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Design-Motivated Kitchen Upgrades: Who's Buying?

JBREC's latest Kitchen Trends Report gives an inside look into who's most willing to replace kitchen elements for design purposes

February 17, 2021
kitchen trends report gives insight into who is buying remodeling upgrades

A kitchen remodel can be extensive the same way it can be cut and dry—the determiners are usually price and preference. Generally speaking, a higher price means more profit—if you’re pricing things correctly. You can achieve a higher price by raising your prices, but without complementing service upgrades the hike is risky (not to mention the ethics are dubious). Another way is upselling those upgrades.

In the latest Kitchen Trend Report from the New Home Trends Institute of John Burns Real Estate Consulting (JBREC)—typically available only to members though Pro Remodeler was aloud an inside look—we see data that not only lend insights into what kitchen elements homeowners would consider replacing simply for design purposes, but also who is mostly like to replace them and in what type of area they live.

What is most replaceable?

The two most replaceable elements for design purposes are cabinetry and drawer pulls and handles; but drawer pulls and handles aren’t exactly a money grab, so for our purposes the no 2 element is countertops, for which installation costs average $3,000 for U.S. homeowners, according to HomeAdvisor—materials costs not included. Cabinet installs are even pricier, with contractors charging $5,100 on average, though over $8,000 isn’t uncommon.

Urbanites, suburbanites, or Rural...ites?

If you’re thinking city slickers would be more willing to replace kitchen elements for design purposes than any of the other groups (and that I should never again say “city slickers”), you’ve just had two correct thoughts. Urbanites are indeed more likely to replace both countertops and cabinetry, as well as every other element for which JBREC surveyed. That being said, suburban and rural homeowners are not totally against the idea of remodeling for design.

Younger, Older, Single, Coupled?

We already know that millennials spend the most remodeling dollars, but are they also most likely to replace parts of their kitchen just to change up the design? Yes.

Families, couples, and singles—if they’re young they’re more willing than “mature” families, couples, and singles to replace big ticket items like countertops and cabinets. Across the board, young families are the most willing to purchase kitchen upgrades for design purposes. However, apart from countertops, cabinetry, and ranges, mature families are bigger design-inspired upgrade purchasers that young couples and singles, more willing to replace faucets, sinks, wall ovens, and stove tops, among others.

About the Author


About the Author


James McClister is managing editor for Professional Remodeler.

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