We’ve bubbled up, we’ve hunkered down, and now, as we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in 2021, we’re predicting some of the biggest home renovation trends this year.
Based on the billions of dollars in requested RenoFi Loans, 2021 is going to be another big year for home remodeling. The main theme? Efficiency. Spaces in people’s homes that were once wasted are being utilized. Not one room, or one square foot, is going unused.
It’s safe to say that pandemic home remodeling is booming, with Houzz having reported a 58% annual increase in project leads last summer. The desire for homeowners to get started on the projects that are needed to create the perfect space for their whole family has never been greater. And this doesn’t look set to slow down as we move through 2021.
But what home improvement projects have Americans been inspired to undertake this year?
We turned to Google Search Console to find out.
Why? Because before a homeowner connects with an architect or contractor to get quotes or draw up plans, they’re looking for inspiration and ideas. And this usually starts with a search on Google.
We analyzed the change in homeowner interest across 21 common home improvement projects to reveal the ones that Americans have been looking for inspiration and ideas for, and which we’re less interested in after a year at home.
We took a deep dive into the data behind searches for renovation projects across each of these different renovation projects to share insights into how our priorities have changed.
We’re turning our attention towards projects that, primarily, add space to our homes; from the construction of an accessory dwelling unit to the finishing of a basement or an addition, it’s clear that the priority amongst American homeowners right now is making space for the whole family.
While we certainly saw a lot of similarities nationwide, we also saw some clear trends on a state-by-state basis.
The map below shows which renovation project, out of the top 21 we looked at, had the biggest increase in Google searches from the beginning of 2020 to the beginning of 2021.
The chart below shows the comparison for average monthly search history (nationwide) of each project we analyzed, before the pandemic and after.
|Renovation Search||2020||2021||% Change|
|home office renovation||170||390||129%|
|home gym renovation||40||90||125%|
|outdoor kitchen renovation||10||20||100%|
|walk in closet renovation||90||140||55%|
|master bedroom renovation||170||260||52%|
|dining room renovation||90||90||0%|
|living room renovation||590||590||0%|
RenoFi used Google Search Console history for the months of January through March in 2020 and 2021 to compare renovation searches before and after the pandemic.
To calculate percentage increase, RenoFi looked at the average amount of monthly searches for each term for these periods of time in both years.
To take a deeper dive into each state's most popular pandemic project, check out the graphic below.
Based on Google Search Console data and our conversations with homeowners nationwide, here are RenoFi's renovation top project predictions for the remainder of 2021.
One of the ways we predict that homeowners will use their space efficiently this year is through building ADUs. An ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) is a smaller, independent residential dwelling unit located on the same lot as a stand-alone (i.e., detached) single-family home.
ADUs go by many different names throughout the U.S., including accessory apartments, secondary suites, and granny flats.
ADUs can be converted portions of existing homes (i.e., internal ADUs), additions to new or existing homes (i.e., attached ADUs), or new stand-alone accessory structures or converted portions of existing stand-alone accessory structures (i.e., detached ADUs).
Internal, attached and detached ADUs all have the potential to increase housing affordability (both for homeowners and tenants), create a wider range of housing options within the community, enable seniors to stay near family as they age, and facilitate better use of the existing housing fabric in established neighborhoods.
Consequently, many cities and counties have signaled support for ADUs in their plans and adopted zoning regulations that permit ADUs in low-density residential areas.
Another way to use space efficiently is through remodeling your basement, our second trend prediction for 2021. As people have spent more time indoors, rooms that previously went unused are suddenly primed for a makeover.
Finished basements are on the rise in the U.S., and we think that trend is going to continue this year with more and more homeowners finishing their basements.
“Basements have so many different uses - a finished basement can be a home gym, a playroom, an at-home movie theater, or even a guest bedroom,” says Justin, CEO and Co-founder of RenoFi. “Rather than let that entire floor of the home go unused, more and more homeowners are remodeling it to make it work for them and fit their lifestyles.”
Just like ADUs, basements can accommodate multi-generational living as well. The pandemic has forced many families to welcome in older parents or older children, and the basement is a great place to create that personal space for them.
And finally, as we hit peak summer season, we’re going to see a lot more major landscaping projects in 2021. Homeowners are not taking their outdoor spaces for granted anymore, and instead are looking to turn their backyards into an extension of their lifestyle and personal design.
This not only includes patios, decks, pools, etc., but also landscaping. Another reason for this shift in the popularity of landscape design is an emphasis on sustainability.
Many homeowners are turning away from bright green grass and toward more sustainable planting options.
“We’ve seen that restaurants and other venues are building usable outdoor spaces for people to socialize,” says Justin. “You’re going to see a similar thing with homeowners - it’s that need for outdoor living and an ability to gather safely and at a distance.”
The last year has given homeowners the time to think about what they truly want from their homes and the things that matter the most to the whole family.
A housing shortage means that buying somewhere new that better meets your needs is no longer the option that it once was, and these two things combined are the encouragement that many homeowners need to get started on turning their house into their forever home.
For some, that means creating the perfect home office space that will provide the perfect environment for long-term remote working. For others, it’s creating more space with a two-story addition, getting started on that long overdue bathroom remodel, or modernizing the kitchen.