It’s exhausting keeping up with ever-changing trends. It seems as soon as you figure out which ones to incorporate into your life, they’re out of style and something else has taken their place.

While this may be true for the latest food craze (fondue, anyone?) or novelty gift (pet rocks may come to mind,) these 7 home improvement trends are different. They’re well-thought-out concepts that make sense and will have staying power that others lack.

#1 Get Connected

Smart Home

As the lines between professional and private worlds blur and we’re connected 24/7, the need to have the latest technologies available in your home becomes increasingly important.

Likewise, adding home automation options will allow you to enjoy convenient, flexible and energy-saving smart features that you’ll be surprised you ever lived without.

It’s time to think about updating your home and incorporating smart home advancements to increase salability. According to professional real estate agents with Coldwell Banker, homes with smart home features sell faster than those that don’t.

Consider adding some of these:

  • Mobile Apps that operate components in your home, such as: lighting, ceiling fans, thermostats and sump pumps.
  • Smart appliances like refrigerators with reminders to purchase food items that are running low, Duet washer and dryer (control from anywhere), and app-controlled coffeemakers.
  • Wi-Fi connected security systems and cameras, door locks, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Smart TVs and entertainment systems allow you to stream popular apps and programming directly to your television, smartphone, computer or tablet.
  • Automated window treatments, shades and blinds.
  • Smart light bulbs that provide colours and shades of white to create mood lighting and sync to music.
  • Digital voice assistants (like Amazon’s Alexa and Echo Dot) that sync to Google to operate whole-house “smart features.”

#2 Anything Goes

golden oak hardwood floors blended with butcher block countertops

Putting your unique stamp on your home by personalizing your remodeling projects is trending. Gone are the days of meticulously selecting the same wood species or colour palette; now, interior designers encourage a mix-and-match approach.

You’ll find golden oak hardwood floors blended with butcher block countertops, or white painted kitchen cabinets for the main wall and gray on the island.

Keeping on trend, don’t be afraid to take elements from several decades when creating your masterpiece—blend contemporary white walls and floors with light wood furniture and fabrics. Add a subway tile backsplash and throw in some glass and metal accents. The trend is not to match, so have some fun and select whatever your heart desires.

#3 Aging in Place

senior couple hugging

As baby boomers age, they’ve come to realize that in order to stay in their own homes once their physical and mental abilities change, they must remodel. Planning ahead and making changes now, instead of waiting until problems arise, will help you slowly transition while maintaining your independence well into your senior years.

Here are some of the accessibility changes you should consider:

  • The main living area should be all on one floor or have a master bedroom down with a full bath.
  • Remove step-ups or step-downs between rooms.
  • Thresholds should be flush to eliminate tripping hazards.
  • 36-inch wide hallways and doorways for wheelchair access.
  • There should be at least one step-free entry.
  • Install levered door hardware on all doors to assist with gripping issues.
  • Lever faucet handles or touch-activated models will help with dexterity concerns.
  • Grab bars and an installed seat in the shower will reduce the risk of falls.
  • A comfort-height toilet (17-19 inches high) assists with sitting and standing issues. A self-cleaning fixture will provide a bacteria-free environment.
  • Easy access appliances like raised front-load washer and dryer, side-by-side refrigerator, and electric cooktop with level burners will reduce bending and risk of injury.
  • 5-foot by 5-foot turning space for wheelchair use in the living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and foyer.

#4 Stand-Alone Showers and Tubs

bathroom window glass shower
Tub/shower combinations are no longer considered the preferred bathroom design. Trends dictate that separate bathtub and showering spaces are available if room permits.

Stand-alone showers should include ceramic tile walls, wide or no shower doors, a built-in seat, shelving for soaps and toiletries, multiple sprays and a rain shower head. Houzz recommends a minimum of 60″ by 36″ shower to avoid feeling claustrophobic. You may need to increase the size to accommodate a seat.

Free-standing bathtubs (clawfoot or oval) soaking tubs have replaced the deck-style whirlpool tubs of the past. You may want to add a heated surface element or gentle bubble jet features.

#5 Green and Energy-Efficient Projects

Alberta Home Improvement Rebate Program

We’ve all heard about “going Green” and saving energy, but adopting some of these trending home improvements will put your home among the growing group of cutting-edge homeowners.
living room window

Help the planet and your budget by including these sustainability projects on your “Must Do” list:

  • Extra insulation—after years of settling and deterioration from seasonal temperature changes, your attic and wall insulation is no longer doing a great job. It may be time to increase the R-values in your home by adding extra with batt or blown-in types. You may also qualify for government rebates to offset the cost of the project to save even more.
  • Window replacements—if you’ve got leaky, worn-out windows that could use an update, there are a lot of great options available. Energy-efficient choices such as double- and triple-pane, Low-E coatings and gas-filled windows all create a comfortable environment while saving you money. The experts at Ecoline Windows can help you find the right product for your situation and see if you qualify for Energy Efficiency Alberta incentives.
  • HVAC—there’s no need to suffer through cold winters or hot summers with a furnace or air conditioner that isn’t working to its full potential. High-efficient models will keep your home comfortable all year long for a fraction of the cost and energy use.
  • Solar electric power—there’s nothing that can compete with the renewable energy generated by the sun. Innovative residential applications are available for homes throughout Canada as part of a green initiative to reduce greenhouse gases and our carbon footprint. You can save significantly on your daily energy use and may even generate enough to sell back to the utility—a win/win for everyone.
  • Tankless hot water heater—traditional hot water heaters use a storage tank to collect water for use at a later time. It’s not very efficient and often insufficient for every day needs. A tankless system heats water on demand and doesn’t rely on constant energy use to maintain a supply of hot water. Rebates are available to offset the cost to purchase and install a new system that will save you thousands of dollars.
  • Water-saver plumbing fixtures—even small changes can make a difference in the natural resources we use. Consider replacing your faucets, toilets and shower heads with low-flow models to reduce water waste and save even more money.

#6 Garage Remodel

garage renovation

Has your garage become a giant storage space instead of a place to park your vehicle at night? Does it seem as if the more you try to clean it out, the more clutter appears? If so, you’re not alone which is why a garage remodel is a trending home improvement project.

Improve the aesthetic appeal with better storage and organization products. Add custom shelving, peg boards, cabinets and utility drawers to give every loose item a permanent storage space. Clean up unattractive stains and repair deterioration with concrete paint and special compounds. With all the new-found area, build in a workbench, countertop or seating area then add some bright lighting to transform your dingy garage into a functional, enjoyable part of your home.

#7 Mud Rooms

Mud room

Last, but not least, mud rooms are definitely a favorite place for families to discard belongings without tracking a mess to the rest of the house. Your renovation must-haves should include coat racks, shelving, storage benches and easy-clean flooring. You might consider adding wainscoting or durable, washable paint to minimize wall damage in this high-traffic zone. Need a place to install your pet washing station? This might be the perfect spot.

These 7 powerful home improvement trends have been gaining traction for years. Each reno project will help to improve your home’s aesthetics, comfort, resale value, organization and/or energy efficiency. Add one or more to your project list this season, and you’re sure to gain big rewards for years to come.