Home renovation is a big topic in Europe, where more than 50% of the residential buildings were constructed before 1970. That’s around 100 million households that potentially need updating. While an aging living room can be transformed with a fresh coat of paint and new carpeting, outdated kitchens and bathrooms are another story.
Kitchen and bath remodeling top the list of home improvements globally, with kitchens coming in first in terms of cost. Remodeling a kitchen can mean installing expensive new cabinets, fixtures and appliances. Even if you avoid re-configuring the space, i.e., knocking down walls, remodeling a kitchen can be a major undertaking. But it isn’t just outdated décor and aging refrigerators that have European homeowners and landlords keen on kitchen remodeling.
Home prices across Europe are up by 4.3 percent this year on average. Home price appreciation can be an incentive to stay put and renovate. On the other hand, home improvement often becomes a priority when owners consider selling their property. Statistics show that kitchens remodels deliver a solid return on investment, depending on certain variables.
The quest for eco-friendly energy-saving measures is also driving kitchen remodeling in Europe. With more government policies favoring improved energy efficiency and reduced energy costs, the demand for technologically advanced kitchen appliances that help people meet energy-saving goals is increasing. Connected to wireless networks, wi-fi, Bluetooth and other systems, new appliances that run on built-in eco-friendly intelligence are gaining ground.
Research shows that smart kitchens are increasingly popular. Italians (67 percent) and Spaniards (66 percent) are the most likely to invest in a home with a smart kitchen. “Nearly half of Europeans (42 percent) would be willing to pay up to 50,000 euros more for a ‘smart’ kitchen,” according to a 2018 report published in Business Review.
(Interestingly, one result of updating our kitchens with technologically empowered appliances is that they are now shaping the way we shop, eat, and budget time and money.)
The kitchen is still considered to be the heart of the home in European countries. We associate kitchens with warmth and nourishment, whether it’s preparing a meal with love or chatting over cups of coffee at the kitchen table.
Today, kitchens function as multi-purpose rooms for all kinds of activities. Instead of the traditional closed-door kitchens common in some parts of Europe, open rooms that allow a comfortable flow, from cooking, to eating and entertaining, to working online, are popular.
Other trends in kitchen remodeling in Europe include:
- Supersized appliances and big-capacity ovens.
- A move toward induction hobs and away from gas – induction cooking now has the same adjustability as gas and added safety, plus a sleek look.
- The custom larder – instead of storing food in different areas of the kitchen, it’s all contained in one working unit that can be closed like a piece of furniture.
It’s difficult to say how many Europeans are truly ready to remodel their kitchens. In one consumer survey carried out across five countries (Greece, Ireland, Norway and Slovenia), up to 74% of the 3,000 respondents said they could not afford more efficient appliances. Another study shows that the annual rate of home and commercial building renovation is less than the 3% required to meet European climate and energy goals.
If you’re planning to remodel your kitchen, think induction.