Once a year, kitchen and bathroom designers, builders, manufacturers and dreamers gather for KBIS, the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, to show off the latest and greatest in design. We did some style spotting and found the seven biggest kitchen and bath design trends to follow this year:
Square tile is so … well … square compared to all the shapely tile showing up on floors, backsplashes and walls. Alone, tiles in octagon, triangle, rhombus and 3-D quadrilateral shapes (like this shot) boast hard edges, but combined in tessellating patterns, they lend a certain softness to kitchen and bath surfaces. Watch for big, bold and colorful geometric tile in kitchens, and tinier, monochromatic tile in baths.
Bronze is big, and chrome will never wane, but matte black is a literal dark horse, showing up on statement-making apron sinks and countertops, and more sparingly on faucets and cabinet hardware. The shine-free finish is anything but dull: It has all of the foundational benefits of a neutral, but it’s also so unexpected, it’s akin to a pop of “color.”
The trendiest shower barely looks like a shower at all: You might think these huge, surround-free showers are just an empty corner of the bathroom. There’s no tub, no shower pan, no threshold to step over; just the bathroom floor (with a drain, of course!), and often, no walls (some have glass partitions). Not only is the accessible, wide-open shower a hallmark of Universal Design, but it’s also practical: Fewer surface joints and seams mean fewer nooks and crannies for bacteria to breed in.
Technology isn’t new to the kitchen or the bath (hello, microwaves and hair dryers!), but innovations that integrate with design (and Wi-Fi networks!) are. Designers are gravitating toward tech that actually makes life easier—like our faucets with Touch2O Technology that tap on with, say, your elbow when your hands are greasy; and our wireless, hub-free leak detector that pings your phone at the first sign of a water leak.
You’ve seen country-blue kitchens, loud backsplashes and wild wallpaper, but now, kitchen designers are limiting color to one or two pieces for a truly bold statement. Look for all-white or mostly white kitchens that feature a shamelessly bright fridge, a colorful mosaic wall or a crayon-colored island.
See ya later, knotty pine! The organic, rustic look (particularly in cabinetry) is out; homogeneous wood veneers are in. Modern-leaning veneers—essentially, uniform thin-shaved layers of wood applied to cabinetry and backsplashes—tend to emphasize the linear quality of wood grain; whereas hardwood cabinets show off natural wood grain, veneers create a clean, consistent grain pattern. Other veneers have a barely there, nearly imperceptible grain that looks akin to solid-surface materials.
Wood will never retire, but it can make room for gray. Super neutral and stylistically versatile, cabinets in shades of gray (dove to charcoal, and everything in between) call to mind minimalist-modern, but they’re equally at home in transitional and even traditional kitchens. They’re cool, understated and as effective on a vanity as they are in an entire kitchen.