The Bay Area has seen a surge in popularity for home improvement projects recently. More and more homeowners are deciding to update their homes with new paint, appliances, furniture, and even landscaping. While the overall motivation for these projects is to improve the home and make the space more enjoyable for the residents, the Bay Area is one of the most competitive housing markets in America, so these popular projects also increase their home’s overall value substantially.
The most popular home improvement projects in the Bay Area today, and possibly the foreseeable future, are creating or upgrading home offices and outdoor spaces, reducing open floor plan layouts by creating designated spaces, and making the home automated and more eco-friendly. Other projects focus on specific bathroom and kitchen modifications.
With a vast majority of Bay Area homes getting a facelift these days, we’re going to cover the most popular home improvement projects these Californian residents are taking on today. In addition to listing these projects, we’re also going to delve into the reasoning behind why so many people in the Bay Area are hopping on these trends and foregoing design elements that were once so popular.
Bay Area Home Improvement Projects Trending Today
When it comes to remodeling and home improvements, residents of the Bay Area are going all out. From the San Jose foothills to Silicon Valley, many people opt for design elements that focus more on improving their mental and emotional health or benefitting the environment rather than merely what looks nice or trendy.
Much of this new mentality is a direct result of lifestyle changes in the past year caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as striking and unsettling scientific insights regarding the world’s environmental issues. Of course, there are a number of projects people are starting purely because it makes their home more functional and appealing to them.
The top home improvement projects currently being performed in the Bay Area include:
- Establishing or upgrading the home office
- Establishing or upgrading outdoor spaces
- Closing up the open floor plan layout
- Implementing eco-friendly modifications
- Creating a multi-zone kitchen
- Installing home automation technology
- Remodeling bathrooms to be luxurious retreats
While there are several other popular home improvement projects people in the Bay Area and nationwide, are starting, these are the most impactful and recent remodeling choices you’ll see in homes all over this region.
Therefore, we’d like to discuss each in more detail below regarding what they entail and why homeowners are choosing now to start these projects.
Establishing or Upgrading the Home Office
It probably comes as no surprise that a number of homeowners in the Bay Area, and frankly, worldwide, realized that home offices were no longer a luxury as much as a necessity when the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing.
Even now, as the diseases numbers start to decrease in the United States and many businesses are returning to normal productivity, a substantial number of employees were permitted to continue working from home once their companies realized these arrangements are more productive and beneficial for everyone.
Therefore, with more and more Bay Area homeowners working from home, they’ve realized they need designated office space, or the office space they have now isn’t going to cut it anymore. For this reason, arguably the most common home renovation project is to create home offices or upgrade them with additional space, newer technologies, built-in storage units, and more features to improve the space’s aesthetics and functionality.
Establishing or Upgrading Outdoor Spaces
Another result of the global pandemic was that citizens everywhere, the Bay Area included, were stuck in their homes for extended periods. This could be due to quarantine regulations, to adapt a safe lifestyle of social distancing, or simply because they have no real need to leave if they work remotely and have all of their necessities delivered to their doorstep.
Something many people realized early on was that sitting inside at home for hours on end every single day can be extremely detrimental to one’s mental, emotional, and physical health. This is why many Bay Area homeowners are taking it upon themselves to create their outdoor oases.
Establishing or upgrading outdoor spaces allows Bay Area homeowners to escape the prison-like walls of their homes without having to go into public spaces. Depending on the project, these renovations can also give them the opportunity to create more social and active spaces through the installation of pools, fire pits, and outdoor kitchens. Decks and pergolas are also common structures you’ll see listed in the receipts of a Bay Area homeowner’s outdoor renovation expenses.
Closing Up the Open Floor Plan Layout
Not too long ago, homeowners were crazy about owning homes with open floor layouts where the kitchen, dining room, and living areas all merged into one big space. Many people enjoyed this design because it allowed for a lot of sociability and was easy to clean; however, many Bay Area homeowners have recently discovered the most irritating disadvantage of this layout.
After living with so many friends and family in close proximity for extended periods thanks to the pandemic and government shutdowns, people are craving peace and privacy more and more. This, of course, is extremely difficult to achieve in a home with an open floor plan where you can see into nearly every room.
Not only does this prevent you from avoiding other residents, but it also helps sound carry throughout the home. This alone has become a substantial challenge for kids or young adults participating in online schooling or adults working remotely.
In order to overcome and eliminate these issues, Bay Area homeowners have decided to close up some of their open floor plan layouts and create dedicated spaces. These could be offices or schoolrooms, man or woman caves, or a variety of social spaces where residents can be productive or social, depending on their preference.
Implementing Eco-Friendly Modifications
Bay Area homeowners have been looking toward eco-friendly modifications more and more as a way to reduce their environmental impact.
