Kitchen and Baths: Trends that are sizzling and those that are fizzling

Trends in Color

In terms of color, dark-stained wood has given way to solid colors. White, in particular, is very popular as well as gray. White and gray work well together in various combinations to create interest. Also, cool colors are making their way into the kitchen palette; light blue is very popular as an accent. Stained woods like oak or maple, on the other hand, are on the back burner.

Natural lighting is also a key factor in kitchen design. With the ‘L’ kitchen plan, the sink window is removed. At first glance, this may seem to diminish natural lighting; however, the space is usually adjacent to a dining or family area with large areas of glazing. This provides much more natural light than the traditional ‘U’ layout.

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Appliances are trending towards simplification. User-friendly appliances are being offered in a variety of colors including (you guessed it) gray and white. Believe it or not, white appliances are making a comeback. They are doing so with better finishes and more finesse than our mother’s white fridge. Also, the stainless trend is slowing down but being replaced by slate-colored appliances. Other fun appliance items include French-door ovens, which look great and save space, and high-tech touch activated devices.

The one constant regarding kitchens is that they are always changing. Consumer living has become more and more casual, and plans continue to become more informal. The overriding trends for kitchens are user friendly, open, and simple.

What’s Bubbling Up in Baths

Current bathroom trends can be summarized in a tale of two buyers—tub or no tub. For the longest time the tub group reigned supreme. The owner’s bath had to have a soaking jetted tub, surrounded by a sea of tile decking, in order to speak luxury. The lowly shower was often overlooked and pushed into a corner, more utilitarian than luxurious. Then the tub group evolved. They grew weary of the grand space required for the tub and tile deck. Instead they choose to allocate more space to the shower. The tub would now be sleek and freestanding and share the stage with the shower.

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The no-tub group is radical and decided the tub was not necessary. They no longer wanted to clean (or pay for) a tub that they never used. Despite heavy resistance from Realtors (“It will never sell in this market”), the no-tub group carried on and eliminated the tub altogether. The shower now takes center stage and becomes much larger, with multiple heads, sprays, and steam. The shower may even be door-less, eliminating the need to clean the glass.

A winning design needs to start with a long, hard look at the kitchen and the owner’s bath. For the kitchen, consider the ‘L’ shaped concept as a possible solution. When designing baths, pick a side, then make the bath simple, clean, and powerful. By keeping these principles firmly in mind, you will be well on your way to a great design. Cutting-edge design is not only about staying on top of the current trends, it is also about having the foresight (and the courage) to break free from the pack to create trends all your own.

Original article, written by Todd Hallett, was published in the Fall 2016 issue of Best in American Living.

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