Design Trends!

NKBA Releases Design Trends Survey Results

Found this super interesting article from K+BB and had to share it…

What’s popular in kitchen and bath design? Survey says…

February 18, 2011

If you believe what they say about the past—and this may also apply to the immediate past—being a good predictor of future behavior, then you may want to pay close attention to the results of the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s (NKBA’s) annual survey of kitchen and bath design trends. Participating in the survey were more than 100 designers who are association members and have designed kitchens and/or bathrooms during the last three months of 2010. Although the survey findings may not reflect activity in all parts of the country, several commonalities did emerge, indicating that changes in kitchen and bath styles are afoot in this new year.


1. Shake it up. Although the popularity of the Shaker style began in 2009, it truly gained momentum in 2010. By the end of the year, it overtook contemporary as the second most popular style used by NKBA member designers, which, given its versatility, may not come as a huge surprise. Here’s the breakdown:

• Traditional is still king (76%) among surveyed designers, but its popularity has fallen slightly from last year.
• 55% of survey respondents specified Shaker-style cabinetry.
• 48% went contemporary.
• 21% used cottage-style cabinets.

Shaker door styles, such as this design from O’Neil Cabinets, are going strong. The company provides custom-grade product lines in a variety of styles and finishes. For more details Photo courtesy of O’Neil Cabinets

2. Maple is sweet. As 2010 began, cherry was the wood species of choice in kitchen cabinetry for NKBA member designers, with 78% of survey participants specifying it in their work (compared to 64% who selected maple, the second most popular wood). This year, however, those numbers are nearly reversed:

• Cherry has fallen to 71%, while maple has risen to 76%.
• Alder was used by 28% of designers surveyed over the last three months of 2010, representing a sharp decline from the previous year (39%).

3. Dark finishes. Dark natural finishes overtook medium natural, glazed and white painted finishes to become the most specified type of finish toward the end of 2010:

• The percentage of designers specifying dark natural finishes rose from 42% to 51%
• Usage of medium natural finishes fell from 53% to 48%.
• Usage of glazed finishes fell from 53% to 42%.
• Fewer designers specified white painted finishes: 47%, compared to 49% last year.
• Light natural and colored painted finishes remained fairly common, rising only slightly from the previous year: 24% to 25% for the former and 24% to 29% for the latter.
• Distressed finishes dropped significantly from a year ago, falling from 16% to just 5%.

4. A place for wine and everything else. Homeowners still like to keep wine, but they may be less fussy about storing it at fine-tuned optimal temperatures. According to the survey, the inclusion of wine refrigerators seems to be on the decline, while unchilled wine storage is growing in popularity. With kitchen organization a concern for most, other types of cabinetry options remain more common, but even most of these appear to be experiencing a drop in favor. Here are the stats:

• 51% of surveyed designers incorporated wine storage areas into their kitchens, up from 39%.
• Tall pantries declined in use from 89% to 84%.
• Lazy Susans fell from 90% to 78%.
• Fewer designers used pullout racks: 71%, compared to 81% last year.
• Appliance garage usage is also on the wane, falling from 36% at the end of 2009 to 29% a year later.

This elegant kitchen from Huntwood Cabinets features stacked wall cabinets, glass doors, rich raised panel doors, classic crown moldings, and a prominent island with built-in wine cubbies. Photo: Alan Bisson

5. Solid showing. That granite and quartz continued their reign as the number one and number two in countertop materials may not come as a surprise to anyone. Solid surfaces as a clear third, however, may raise a few eyebrows (or not). Both granite and quartz essentially held their dominance from a year earlier, with the percentage of designers incorporating these countertop materials into their kitchen designs changing very little from a year earlier:

• 89% of survey respondents used granite in their work, down from 90%.
• 70% used quartz, down from 72%.
• Laminate usage dropped from 21% to 17%.
• More surveyed designers specified solid surfaces: 25%, up from 14%.
• Butcher block usage increased, jumping from 7% to 12%.
• Marble also had a surge in popularity, increasing from 7% to 14%.

6. Goodbye, color. Uncertain times can often lead to conservative behavior, which may explain why homeowners seemed to shy from color as 2010 drew to a close. The use of every color, except beige and gray, was either flat or down across the board from a year earlier. Even neutral browns have been deemed too bold by many clients. Worth noting:

• Brown tones were used by 42% of designers as 2011 approached, down from 50%.
• Whites and off-whites dropped only slightly, from 62% to 59%.
• Grays increased from 10% to 16%.
• Beiges and bones rose from 46% to 55%.
• The only other colors to be used by at least 20% of designers were bronzes and terracottas, which remained flat at 24%.

Clean lines and open spaces define this Houston kitchen designed by Cheryl Carpenter featuring Poggenpohl Teak Décor Lava eco-friendly cabinetry, a textured dark grey laminate. Photo: Miro Dvorscak

7. Bonjour réfrigérateur. While most types of refrigerators lost some ground in the last quarter of 2010, French door refrigerator strengthened its position as the type specified most often by NKBA member designers. Here are the cold, hard numbers:

• French door refrigerators jumped from 67% to 78%.
• Freezer-top refrigerators were only specified by 8% of designers as 2010 drew to a close, down from 10% a year earlier.
• Freezer-bottom models fell very slightly from 60% to 59%.
• Side-by-side units actually rose slightly from 46% to 49%.
• Among smaller units, refrigerator or freezer drawers remained flat at 31%.
• Undercounter wine refrigerators fell sharply from 50% to 36%, an interesting change given the increasing use of unchilled wine storage.