These modifications include but are not limited to:
- Installing solar panels
- Ensuring the home is properly insulated with high-quality insulation
- Using water-based and/or low VOC paints
- Using LED lights
- Installing a low-flow showerhead
- Using natural materials, such as stone, copper, concrete, and granite
- Ensuring all appliances are energy efficient (ex. dishwasher, oven, refrigerator)
- Installing a geothermal system
Some of these modifications and renovations are extremely simple and could be done easily and at an affordable rate, while others are much more extensive and could alter how the entire household functions. Nevertheless, the goal here is to have will benefit the environment, or at least negatively affects it less than before, and could potentially benefit you, particularly when it comes to utility costs.
Some Bay Area homeowners will decide to replace old features with more eco-friendly modifications, or they’ll go to extra lengths to ensure any new home renovations they make align with this goal. Regardless of which approach you choose, each option listed in this project idea will have a positive impact on your home and environment, no matter how extensively you utilize them.
Creating a Multi-Zone Kitchen
One of the most commonly renovated rooms in any house is undoubtedly the kitchen, and nowadays, in the Bay Area, the trending kitchen renovation project of choice is to create a multi-zone kitchen.
Multi-zone kitchens are all about utilizing superb design to divide the room into ultimately five zones while also ensuring maximum mobility in, out, and around the space. These zones include:
- Cooking zone where the cooktop and oven are located
- Cleaning zone where users can easily move from the dirty zone to the clean zone, namely the trash and the sink to the dishwasher.
- Consumables zone where food is stored (typically refers to the pantry, cupboards, or refrigerator)
- Non-consumables zone where cooking and dining essentials, such as cookware and dishware, are located
- Preparation zone where you can layout and prepare your materials before moving to another zone
Most people won’t consciously recognize the various zones in these kitchens, but this design helps this space flow easily and increase its functionality while also keeping it spacious and easy to move around. Another benefit of multi-zone kitchens is that it gives the owner every opportunity to stay organized, as there is a space dedicated for nearly everything.
That being said, depending on how the kitchen is designed, there could be a seventh zone meant strictly for entertaining. This is usually a bar or a booth where people can sit, eat, and chat with the cook as they breeze around the kitchen.
Installing Home Automation Technology
A true sign of the times in the Bay Area is homeowner’s prevalence for replacing old or outdated features by installing home automation technology. The advancement of modern technology is astounding, and nowadays, homeowners can use it to their advantage to make their homes more convenient, efficient, and even save money.
Some of the most common technological renovations include:
- SMART thermostats
- USB outlets
- SMART security systems (motion sensors, locks, cameras)
- Automated lighting
While many of these installations might cause a domino effect of replacing other home elements, many homeowners find the long-term benefits to be well worth the effort and extra cost. This is particularly true with SMART thermostats (especially those connected to solar power) since they can help owners save or even make money on their energy bills. SMART technology also gives homeowners complete control of their home’s systems from virtually anywhere for maximum convenience and peace of mind.
Remodeling Bathrooms to Be Luxurious Retreats
The final popular home improvement project in the Bay Area we’d like to discuss is the shift from bathrooms that are merely functional to essentially luxury retreats.
Bathroom remodeling is one of the most common projects for home renovation, apart from the kitchen, so it’s no surprise it made an appearance somewhere on this list. However, previously, most homeowners focused on modernizing their bathrooms or even increasing their size, whereas now, their priorities have shifted slightly.
Instead of making bathrooms nicer, many people in the Bay Area are adding more luxurious features, such as heated floors, steam showers, bidets, along with technological features like televisions and sound systems.
The reasoning behind this is essentially the same as the outdoor spaces project. After being cooped up inside for extended periods, people like to have somewhere to go where they can unwind and relax after a hard day, and that place is increasingly becoming the bathroom. Therefore, Bay Area residents are putting a decent chunk of change into making their bathrooms resemble high-quality spas. In some cases, it’s the nicest room in the entire house.
When looking at the most popular home improvement projects in the Bay Area, it’s apparent there is a growing prioritization of creating designated areas where people can focus on tasks, socialize, or relax. As a result, you’re likely to see increased home offices, a decrease in open floor plans, and a greater emphasis on bathrooms and outdoor spaces.
Before this, homes were becoming places where people merely spent time cooking, eating, and sleeping when they weren’t performing daily duties of work or school. Now, it’s increasingly becoming a haven where people are comfortable spending time and creating spaces they enjoy being in. All of which is beneficial for the home’s value as well as the homeowners mental and physical health.
Element Home Remodeling East Bay is an Oakland home remodeling contractor that specializes in open and modern designs. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
- Where Do I Start When Adding an Addition to My House? - December 14, 2021
- Why You Shouldn’t Use a Box Store for Your Remodeling Project - December 8, 2021
- How to Hire a Local Contractor for Your Next Home Addition Project - December 8, 2021