5 top home improvement trends for 2019

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If you want to know where home design is headed, there’s no better source than Design & Construction Week, the industry’s biggest trade show, which took place Feb. 19-21 in Las Vegas. HomeAdvisor’s team was among the 85,000-plus attendees, including designers, builders, manufacturers and other home pros. Here are five trends we spotted for your next remodel.

High-tech kitchens and baths

Smart home technology has largely focused on other parts of the home, with devices such as video doorbells and smart thermostats. But most of the coolest connectivity at this year’s show was aimed squarely at the kitchen and bath. Case in point: Kohler and Delta both launched Alexa-enabled kitchen faucets that let you fill specific volumes of water by voice command.

In the bathroom, designers are betting big on high-tech solutions such as connected leak detectors and smart toilets with built-in bidets, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s 2019 Bathroom Design Trends report.

Then there’s smart cooking, a hugely popular theme with appliance manufacturers. GE, LG and Whirlpool all touted versions of “guided cooking technology,” whereby the range or cooktop automatically adjusts temperatures and cooking times depending on the recipe.

Luxury laundry rooms

The laundry room has come out of the basement shadows. In fact, an upstairs laundry room topped the list of specialty rooms that a home must have to sell, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ 2019 edition of its What Home Buyers Really Want report. Manufacturers are responding with sleek, stylish laundry appliances that demand to be seen. One of the biggest head-turners at this year’s show was a washer/dryer set from Samsung in an alluring champagne finish.

Black is back

You couldn’t walk 20 feet at this year’s show without running into another black-hued product or fixture _ an indication of the growing interest in contemporary design. Black bathrooms are particularly hot, as evidenced by the bounty of faucets with an ebony finish. Brizo’s Atavis Bath Collection, with its rugged matte finish, was a real showstopper.

In the kitchen, black stainless steel continues to come on strong as a fingerprint-resistant alternative to traditional stainless. Finally, black was the favorite window cladding color, with brands such as Andersen, Marvin and Ply Gem all decking out their booths in the hue.

Smart ways to conserve water

Rising water costs and water shortages in many municipalities are making water conservation every bit as important as energy efficiency. Water-saving toilets and showerheads were all over the show floor. One of the most innovative examples was the Nebia Spa Shower 2.0, which atomizes water to reduce usage by 65 percent without sacrificing pressure.

Several manufacturers, including GE, Moen and Phyn, showcased water-monitoring technologies that give homeowners real-time consumption data for every fixture in the home. That transparency helps households reduce their water use by 15 percent, according to a company spokesperson with Phyn. In addition to improved water efficiency, the systems can identify leaks big and small throughout the home. In the event of a major incident, like a burst pipe, they will even turn off the water at the main line, eliminating the risk of catastrophic water damage.

Bringing the outdoors in

Builders and designers are finding new ways to integrate homes with their natural surroundings. Glass is the go-to material, including doors that do the work of windows by flooding interiors with natural light while providing expansive views.

Many of the latest glass wall systems come with the option of automated control, allowing homeowners to bring the outdoors in with the flick of a switch. We didn’t see any versions with integrated voice control, but given the expansion of digital assistants all over the home, from appliances to toilets to showerheads, Alexa-enabled windows and doors are sure to be a feature at next year’s Design & Construction Week.

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