Top: Liebherr’s 2060 series is available in freestanding, fully-integrated, and stainless integrated designs, providing consumers the opportunity to customize based on their preferences.

8. Inducting a new cooktop. Despite being ubiquitous in Europe, induction cooktops haven’t overtaken gas and electric models in this country—at least not yet. However, survey results indicate that they are slowly closing the gap:

• Of the designers surveyed, 70% used gas cooktops—a drop from 76% last year.
• 41% of survey participants used electric cooktops, up from 38%.
• 34% specified induction cooktops, up from 26%.
• Single wall ovens are down from 46% to 42%.
• Double wall ovens are up from 68% to 74%.
• In addition, warming drawers are down from 49% to 42%.
• Ranges are down sharply from 81% to 68%.

Thermador’s Masterpiece Series 36-in. Silver-Mirrored Induction Cooktop uses exclusive component technology that is as responsive as gas and as convenient as electric. Photo: Thermador

9. Lighting lightens up. Despite its warm and often people-flattering glow, incandescent lighting continues its journey to obsolescence.

• Only 35% of surveyed designers incorporated incandescent lamps into their work, down from 50% at the end of 2009.
• Instead, they are clearly opting for more energy-efficient lighting options: LED (light-emitting diode) lighting has increased from 47% to 54%.
• CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps), however, aren’t picking up any new proponents; their usage remained flat at 35%.
• Halogen lighting is down from 46% to 40% over the past year.

10. Trashy designs. A greater emphasis is being placed on trash considerations in the kitchen perhaps as a consequence of an increased awareness of and/or interest in living greener. Does living greener mean living cleaner? It could…

• 89% of kitchens designed by NKBA members in the final quarter of 2010 include trash or recycling pullouts.
• Garbage disposals were incorporated by 86% of designers, up from 75% in the previous year.
• Trash compactor usage has increased from 11% to 18%.


1. Quartz countertops. Just as quartz has come on strong in the kitchen, it continues to take away market share from granite as the material of choice for bathroom vanity tops.

• Nevertheless, 83% of NKBA bathroom designers did opt for granite tops in a recent design—a decrease from 85% in the previous year.
• Compare those numbers to the 54% who specified quartz vanity tops at the beginning of this year, which represents a decent increase from last year’s 48%.
• By contrast, solid surfaces haven’t gained much popularity in the bathroom—they’re at 25%, up from 23%.
• Solid marble has declined from 46% to 37%.
• Cultured marble and onyx have increased from 12% to 19%.
• No other material has even 10% of the market.

DuPont Zodiaq quartz surface in Bianco Carrara. Part of the OKITE collection, Bianco Cararra features a white stone with gray veining. Photo: Shadowlight Group

2. A worthy vessel. Homeowners were still renovating their bathrooms at the end of 2010, as survey results indicate that designers were specifying more lavatory sinks across the board. Of all the different types of sinks, undermounts continued to dominate newly remodeled bathrooms.

• 97% of surveyed NKBA bathroom designers specified undermounts in the fourth quarter of 2010, up from 95% a year earlier.
• Vessel sinks have become the clear second choice among designers: 51% of survey participants have specified them in the final quarter of 2010, up from 39% a year ago.
• Integrated sink tops were also up from 34% to 38%.
• Pedestal sinks were up from 21% to 29%
• Drop-in sinks were up from 23% to 27%.

3. Green bathrooms. In this instance, “green” doesn’t mean “eco-friendly” but the color green. A year ago, green color palettes were used by only 14% of NKBA designers, but at the end of 2010, that figure had risen to 24%. For some homeowners, perhaps green is more relaxing. For the rest of us, neutrals seem to do the trick, as whites (and off-whites), beiges and browns are the three most commonly used color tones in bathrooms.

• White and off-white palettes are up slightly from 57% to 60%.
• Beiges are down sharply from 66% to 57%.
• Browns have dropped from 48% to 38%.
• Other common color tones: blues at 22%, grays at 21%, and bronzes and terracottas at 17%.

Inspired by the delicate scallops of a seashell, Delta’s Addison Bath Collection in chrome finish brings a fresh, inviting look to the bath. Photo: Delta Faucet Company

4. Faucet finishes. According to survey respondents, satin nickel was a popular faucet finish in both bathrooms and kitchens. Does more need to be said? If so, here are the details:
• In the kitchen, the percentage of NKBA designers who specified a satin nickel faucet rose from 41% to 63%.
• In the bath, the percentage increased from 45% to 57%.
• Stainless steel is popular in the kitchen, specified recently by 44% of designers, but less so in the bath: 16%.
• Other popular faucet finishes in both the kitchen and bathroom are bronze and oil-rubbed bronze, polished chrome, and polished nickel.

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April, 2011

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