parker. It salvages the familiar rooflines and interior beams for a rustic-chic style. These kitchens are appealing to those who want to try the trend in a small way, with the same vaulted ceiling and open floor plan.
Just keep in mind that a barndominium is likely too specific to sell easily, says Jakubowski, “unless you find the right buyer who will love this type of home.”
Hardy, drought-tolerant plants
Many homeowners are facing the reality of living in areas with drought conditions, says Parker. Searches for “drought-tolerant landscaping ideas” increased an impressive 99%, in part because caring for these designs requires less water and time.
These environmentally friendly options can “improve drought resilience as well as thrive on 20% less water than a traditional landscape, especially if you opt to plant native foliage,” explains Cassy Aoyagi, president of FormLA Landscaping in Los Angeles.
Hot-weather-loving, hands-off plants are definitely a draw in the Sunshine State, according to Charlina McGee, a real estate agent with Sotheby’s International in Naples, FL, whose buyers are mostly in the area during the winter.
“As snowbirds, they want to spend time golfing and boating rather than doing yardwork,” she says.
Kara Harms, a design and lifestyle blogger at Whimsy Soul, credits TikTok with helping to fuel the hardy landscaping trend.
“Users are sharing information on drought-tolerant plants, native flowers, and how to attract bees to the yard—all of which are far better for the environment than a traditional mowed lawn,” says Harms.
Not every pandemic puppy was returned to the pet store! Instead, folks are sticking with Fido and even investing in the pet’s comfort as they seek out “dog feeding station” ideas (up 55%).
Alas, these pooches have proven hard to train as many seem to be destroying upholstery in their wake. To fix it, searches on fur-friendly “chair seat covers” are up an incredible 429%!
Midcentury materials galore
No home style is more searched today than midcentury modern, especially “midcentury modern kitchen ideas,” which soared an eye-popping 576%. And even very specific materials connected to this look showed some real traction, including the looped yarn material “bouclé” (up 149%) and “curved sofas” (up 31%).
But the mother of all midcentury modern detail searches is “kit kat tile,” perhaps for a new backsplash or to cover the shower in a new Japandi-inspired bathroom. Kit kat tile is shaped like the candy of the same name—long and slender—and searches for it are on fire, to the tune of 797%! Who knew?!