The kitchen is the heart of most Georgia homes. These days, that heart is moving outside, according to the Athens Area Home Builders Association, a professional trade group that tracks new construction and remodeling trends in nine counties in Northeast Georgia.
AAHBA members report an outdoor kitchen is among the most sought-after amenities in luxury homes now being built in Northeast Georgia. That tracks with much of the rest of the nation, according to a recent study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
Using local and national intel, Walton Gas has compiled a list of five of the hottest trends In Georgia homes. If you’re building a home or remodeling one, be sure to consider these amenities that can add value.
1 Patio Power
Georgians love having a covered back patio, porch or deck where they can enjoy the outdoors without getting too much sun. In the NAHB study, construction and home building experts noted that covered outdoor areas are the most important exterior project of 2023.
“We’re porch sitters in this part of the world,” noted Sara Beddington, Walton Gas marketing specialist. “We like to sit out of the sun while we drink our morning coffee or watch our pets play in the yard.”
Georgians often choose to accessorize their covered porch with a television. “It’s a great place for friends to get together and watch Bulldog football games,” added Beddington.
2 Outdoor entertaining
After the pandemic forced people outside for social gatherings, the demand for upgraded open-air living spaces exploded. Homeowners want:
- Outdoor kitchens, where guests can congregate near other outdoor features such as patios, fire pits and pools. Georgia builders are being asked to equip outdoor kitchens with everything from brick pizza ovens to barbecue pits to full-on kitchens, including countertops, a bar, cabinets, a sink, standard kitchen appliances and sometimes even a flat-screen TV. Read more: Cooking Alfresco: Outdoor Kitchens are a Hot Trend for North Georgia Homes
- Backyard barbecue equipment. Georgians are gonzo for grilling, so it’s no surprise that homebuyers are asking for amenities such as natural gas line extensions and built-in convenience gas outlets to heat up barbecue grills. Read more: Plug Into Natural Gas
- Outdoor fireplaces maximize the potential of exterior living space. Manufacturers offer a range of styles and sizes of natural gas fireplaces to suit a home’s landscaping.
3 Energy efficiency features
Home features with energy efficiency are increasingly important to today’s buyers who are looking to control monthly electricity and natural gas bills. They’re also taking advantage of energy efficiency tax incentives. According to the NAHB study:
- 83% want ENERGY STAR windows.
- 81% want ENERGY STAR appliances.
- 80% want energy-efficient lighting.
4 Storage for stuff
No matter the square footage of the home, everyone seems to want more places to store things. Some of the most popular storage features Georgia buyers want are:
- Kitchen cabinetry. Georgia homebuyers are prioritizing more and wider built-in cabinets to provide additional storage space for cookware, dishes and food.
- Walk-in pantry. A walk-in pantry, with open shelving, cabinets and LED lighting, is a must-have, according to 81% of NAHB survey respondents.
- Pull-out waste and recycling storage. According to the 2023 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, 61% of homeowners say they want this amenity in the kitchen.
- Closet space. As interest in organized spaces rises, buyers want more than a few shelves and hanging bars in their closet. Multipurpose features such as a makeup station and laundry-folding space are extra features buyers like.
- Garage storage. The America at Home Study conducted recently found that 78% of homeowners desire additional storage in their garage. They want plenty of wall shelving, cabinets and hooks.
5 Lighting up
Home builders are increasingly specifying natural gas outdoor lights to add charm and value to the exterior of homes. Beyond aesthetics, low-maintenance gas lights also add a layer of protection when the sun goes down. Read more: Give Your Home Exterior the ‘Gas Light Glow’