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Square One: Good Home Design Starts Here

Square One: Good Home Design Starts Here

Kitchen & bath trends: Are our readers leaders?

comments (0) February 17th, 2012 in Blogs
DebSilber DebSilber, design editor

Transitional beats traditional.
Backsplashes get some sparkle.
LEDs supplant CFLs.
Medicine chests make a comeback.
Has cherry lost its charm?
Transitional beats traditional.Click To Enlarge

Transitional beats traditional.

Photo: Courtesy KraftMaid

It just so happened that this week, at the same time that the National Kitchen and Bath Association released its Design Trends Survey for 2012, editors at Fine Homebuilding were sitting down to take an initial look at the many submissions we'd received for our upcoming 2012 Kitchen & Bath issue. So it was interesting to compare what NKBA designers were specifying in their projects to the kitchens and baths that our readers-including designers, architects, builders and homeowners-were most proud of.

Here's a few of the trends that more than 350 NKBA members say they've been incorporating into their kitchens and baths, and what we're seeing in our submissions:

More glass as a backsplash material. While it hasn't caught up with ceramic tile or granite, 52 percent of designers said they specified it in the final three months of 2011. I didn't see any glass backsplashes among our submissions (yet), but lots of glass or pearlescent tile-often integrated with matte varieties. Some were stunning.

LEDs edge out CFLs. NKBA reports that designers using CFLs fell to 26 percent from 36 percent. LEDs showed up strong in last year's survey as well, and it's no wonder-difficulties with poor color rendering and dimming has no place in a kitchen. But the most interesting light story I gleaned from our submissions was where our readers were installing lights in the kitchen. We're not just talking under counter here, but under counter as in under toe kick, casting a glow on the floor.

Cherry struggles to stay on top. Though NKBA reports that cherry cabinetry is still specified by 69 percent of its designers, the popular wood is losing share to lesser-used species, including walnut, oak and bamboo. We're seeing a lot of wood, much of it light to medium, with some interesting grain. Happily, we're seeing some nice reclaimed woods and cabinetry as well.

Medicine cabinets are back. We have a "free" pile here at FHB that, for some weeks now, has had a classic mirrored medicine cabinet waiting for someone to take it home. If NKBA is right about their renewed popularity-specked by 66 percent of respondents this year compared to 36 percent last year-somebody had better act fast. Still, our readers seem to be holding to the prevailing use of flat mirrors above their lavs-at least for now.

We're transitioning away from traditional. For the first time since NKBA began its trend-tracking, "traditional" style has slipped from its position as the most popular design style for both kitchens and baths. Typically representing 75 percent of the market, in this year's survey, traditional styling was specified in kitchens by 58 percent of designers and in baths by 59. Instead, "transitional" is the most common style (though by a hair), with contemporary rating third, followed by Shaker, Arts and Crafts, and Cottage. Transitional has always been a driving style among our readers, with Arts and Crafts and contemporary very strong as well. If you consider that, I suppose we can claim to be just a little bit ahead of the curve.

Click here for a complete listing of NKBA's Top Trends.


posted in: Blogs, architecture, kitchen, Design, bathroom, countertops
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