The Most In-Demand Home Upgrades for 2018

Hope to enhance your humble abode to be somewhat less humble? You’re not alone. Residential improvement and repair expenditures are expected to rise through in 2018, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA), recently released by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. “Recent strengthening of the U.S. economy, tight for-sale housing inventories, and healthy home equity gains are all working to boost home improvement activity,” says Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. Homeowners are projected to spend more than $330 billion on upgrades and replacement—but what upgrades are on the must-make list? Click through to see what industry forecasters and design/construction pros cite as the top trends for 2018.

Smarter Storage

Kitchen Storage

As living spaces shrink, homeowners are devising savvy new ways to stow their stuff. Double-duty kitchen wall space will do the trick, say the pros at Bryan Bell Construction in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Look for pantries and cupboards being integrated directly into the wall for easy-reach convenience, and more open shelving to display collections.

Related: 9 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Look and Feel Bigger

Lighter Loads

Smart Lighting

Indoors and out, smart lighting controls are a brilliant idea whose time has come. These automatic systems are catching on because they save energy (and money), plus they can be tailored to suit your family’s lifestyle—turning on at the times of day and year when you need them, shutting off when you don’t.

Related: 12 Ways Your Home Can Save You Money This Year

Welcome Matte

Basalt Tile

Goodbye, glossy! Matte will be major in 2018, especially in the kitchen. “The next new trend in surfaces are unique textures such as linen granite and hammered basalt tiles—both in a modern matte finish,” says Sarah Stacey of Sarah Stacey Interior Design in Austin, Texas. Matte appliances will also come on strong next year.

Related: 9 Sneaky Ways to Get New Floors Under $50

Metal Urge

Metal Console Table

Interestingly, as matte moves into the kitchen, metallic and iridescent fixtures are finding their way into other rooms. Designers are in excited agreement about metal anchor pieces like coffee and side tables, as well as the use of sparkly materials for pillows, lampshades, and drapes. Shine on!

Related: 7 Ways You May Be Ruining All Your Furniture

Outdoor Additions

Rooftop Patio

Break out the sunscreen! In the coming year homeowners will be expanding their living space to the great outdoors. More folks plan to put in pools, and now the patio is literally moving up: The roof decks that marry the indoor and outdoor spaces, like this design by Flavin Architects, were once considered the sole province of apartment buildings, but will become increasingly popular on private residences in 2018.

Related: 10 Genius Ways to Make Your Backyard a Blast

Flavin Architects; Brian Perkins Construction; Nat Rea

Wood Works

Wooden Lamp

Our increasingly techy world is creating a craving for warm, rustic, real elements in the home—and that means wood! Not just for flooring but such unexpected surfaces as walls and ceilings, predicts Philadelphia interior designer Larina Kase. "Utilitarian pieces such as lamps and pots for plants are also great places for natural wood,” she adds. Also look for “cerused” wood—a centuries-old technique that’s making a comeback to bring out wood’s unique grain.

Related: 10 Vintage Decorating Ideas We Were Wrong to Abandon via RedDoorShades

It Figures

Geometric Wallpaper

Geometric patterns will pop up all over the place. "We'll see geometrics in everything from tile on backsplashes to wallpaper to wall art," says Kase. You can go big, covering an entire room with the bold look, or use as subtle yet striking accents here and there.

Related: 7 Reasons to Reconsider Wallpaper

No, Tanks!

Tankless Water Heater

Saving money and energy is a priority every year, but more people will be installing tankless water heaters in 2018. These devices provide only “as-needed” hot water, at a rate of about two to five gallons per minute. They’re available in both gas and electric models, and because they’re smaller than traditional tanks, they’re also great if you’re short on space.

Related: 14 Sneaky Ways to Save Money on Your Water Bill

In-Law Sweet!

In-Law Suite

Extended families living under one roof are becoming more common—and that may now mean the addition of an in-law suite (complete with small kitchen, full bath, and bedroom). To keep elder loved ones safe and comfortable, these suites include slip-proof flooring, fewer stairs, and wider doorways to accommodate wheelchairs. Note: These upgrades are great for those who wish to age in place, too.

Related: 11 Things That Make Any Home Look Old and Outdated

Terra Gotta!

Terra Cotta Tiles

Baked earth is back in a big way, but in dramatic colors and intricate patterns—not so much the traditional dark red tiles everyone is familiar with. “Look to companies like Tabarka to see new ways to use this material,” Sarah Stacey suggests.

Related: 12 Inventive Ideas for a Budget Backsplash

Mud Impact


Once considered a zone to dump dirty shoes, the mudroom is trending up now, note the pros at the Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania-based plumbing, HVAC, and remodeling firm Losch. Modern mudrooms have shelving, cubbies, racks, and even locker-style units for outerwear, book bags and other items that might instead clutter up a kitchen. What’s more, keeping stuff out of sight, in drawers and behind cabinet doors will make the mudroom so attractive, we might have to invent a nicer name for it!

Related: 7 Ways To Transform Your Mudroom in 48 Hours

Fluidesign; Benn Photography

Cool Contrast

Dark Painted Walls

For those who love stark simplicity, basic black and white are never out of style. But in 2018, the trend will lean toward white flooring and black (or, okay, dark gray, eggplant, and indigo) walls.

Related: The Most Taboo Color Infiltrates Home Design

PPG Paints

Remodel Wisely

Remodel Wisely

With the top home trends of 2018 in hand, homeowners who plan to remodel this year can make an informed decision that may pay off down the line, should they choose to sell.

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