Contemporary challenges transitional for top kitchen style

At a press conference at the Kitchen & Bath Industry show (KBIS) last week in Las Vegas, the NKBA (National Kitchen & Bath Association) officially released its 2014 Design Trends Report. The report contains the latest design trends and predictions, as reported by hundreds of kitchen and bath designers from across North America.

Consumers will be cleaning up their kitchens in 2014, at least from a design standpoint, according to report. “While transitional styles are still number one, we see kitchen design trending more contemporary this year, with clean, simple lines; less clutter, and little ornamentation,” said John Petrie, CMKBD, of Mother Hubbard’s Custom Cabinetry in Mechanicsburg, Pa., and 2014 NKBA president.

The outlook is based the findings of the NKBA 2014 Kitchen and Bath Design Trends Survey, which also revealed these trends in kitchen design:

  • Contemporary will be the fastest growing kitchen style in 2014, with 62 per cent of respondents saying it’s on the upswing after ending 2013 in second place. Transitional maintained a very small lead as the number one look for kitchens. Shaker styling is a solid third due in part to its versatility, lending itself to traditional or contemporary.
  • More than half (56 per cent) of respondents included accessible and/or universal design and easy-maintenance features in their kitchens, and demand is expected to continue.
  • Two-thirds of NKBA kitchen designers incorporated docking and/or charging stations in their kitchens, as well as a desk or home office area.  Some 56 per cent included a flat-screen TV in their kitchen projects.  These trends show no signs of powering down.
  • Outdoor kitchens continue to be popular, with 43 per cent of respondents designing them in 2013 and 41 per cent expecting an increase in 2014.
  • 63 per cent of respondents specified energy-saving appliances in 2013, and 60 per cent expect to see more demand this year. Almost 40 per cent of designers specified water-saving kitchen faucets in 2013, and 47 per cent see the market expanding in 2014.
  • Furniture-type pieces were specified in kitchens by eight out of 10 respondents in 2013 and 56 per cent expect to do more in 2014.
  • Some 70 per cent of respondents see quartz countertops increasing in 2014.  Almost a quarter of respondents specified countertops with recycled materials and 40 per cent expect to do more in 2014.
  • Wood, the most specified flooring in 2013, will grow even more in 2014.
  • Glass, now number three for backsplashes, is predicted to grow in popularity in 2014.
  • Satin nickel, now the most popular faucet finish, is expected to continue to flourish in 2014, as will polished chrome.
  • Stainless steel is the most popular sink material with porcelain enamel a distant second. Granite composite, now number three, is expected to grow in 2014.

Kitchen Features in Demand:

  • Induction cooktops 
  • Steam ovens
  • French-door refrigerators
  • Bottom freezer refrigerators
  • Touch-activated faucets
  • Electronic (no touch) faucets
  • LED lighting

The 420 kitchen and bathroom professionals who participated in this year’s research represent a significant segment of the market for professionally designed and installed bathrooms in the United States and Canada. Respondents reported kitchen project prices ranged from less than $20,000 to more than $100,000.

Respondents reported the products, colors and features they used most often in their 2013 kitchens, then predicted which ones will flourish or fade in 2014.

In the fading column, NKBA members are doing fewer kitchens with highly ornamented Tuscan and Provincial looks. Distressed and/or glazed finishes are also less popular, as is country/rustic styles. They expect to use fewer electric cooktops and porcelain enamel sinks in 2014.

Dozens of NKBA members reported that they created kitchens with features to accommodate cats and dogs, from day beds to feeding stations, litter box cabinets to doggy faucets.

But some found four-legged clients can be hard to please.  “One of our NKBA kitchen designer members designed a special place for ‘Major the dog.’  But, apparently, ‘Major did not like it,’” said Maria Stapperfenne, CKD, CBD, of Tewksbury Kitchen & Bath in Whitehouse Station, N.J., and 2014 NKBA president-elect.

More Spa-Like and Accessible Bathrooms

North America’s bathroom styles are also shifting. According to the report, we like our bathrooms contemporary, spa-like, accessible, and easy to maintain. “Spa bathrooms and Zen-like retreats are definitely desired aspects of today’s bathrooms, driving a more contemporary aesthetic,” said Petrie.

The ascendency of contemporary style is a major shift. As recently as a few years ago, traditional styling represented three-quarters of the bathrooms designed by NKBA members. Traditional bathrooms are now trailing contemporary (68 per cent), while still representing 62 per cent of the bathroom projects completed by NKBA bathroom designers in 2013.

Other key findings about bathroom design trends:

  • Beige and bone color schemes, with white fixtures and polished chrome faucets were popular designs in 2013.  Gray, the third most popular color scheme in 2013, will be by far the fastest growing in 2014, according to 58 per cent of designer respondents.
  • Fifty-seven per cent of NKBA respondents specified bathrooms they described as universal design/accessible in 2013.  And 60 per cent anticipate doing more in 2014.
  • Fully 64 per cent of NKBA designers specified a soaking tub in a master bath, with 42 per cent expecting that trend to accelerate in 2014.  Preferences lean towards free-standing non-jetted tubs.
  • About a third of designers included lighting in showers; and 70 per cent included benches or seats. Both are expected to increase in 2014.
  • Electric radiant floor heating was specified by 55 per cent of respondents and half see it increasing in 2014.
  • Steam showers gained steam, with twice as many respondents specifying steam showers as whirlpools for master baths in 2013.  Forty-four per cent of respondents see the demand for steam showers increasing in 2014.
  • Approximately half of NKBA respondents specified no-threshold showers, and seven out of 10 expect to do more in 2014.
  • Eighty-four per cent specified comfort height toilets and 81 per cent, comfort height vanities in 2013.  Almost two-thirds see them increasing in 2014.

Bathroom Features in Demand:

  • Ceramic or porcelain tile for flooring
  • Quartz for vanity tops
  • Linen storage cabinets
  • Undermount sinks
  • Wall-hung floating vanities, console tables and open shelving