Move over, chef’s kitchens. Functional outdoor space is the new ‘must-have’ for 2023 home buyers.

Zillow data find backyards are now being mentioned 22% more often in for-sale listings compared to last year, suggesting this once-overlooked area will be one of the most sought-after spaces in the coming year. The evolution of the backyard tops Zillow’s top five home trends to watch in 2023, based on Zillow’s data and analysis, according to a news release.

Backyards Move to the Forefront

The humble backyard, once overshadowed by chef’s kitchens and walk-in closets, is the new luxury for today’s home buyers. Backyards are now highlighted in 1 out of every 5 Zillow listing descriptions. Mentions of patios and pools also surged, up by more than 13% and 11%, respectively, in 2022.

“The rising popularity of outdoor features suggests the pandemic has changed the way we want to live for good, priming the backyard for a 2023 evolution,” said Amanda Pendleton, Zillow’s home trends expert. “When the pandemic forced all entertaining outdoors, homeowners reclaimed their backyards from the kids or the dogs. Now they’re rethinking how that space could serve as an extension of their home in new, creative ways.”

In 2023, look for outdoor home gyms, natural pools alive with plants, edible gardens, and outdoor rooms for dining, lounging, and quiet reflection.

Kitchen Islands 

Today’s ideal kitchen now includes a spacious island. This hub can seamlessly flex from breakfast bar to homework headquarters to dinner prep station, which is likely why there was a 19% increase in mentions of this multifunctional feature in listing descriptions on Zillow this year.

“As we redefine the spaces in our homes, kitchen islands are being designed to accommodate dining and entertaining activities in the kitchen rather than the formal dining room,” said Kerrie Kelly, creative director at Kerrie Kelly Design Studio in the news release. “In 2023, we will see a surge of larger and double kitchen islands using unique colors and materials.”

Instead of islands blending in with the kitchen, expect to see them stand out in contrasting paint colors or wood stains. Different countertop materials, combination wood, and stone worktops, and mixed metal fixtures and hardware will become more common. Look for homeowners to increasingly repurpose unique furniture pieces or vintage tables as islands.

Mirrored Walls Return 

A mirrored wall or ceiling might conjure up 1970s flashbacks, but this throwback feature is primed to make a 2023 comeback in a modern way. Mirrored surfaces reflect light and can make tight quarters feel more spacious. Today’s mirrored wall is often antiqued and applied in a grid, adding character and an on-trend Parisian feel. Mirrored walls or ceilings are now appearing 12% more often in listing descriptions on Zillow.

Privacy, First and Foremost

For nearly three decades, contractors have been taking down walls across America as homeowners and builders embraced open-concept living. However, the pandemic exposed the fatal flaw of the open floor plan once everyone was living, working, and schooling at home: the lack of privacy. A soundless space for video calls or a quiet sitting room for reading became more desirable than ever. More than a quarter of all Zillow listings now mention privacy or private spaces, a 7% increase over last year.

As home buyers and homeowners seek out privacy, calm, and quiet, expect the closed floor plan to make a return to style in 2023. Closed floor plans create cozy, comfortable, enclosed spaces within a home, allowing for bold color and design statements in each room. Homeowners who have open floor plans will look to compartmentalize their space through furniture layout and design to create private nooks and corners.

Renovation Generation

The youngest homeowners will lead a new wave of the pandemic-era renovation boom. A recent Zillow survey finds 48% of homeowners younger than 40 have tapped the equity in their home in the past two years, most commonly to pay for home improvement projects. However, 90% of those homeowners under 40 who took out a home equity line of credit or second mortgage, or opted for a cash-out refinance, have yet to spend all the money they borrowed, suggesting 2023 may be the year they complete all the renovation projects on their to-do list.

Look for this younger generation of renovators to focus on projects that make their homes more sustainable, low-maintenance, and high-tech. Investing in drought-resistant landscaping and smart-home systems are energy-efficient projects that can help save money, and the environment and boost a home’s value when it’s time to sell.

Source: Zillow