Remodeling trends for 2011

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ March 4, 2011

Are you wondering what remodeling trends will rise to the top of the pack this year? So did the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) when it polled member builders and contractors that belong to its 58 chapters nationwide. Remember, as you look over the results, that they may be colored by the kinds of work in which the polled contractors specialize, rather than economic realities seen in the recent Cost vs. Value Report. Tallied by Remodeling Magazine, this report compiled actual figures on returns for your investment today for a range of home improvement projects.

According to CBS Moneywatch writer Ilyce Glink, NARI builders and contractors echo the advice you've read here for months: tackle small scale, easy-to-finance projects right now. NARI contractors suggest small bathroom remodeling projects at the top of the trends. Because you may have more than one bathroom, you can do one or two small bathroom projects and stay between the lines of affordability and value.

Repairing fundamental problems

This year, expect homeowners and contractors to tackle structural woes that address "must-do" rather than "would love to do" repairs. These might include siding repairs, new siding, roof patching and gutter maintenance. I suggested projects along these lines earlier this week when I talked about short-term maintenance projects that you should complete, lest you turn away would-be buyers.

Outdoor decks are in the NARI contractor list for remodeling trends this year. Despite their choice, I remind you that decks are a tricky proposition, based largely on where you live. The Cost vs. Value Report at Remodeling Magazine shows a 66-percent return in home value (ROI) on a $15,373 composite deck addition across the nation in 2010. That's no stunner, trend or no trend.

Turn up the warmth

One interesting trend, according to NARI builders, includes a homeowner return to warmer colors for home interiors. The minimalist use of neutral paint tones of grays and whites will give way this year to earth tones that lend a greater sense of coziness.

Finally, should you pay a contractor in cash? According to Moneywatch, homeowners who can afford projects out of existing coffers are doing so rather than grabbing additional debt. That may mean, the NARI trend survey showed, that you settle on upgrading highlights or features--such as kitchen cabinets or appliances--rather than re-do an entire room.

If it sounds like you've heard all this before, it's because remodeling trends for 2011 seem to echo the prudent consumer behavior that fit the economic realities in 2010.

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