Are granite countertops over?

While granite and stainless are hardly yesterdays laminate and harvest gold, there are numerous materials and products appealing to today’s buyers that might not have been around even a few years ago. Keeping an eye on some of the prevalent trends might help a future seller avoid a furnishing faux pas when they go to update their current home.

Countertops have long been ruled by granite. This natural product started as an upscale cue on stately homes with magnificent kitchens. However, today it has become so much more commonplace being found in many starter homes and apartments. And although there is still a wide variety of granite selections and prices, its longevity may have driven the industry to chase its heir apparent. A man-made material, quartz offers many advantages over natural stone such as superior impermeability and consistency. Another choice being increasingly used is quartzite, a natural stone, which has many similar properties to that of granite including a variety of colors but with veining more reminiscent of marble.

Flooring options have grown exponentially over the past several years. One popular flooring trend is larger format tile. The glory days of the 4×4 and 8×8 tiles have ceded to 18”x18”, 18”x24” and 30”x30.” And the ability of tile companies to mimic natural materials, without many of the drawbacks, continues. Tiles replicating wood, stone and metal are all widely available and being featured in new construction homes throughout our area. And while dark wood floors continue to be widely anticipated by buyers, wider planks and more exotic woods are being seen more often as builders try to differentiate.

Lighting trends can be split into 2 primary fronts: source and style. The increasing affordability and accessibility of LED lights have provided many more options to designers. With kelvin ratings approximating incandescent lighting, buyers today can have that warm glow they are used to, with superior energy efficiency and incredible design flexibility unique to LEDs. Popular locations for LEDs are under and in-cabinet, under-vanity, stairway, accent and landscape. Fixture styles are trending toward a more transitional style in newer homes. Chandeliers featuring glass baubles as a contemporary take on the traditional crystal and industrial themed fixtures providing unique yet casual lighting are a few trends being seen across our market.

Technology is not a term that has been used with most homes historically, but if current trends (and the recent Consumer Electronics Show) are any indication, that won’t be the case going forward. Connected homes where the HVAC, sound, lighting and security are all controllable via smartphone are mainstream in the upper end of our market and quickly migrating to more modest price homes.

The way space is allocated is also changing. Becoming more commonplace are so-called command centers for the home which often include charging stations, a desk, and a drop zone for keys, mail etc. These areas are often combined with or near an entry mudroom. Outside, space is being dedicated to large covered porches, which can be used in more types of weather as well as allowing more furnishings to remain outside. In our communities like Birmingham, which has a higher density of homes, modest front setbacks and sidewalks, these porches that are located on the front of the house can act to draw a neighborhood together with more neighbor-neighbor interaction.

Keeping abreast of community design trends can help any homeowner make wise decisions when updating their home.

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Comments

  1. My wife and I had been researching granite countertops when we stumbled across your article. I hadn’t even considered that granite countertops might’ve gone the way of the dodo bird. It’s a shame, if true, because I’m still quite a big fan of the complicated stone look. Thanks for being a voice of caution.

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