Zillow analyzed its listings data to determine the top five home trends to watch in the New Year, and while it may be 2023, not 2020, many pandemic-era home fads are still hanging on.
Do not disturb
Take, for example, segmented layouts. The past three decades have seen contractors taking down walls to create open-concept spaces, but more than a quarter of all Zillow listings mention "privacy" or "private spaces," up 7 percent over last year.
"The pandemic exposed the fatal flaw of the open floorplan once everyone was living, working, and schooling at home: the lack of privacy. A soundless space for video calls or a quiet sitting room for reading became more desirable than ever," says the study.
Homeowners who have open floorplans will look to compartmentalize their space through furniture layout and design to create private nooks and corners, Zillow predicts.
Room to roam
Backyards are also still a luxury, and are highlighted in one out of every five Zillow listing descriptions. Mentions of patios and pools also surged, up by more than 13 percent and 11 percent, respectively, in 2022.
"The rising popularity of outdoor features suggests the pandemic has changed the way we want to live for good, priming the backyard for a 2023 evolution," says Amanda Pendleton, Zillow's home trends expert. "When the pandemic forced all entertaining outdoors, homeowners reclaimed their backyards from the kids or the dogs. Now they're rethinking how that space could serve as an extension of their home in new, creative ways."
In 2023, Zillow says to look for outdoor home gyms, natural pools alive with plants, edible gardens, and outdoor rooms for dining, lounging, and quiet reflection.
Speaking of entertaining — and just general everyday living — kitchen islands are increasing in functionality and desirability.
Zillow listings mentioning a kitchen island saw an uptick of 19 percent in 2022, as people move further away from formal dining rooms and embrace the casual comfort of gathering in the kitchen.
Expect to see these islands stand out with contrasting paint colors or wood stains and different countertop materials, Zillow predicts. The trend of repurposing unique furniture pieces or vintage tables as islands will also grow in 2023, the company says.
Upgrade and upkeep
Lots of other home improvements are on the horizon, especially for younger homeowners.
A new Zillow survey finds 48 percent of homeowners younger than 40 have tapped the equity in their home in the past two years, most commonly to pay for home improvement projects.
However, 90 percent of those homeowners under 40 who took out a home equity line of credit or second mortgage, or opted for a cash-out refinance, have yet to spend all the money they borrowed, suggesting 2023 may be the year they complete all the renovation projects on their to-do list.
What's on the docket? Improvements that make homes more sustainable, low-maintenance, and high-tech. Investing in drought-resistant landscaping and smart-home systems are energy-efficient projects that can help save money and the environment, and boost a home's value when it's time to sell.
One trend you might not have seen coming is the return of mirrored walls and ceilings, which are now appearing 12 percent more often in listing descriptions on Zillow.
We're not talking 1970s panels, per se, but rather antiqued mirrored surfaces applied in a grid for a tres chic Parisian feel.
Don't want this shiny upgrade to feel overwhelming? Embrace the closed layout and go bold in one room only.