The National Kitchen and Bath Association: What’s Hot in Kitchen & Bath Design

Minimalist bathroomThe National Kitchen and Bath Association has been tracking kitchen and bath design trends for all of its 53 years and, this year, more than 450 members from across the country stepped up to participate in the organization’s study of what design trends will lead the way in the kitchen and bath market in 2016. Key trends of clean lines, less ornamentation and personalized luxury stood out across the board in the resultant NKBA 2016 Kitchen & Bath Design Trends Survey, as homeowners look less to create “trophy spaces” and more to create workable, customized environments that suit their lifestyles.
New this year to enhance NKBA’s trend tracking efforts are the 2016 NKBA K+B Insiders. The inaugural team of design professionals hails from varying states across the country and will share their insights and expertise with industry professionals and consumers throughout the year at various industry tradeshows and events and via the NKBA Connect Blog where they will discuss industry trends and best business practices.

Alberto Villalobos and Mercedes Desio, Villalobos Desio, New York
Alberto Villalobos and Mercedes Desio, Villalobos Desio, New York

LESS IS MORE | Decluttering has been a topic of note recently, with books on the subject reaching celebrity status. The idea of a pared down environment is evident in kitchen and bath design trends as well with a push to less ornamentation and more organization. “The notion of an edited aesthetic will have a huge influence on kitchen and bath design in 2016,” say designers and NKBA K+B Insiders Mercedes Desio and Alberto Villalobos of the New York-based design firm Villalobos Desio. “The report shows that transitional design will rule 2016 — nothing is completely traditional and nothing is completely contemporary. We anticipate seeing more clean lines in design, as well.”

COLOR CONNECTION | While grays, whites, off-whites and beiges remain top choices, the Design Trends Survey did find consumers embracing new ways to incorporate bold colors.
New York designer and NKBA K+B Insider Young Huh says the personalization of color in the kitchen is a growing request from her clients. Since bold colors in permanent installations are certainly a commitment, Young suggests her clients incorporate an accent or add color through a smaller means. “Whether it’s the backsplash, a colorful sink or detail in the stove, it’s a great way to tie into the color story and personalize the space,” Huh says.

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Brian Patrick Flynn, Flynnside Out, Productions, Atlanta

SMART STORAGE | Functionality proved just as important as aesthetics in this year’s Design Trends Survey with designers getting creative in ways to save space. One trend on the rise is the use of pocket doors with 70 percent of NKBA members specifying them in 2015. NKBA K+B Insider and Master Builder Karl Champley, who recently won Ellen Degeneres’ Design Challenge on HGTV, says it’s important to maximize space from floor to ceiling. Karl’s favorite trick is a pocket door. “Swing doors eat up a lot of real estate,” Champley says, “so pocket doors are becoming really popular, along with barn-style type doors, as they help to maximize space from room to room.”

UNIVERSAL DESIGN | As ideas for Universal Design and agingin- place become more widely accepted, so do the products designed to accompany the concepts improve in both functionality and visual appeal. Vero Beach, Florida-based designer and NKBA K+B Insider, Patricia Davis Brown says when designing for multi-generational families, designers should speak with clients about accommodating everyone in the family, both in terms of comfort and safety. “Universal Design has come a long way from institutional grab bars,” she says. “Manufacturers recognize the demand for smart, aesthetically pleasing Universal Design choices that make the space feel like home.”

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Patricia Davis Brown, CKBD, ASID, NCIDQ, Patricia Davis Brown Designs, LLC, Vero Beach, Florida

HIGH-TECH HOMES | With today’s increasing volume of work-from-home options and all the gadgets that are now naturally a part of everyday life, the Design Trends Report noted technological advancements continue to have a huge influence on kitchen design. Docking and charging stations, flat screen TVs and small home office zones are all growing in demand. Huh notes that all her kitchen projects in the past year have incorporated TVs into the kitchen, enabling homeowners to enjoy their favorite shows or the evening news as they prepare family meals. “The hub of the home is the kitchen and homeowners want to be completely connected,” Huh says. That includes incorporating smart appliances that make meal preparation and entertaining easier.

STEALTH SPLURGES | Homeowners also are increasingly keen to indulge on experiences they can enjoy in the privacy of their bathrooms, a practice referred to as “stealth wealth.” Products like freestanding tubs and spa-like showers that add an element of relaxation and luxury to their everyday routines are topping the musthaves for bathroom designs. Paloma Contreras, NKBA K+B Insider, interior decorator and the design blogger behind La Dolce Vita, expects to see even more “stealth wealth” in her projects this year. “Some clients will ask to integrate TVs into the bathroom’s design, as well as coffee bars and radiant heat flooring,” the designer says. “They also want easy-to-maintain surfaces. The greatest luxury in the world is time and it adds greatly to a homeowner’s quality of life if their own bathroom provides a spa experience.”

Beautiful Kitchen in Luxury Home with Island and Stainless Steel

1 Transitional style, with clean lines, and less ornamentation.
2 Two or more cabinet colors/finishes in the same kitchen, often in a light/ dark combo.
3 Pull-outs, tilt-outs, and tilt-ins for easy storage, trash and recycling.
4 The look of wood flooring dominates, be it actual wood or wood-look ceramic tile.
5 Different countertops for islands and the perimeter, varying in both color and material.
6 Outdoor kitchens, most popular in the Southeast.
7 Built-in coffee stations and wet bars, as well as built-in wine refrigerators.
8 Pocket doors.
9 Pet spaces, including built-in feeding stations, food storage and crates.
10 Docking and charging stations.

1 Greater acceptance of aging-in-place amenities: no threshold showers, grab bars, higher vanity heights, chair-height toilets.
2 Transitional is pulling away from contemporary. Transitional is the most popular style.
3 Neutral colors rule in the bath. White is the most popular fixture color, and whites and grays are the most popular overall color schemes.
4 More open shelving and floating vanities.
5 More built-in storage functionality: more roll-out shelves in bath cabinetry, more “hidden” electrical outlets for blow dryers, etc.
6 Undermount sinks are far and away the most popular sink style. Emerging: 15 percent did a trough sink, which may increase slightly.
7 When tubs are installed in master bathrooms, they are most likely to be freestanding.
8 Increasing use of shower amenities such as lights, built-in seats and benches, and hand shower in addition to the mounted showerhead.
9 Polished chrome is the most popular faucet finish.
10 Other amenities specified by at least 25% of NKBA members in 2015:
a) Easy maintenance features
b) Electric radiant floor heating
c) Master bathrooms with coffee
bars, microwaves and wet bars
d) TV in mirror
e) Quiet or soft-close toilet seat
f ) Steam showers

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