Neutral Colors Make a Comeback in Home Renovations for 2015

Marble, quartz, and honed granite, in addition to neutral colors and design patterns, are en vogue for 2015 home design, especially come selling time, according to experts.

The shift in tastes comes at a time when homeowners are spending more on home renovations (including kitchen remodels), thanks to a recovering economy and a rise in home prices.

According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, home renovation spending was on track for a record-breaking year in 2014. In fact, home and kitchen remodels were expected to exceed the $145 billion tallied in 2006 — just before the housing crash.

However, while spending on home renovation projects is increasing, new styles and trends are replacing the excessive and lavish aesthetic that became popular in recent years. Expensive, restaurant-quality, customized kitchens have now become passé.

“I think there is a decrease in excitement about granite everywhere,” said James Roche, chief executive of, which monitors building design trends across the U.S. “The idea of covering everything in granite is equated with the Baby Boom McMansion phase. I don’t think people like that aesthetic.”

Homeowners who went to town designing over-the-top custom kitchens during the 1990s and 2000s are learning the hard way, as new homeowners often gut the entire kitchen and start from scratch, according to Neda Vander Stoep, a top agent at the Back Bay office of Coldwell Banker Residential Mortgage.

Examples of this excessive aesthetic include “crazy ornate backsplashes, black appliances, ornate floor tiles, custom cabinets with ornate detail and overly customized cabinet hardware,” Vander Stoep said. While homeowners still want beautiful kitchens, they also want to ensure they’re making a smart investment, she added.

Vander Stoep sees a shift from bold, bright colors towards more neutral shades of grays and whites with on occasional pop of color throughout the home to create a cohesive look. Wallpaper is also making a comeback, as it creates subtle variety without being gaudy.

“By going more neutral, you are bound to appeal to a larger pool despite varying tastes,” Vander Stoep said. “Overly customized renovations are out and I am personally seeing less and less of them.”

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