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Amid the pandemic, designers predicted homeowners would be installing walls to create coveted private spaces but breaking down walls to expand spaces to add function or conceal clutter is trending once again.
For kitchens, that means adding larger or double islands complete with charging stations for food preparation, dining and work, the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) shares in its annual Design Trends research report.
Also in the blueprints: adding walk-in, built-in or butler’s pantries for food and small appliance storage and a coffee station – a trend that emerged last year. In bathrooms, homeowners are breaking down walls to add a walk-in closet, dressing area and/or sitting room.
“Kitchens and baths are bigger and more involved,” says Tricia Zach, head of research with the NKBA, the world’s leading non-profit trade association for the kitchen and bath industry and owner of the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. “The study revealed that consumers want spaces to be multifunctional to meet their at-home work, education and entertaining needs.”
The report offers a sneak peek into the styles, colours, product features, materials and technology that will dominate kitchen and bath design over the next two to three years. Let’s break down more key trends:
Vibrant design. This trend combines design styles for fresh takes on old favourites. Designers are combining a natural/organic feel with modern or contemporary design elements for organic modern designs. The popular farmhouse style, meanwhile, is evolving into a modern farmhouse. Grey and white continue to be pushed to the sidelines in favour of earthy, muted colours that are being combined with light wood tones to create nature-inspired designs.
New modern designs reflect growing interest in simple, minimalist and clean looks. Though whites will be a popular neutral, homeowners are embracing richer colours like coastal blues, greens and organic neutrals in both kitchen and bath and kicking things up a notch with bold and colourful artwork, wallpaper, backsplashes and fabrics. Hints of metallic add glamour or a rustic feel.
Sustainability matters. Sustainability continues to trend, with homeowners paying attention to both sustainable products and solutions as well as manufacturers’ sustainability practices. Think 100 per cent LED lighting, energy-efficient appliances, paint that’s free of volatile organic compounds (VOC), increased natural light via low-emissivity windows and water-efficient faucets.
Wellness. This is especially important in the primary bathroom – a.k.a. the sanctuary. Earthy, muted colours and light wood tones that create a natural, calming ambiance come together to create a retreat for the mind and body.
Features like large two-person showers complete with custom seats, multiple showerheads, zero clearance/no threshold entries and steam/thermostatic showers are on trend and as an added benefit, allow homeowners to age in place. Large windows above tubs and skylights create meaningful connections to the outdoors while taking advantage of natural light.
Technology that simplifies life. Homeowners are adopting technology at a faster pace, specifically when it plays a functional role, like creating a personalized environment using app/voice controls for lighting, water and floor temperatures, as well as humidity monitoring.
Smart appliances are making their way into both the kitchen and bathroom. Key kitchen technology in the coming years will include steam cooking and air frying ovens, while key bathroom technology will include smart controls for heated flooring, showers, lighting, mirrors and water conservation.
Top kitchen trends
According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, the following will trend over the next few years:
- • Quartz and quartzite countertops, thanks to ease of care and demand for sanitary surfaces
- • Light-coloured countertops, often with an island countertop in a different colour
- • Slab and long subway backsplashes with fewer grout lines to maintain
- • Painted and full wood grain cabinets door facings with a different colour on the island
- • Single-bowl kitchen sinks in stainless steel or composite
- • Hardwood, engineered wood, luxury vinyl plank/tile and ceramic tile floors
- • Stainless, black and nickel kitchen faucets in brushed or matte finishes
- • Dishwasher drawers and secondary dishwashers
- • Column and drawer refrigerators with flush, fully-integrated or built-in installations
- • Multiple cooking ovens, often with stainless steel finishes
- • Task and accent lighting with recessed lights and pendants in lieu of chandeliers
- • Venting hoods in wood or stainless steel
- • Attached mudrooms to control incoming clutter
- • Large windows with fewer panes and glass doors to connect the kitchen to the outdoors
Top bathroom trends
The National Kitchen & Bath Association predicts the following will trend over the next few years:
- • Large-format tile and slabs that require fewer grout lines and maintenance
- • Showers with clear shower glass and prominent linear and square shower drains
- • Freestanding and soaking tubs
- • Smart and low-flow toilets and bidet seats
- • Task lighting in mirrors, vanities, and showers for makeup/shaving, as well as accent lighting with sconces and recessed lights for ambiance