Thanks to generational changes, economic improvement and necessity, contractors expect an uptick in remodeling this year.

Here’s some of the more important remodeling trends for 2017:

Universal design
As baby boomers and Generation X get older, they often see their family structure expand. They frequently move elderly parents in to more easily take care of them, and more college graduates are returning home and staying longer.

With these generational changes, universal design, which focuses on accessibility and ease, has come to the forefront. Elements include critical facilities such as bathrooms and bedrooms on the first floor to avoid climbing stairs, adding accessories such as handrails to make tasks easier, and wider doorways to accommodate wheelchairs or other assistive equipment.

Paul Verga, owner of Versatile Improvements & Remodeling in Port St. Lucie, Fla., says he includes such principles in much of his work. “In any bathroom remodel we do for middle-aged or older customers, we beef up the walls and put more wood in there,” he says. “That gives more room and support to install handrails in the future.”

Kitchen, bathroom trends steady
Kitchens and bathrooms remain the center of many remodeling projects. For the latter, Duane Ward, president of the David Hazen Group in Zionsville, Ind., says he’s seeing a move away from bathtubs. “Large walk-in showers are very popular now,” he says. “People don’t use tubs anymore, and they appreciate the convenience. Walk-in showers have a cleaner, more sterile look.”

In kitchens and bathrooms, whites and shades of gray are the color tones of the year. Ward also points to luxury vinyl tile, or LVT, as a major trend in the future. “It’s been used commercially for some time and recently entered the residential market,” he says. “LVT is extremely durable, very thin, and virtually indestructible. It can look like tiles or wood. The product itself is a little more expensive than other materials, but installation is cheaper, which brings the price competitive with other materials.”

Granite and quartz countertops
Kitchen and bathroom remodelers say quartz countertops have skyrocketed in popularity, and they don’t foresee that slowing down. “More so than ever, it’s a major product for us,” says Pasquale Mignone of Able Construction in Oakland Gardens, N.Y. “It just seems to be the choice of customers, and manufacturers are constantly developing new styles and designs of quartz.”

Quartz remains a more expensive choice, so granite has moved into less expensive projects.

Home automation
As improving technology brings prices lower, more and more homeowners are mulling tech improvements in their remodeling projects. “It’s one of the most popular things out there right now,” Mignone says.

In fact, new technologies drive many changes, ranging from HVAC systems you can program from your phone to minor improvements in convenience.

Although even a few years ago home automation was a Jetsons-style dream out of reach of all but the most affluent clients, the technology has moved into many price ranges since then. “Those higher-end products aren’t always in people’s budgets,” Mignone says. “But they’re making a lot of them now that have the same features but are aimed at a budget market.”

By Paul Pogue, Angie’s List (TNS)
Paul Pogue is a reporter for Angie’s List, a trusted provider of local consumer reviews and an online marketplace of services from top-rated providers. Visit