Homeowners' design preferences go well beyond kitchen islands and color palettes, according to Houzz Community Team member Michael Stein. Stein used Houzz's 2014 Houzz & Home Report as the basis for his design trends presentation at the 2014 Remodeling Show. The report highlights a number of details that give remodeling projects that certain something.

"The lion's share of renovation dollars are being spent in kitchens and baths," Stein says, but those aren't the only places. "A lot of people make assumptions about what's desired and we found that some of that was different than expected." To help differentiate your next project from the one down the block, here are four Houzz & Home 2014 design takeaways:


The hutch has three large drawers set back into the space under the stairs — one for recycling, two for storage — mounted on Accuride (accuride.com) full-extension glides. The recycling center and the two drawers to the right are 48 inches deep, but the top left drawer is shallower to accommodate the stair stringer.
Greg Premru The hutch has three large drawers set back into the space under the stairs — one for recycling, two for storage — mounted on Accuride (accuride.com) full-extension glides. The recycling center and the two drawers to the right are 48 inches deep, but the top left drawer is shallower to accommodate the stair stringer.

Play Up Organization

According to Stein, nine of the top 20 most-saved photos in Houzz ideabooks showcase "how to improve life through better use of space." Simply put, homeowners are looking for real-life solutions for storage conundrums. Cabinet organizers, closet shelving, and creative hidden storage options will not only play well with your clients, but posting high-quality photos of the projects on Houzz could get your photos into more ideabooks. Platt Builders' clever recycling center (left) is a perfect example of what homeowners are looking for, and won a Remodeling Design Award in 2013. On its face, the recycling center looks like a traditional hutch, but the pull-out cabinets borrow unused space beneath a staircase on the other side of the wall.

The shower was relocated to the corner to maximize floor space and allow for a bathtub. New windows within both the shower and vanity area allow for natural light throughout.
Joshua Curry The shower was relocated to the corner to maximize floor space and allow for a bathtub. New windows within both the shower and vanity area allow for natural light throughout.

Streamline the Shower

In the bathroom, Houzz found that 80% of glass shower enclosures are now frameless, and their users like the trend. Frameless glass like the enclosure in Balding Brothers' 2014 RDA-winning nautical project (right) gives the bathroom a clean and open design compared to framed enclosures. And, let's be honest: do you want your painstaking design cluttered by a shower curtain? We think not.

Bathe in the Light

The Balding Brothers project also hits on a second bath-related finding from Houzz. Stein says 41% of Houzz users want to add more ambient light to this room of the house. Transoms, as used here, are one option, and skylights work as well. Both window types bring the benefits of daylighting into the space, and allow homeowners to better see the colors of their clothing or their makeup while dressing. Back-lit mirrors can add a subtler level of illumination when it's time to wind down at the end of the day.

Photographer: Joe Fletcher
Photographer: Joe Fletcher

Address Outdoor Activities

Outdoor living spaces remain popular remodeling upgrades, but Houzz & Home survey results show that outdoor activities go beyond grilling and entertaining on a deck. Consider making space in your outdoor living plans for raised planter beds, container gardens, and other non-lawn green spaces. Remodeling's sister publication Custom Home recently featured the project at left by San Francisco-based Feldman Architecture, which showcases a green roof to complement the master suite. Read more about this modern project here. And don't forget to light the home, both for utility and aesthetics. Two-thirds of survey respondents (65%) are adding lighting to their homes' exteriors.