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Designers Name Top Kitchen & Bath Trends

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Designers Name Top Kitchen & Bath Trends

Contemporary aesthetics, quartz countertops, and vinyl flooring are becoming more popular in kitchen and bath design

By Mike Chamernik, Associate Editor February 28, 2017
Kitchen and bath trends
This article first appeared in the March 2017 issue of Pro Builder.

Homeowners and buyers are willing to buck tradition when it comes to their kitchens and bathrooms, and contemporary aesthetics have become more popular than traditional styling in both rooms, according to the 2017 Kitchen & Bath Design Trends Report from the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). 

Based on a survey of 562 respondents in the U.S. and Canada, primarily consisting of kitchen and bath designers and dealers, interior designers, and remodelers, the report identified the top 10 trends in the industry this year.

Three 2017 NKBA K+B Insiders—interior designers Jennifer Bertrand and Alberto Villalobos, and master builder Karl Champley—were at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Orlando in January to discuss the survey’s results.

While traditional features are still preferred elsewhere in the house, Villalobos said that emerging new smart technology and appliances give “permission” to experiment with kitchens and bathrooms. Respondents said that their clients prefer a contemporary look of clean lines, built-ins, and simple door styles.


Bold contemporary kitchens are gaining favor. Designer: Nar Bustamante. Photo: Fred Donham.


Whites and grays each remain top color choices for kitchens and baths, with blue hues gaining ground in applications such as painted cabinets. The K+B Insiders said that softer, cool colors are most popular. “Now we’re seeing the blues, but greens are making their way,” Bertrand said. “Next year we’ll start to see some of that. Greens play off of nature.”

Two-tone kitchens are rising in popularity, and designers aren’t afraid to mix wood and metal surfaces or forgo molding and trim. Metal cabinetry is gaining ground, particularly among young male designers, and furniture-look pieces, rollouts, pullouts, and under-cabinet LED lighting are also on-trend cabinet features.

Barn doors and pocket doors are getting some buzz. NKBA pros said that they are including wiring and pathways for future tech integration within their kitchens, such as hidden power strips, docking stations, and internet-connected electronics. Induction cooktops, microwave drawers, and steam ovens are among the more popular appliances. 

Quartz is the hottest kitchen countertop material and is overtaking downward-trending granite. Champley said he once used a ½-inch-thick white quartz countertop in a project and “[couldn’t] believe the fact that it didn’t stain. It’s just a maintenance-free and wonderful product.”


Designers say their clients like wood vanities and linen storage cabinets. Designer: Leslie Lamarre, CKD, CID. Photo: Bernard Andre.


For bathrooms, linen storage cabinets and wood vanities are popular storage solutions, and floating vanities and open shelving are emerging. Undermount bathroom sinks and trough sinks are up, while vessel sinks and pedestal sinks are down. 

Survey respondents showed new appreciation for high-quality vinyl flooring, which is as warm as it is practical. “It’s really a nod to technology,” Bertrand said. “It isn’t the vinyl that used to be in your grandmother’s home. It’s really come a long way.”

While bone- and bisque-colored fixtures are trending down, white fixtures are up, as are brushed brass and gold finishes and designer faucet colors. Respondents said that more clients are demanding universal-design features (comfort height toilets and no-threshold showers with seats) as well as water-saving toilets and faucets; radiant floor heating; and video, audio, and wiring pathways for future integration.

While many respondents said that clients were demanding freestanding sculptural tubs, more than half of the NKBA members surveyed said that they had removed a tub or whirlpool in a bathroom remodel during the past year. K+B Insiders said that clients were opting to eliminate the tub to save space for a bigger shower with flush flooring throughout the room and to make the bathroom look more spacious.


Like with kitchens, contemporary bathrooms are popular. Designer: Leslie Lamarre, CKD, CID. Photo: Bernard Andre.


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