What’s Popular for Kitchen Counters, Backsplashes and Walls

January 30, 2019

BY Erin Carlyle January 27, 2019

Houzz Magazine

Many homeowners are choosing hardworking materials and neutral color palettes for their renovated kitchens, according to the 2019 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study. Quartz counters have overtaken natural stone as the top choice for upgraded counters, and engineered materials are now ahead of traditional hardwood for floors, the study shows.
Read on to find out about top kitchen renovation trends for counters and backsplashes, as well as floors, appliances and walls.

White quartz, pictured here, is the most popular material and color for counters in renovated kitchens.
The 2019 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study gathered information from more than 1,300 Houzz users who had completed a kitchen remodel or addition project in the previous 12 months, were working on one, or planned to start one in the next three months.

1. Counters Are the Most Popular Feature to Upgrade in Kitchen Remodels

Countertops are the No. 1 feature to upgrade as part of a kitchen renovation, with 93 percent of renovating homeowners upgrading this element, the study found. Backsplashes are the second-most popular feature (87 percent), followed by sinks (85 percent), faucets and plumbing fixtures (83 percent), light fixtures (80 percent) and cabinets (78 percent).
A smaller share of renovating homeowners (35 percent) are enlarging their kitchens compared with the year before (41 percent).
White quartz counters are a calming neutral that allow a gray marble backsplash to shine in this kitchen.

2. Quartz Countertops Leap Ahead of Natural Stone

For the first time since Houzz began tracking the data four years ago, engineered quartz —favored by 48 percent of renovating homeowners who upgrade their countertops — is more popular than natural stone (43 percent).
Natural stone countertops include granite (30 percent of upgraded countertops), quartzite (7 percent), marble (5 percent) and soapstone (3 percent). (The total of these individual types of stone adds up to more than 43 percent because some homeowners selected more than one natural stone for their counters.)
Granite in particular has declined in popularity: 40 percent of renovating homeowners upgrading their counters chose this material two years ago, compared with the 30 percent who are choosing it now.

3. White Is a Winning Color for Counters

White countertops continue to gain fans, with nearly 1 in 3 upgraded counters (31 percent) done in various shades of white. Multicolored counters are the second pick (26 percent) among those upgrading counters, followed by gray (13 percent).
Kitchen Confidential: The Case for Quartz
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More than half of homeowners upgrading their backsplashes prefer the brick pattern, as seen in this photo.

4. For Backsplashes, Ceramic and Porcelain Tile Are Top Picks

Nearly 9 in 10 renovating homeowners (87 percent) are installing a kitchen backsplash. The most popular material for new backsplashes is ceramic or porcelain tile (55 percent), followed by natural stone (23 percent). Natural stone includes marble (9 percent), granite (5 percent), travertine (5 percent), slate (3 percent), quartzite (3 percent) and limestone (1 percent). (The total adds up to more than 23 percent because some homeowners selected more than one natural stone for their backsplash upgrades.)

5. The Classic Brick Pattern Is Tops for Backsplashes

The most popular pattern for new backsplash tile is the classic brick pattern (54 percent), in which tiles are laid in an offset pattern in alternating rows, as on a brick wall. (See previous photo.) Classic herringbone (9 percent) is the second-most popular style, followed by the grid pattern (7 percent), in which the grout runs in straight lines vertically and horizontally.

6. A Clean White Backsplash Holds Mass Appeal

More than one-third (35 percent) of renovating homeowners installing new backsplashes are choosing various shades of white for this feature. Twenty percent are choosing multicolored backsplashes, and 14 percent are selecting gray.
Black appliances add to the sleek look of this contemporary kitchen.

7. Engineered Flooring Outpaces Hardwood

Among the 69 percent of renovating homeowners who are upgrading their kitchen floors, ceramic or porcelain tile is the top choice (26 percent). Hardwood flooring has declined in popularity over the years (24 percent now compared with 32 percent two years ago). Meanwhile, engineered flooring has collectively become more common, with 17 percent choosing engineered wood, 12 percent choosing vinyl or resilient flooring and 11 percent choosing laminate.

8. Black Stainless Steel Appliances Gain Ground

Stainless steel remains the most popular finish for new appliances, selected by 69 percent of those upgrading their kitchens. But black stainless steel is rising in popularity: 10 percent of renovating homeowners upgrading their kitchens are choosing a black stainless finish for their renovated kitchens.

9. Neutral Colors Reign for Kitchen Walls

Gray is the most popular color for kitchen walls, chosen by 31 percent of renovating homeowners who are upgrading their kitchens. White was second (24 percent), followed by beige (19 percent).