October 2018

Kitchen and Bathroom Trends to Watch

Author: Gregory Vaughan

What are the two most important rooms in your house? When this question is posed to homeowners, the number one answer is the kitchen and master bathroom.

While this may surprise some readers, think about it. When these rooms are well designed, they support greater efficiency and, more important, greater pleasure for their users. And, as an added bonus, they add value to your investment. Who doesn’t desire that?

Whether you are designing a new home or remodeling an older one, careful consideration should be given to the choices made for furnishings, features and the finishes you select. This is not always easy as some current trends that may draw your attention can be quite seductive.

The key is embracing trends that aren’t fleeting but those that will become timeless. This will help validate your time and expenditures while ensuring your efforts will satisfy you for many years to come. Here are a few recent trends for these rooms that have become modern standards—or are quickly on their way to becoming one.

KITCHENS
Open layouts
The isolated kitchen has become a thing of the past. Even if you still have or want a more “formal” dining area, open-concept plans are putting the kitchen front and center in the floor plan. This more casual and connected layout encourages a more interactive lifestyle. So, open up those walls and banish the closed-off kitchen. And remember, this doesn’t preclude you from still dressing up the table with a dazzling display when you want to serve more formal and fancy meals.

Central islands
As kitchens have increasingly become the center of the home for many of us, the kitchen island is becoming the hub of daily life. Large or small, a well-designed kitchen island will encourage everyone to gather around to prepare food, engage in conversation, and do homework. More often than not, these multi-tasking islands are all one level, which increases efficiency. Rarely can an island be too large, so keep this in mind when you are working on your plans. And, be sure the island has plenty of power outlets, is well-lit, maximizes storage and offers comfortable seating options.

Two-tone cabinets
Having all of the cabinetry finished in the same color may be a bit monotonous, especially for kitchens on the larger side. So, consider mixing it up a bit. Maybe an accent color or finish for the island is the trick. Or, if you want to be a bit bolder, use contrasting colors on the upper and lower cabinets. This trend can add character to an otherwise neutral space and is probably going to become a standby.

White done right
While color in cabinetry has become more popular in the past decade, white kitchens will never really go out of style. There is just something classic about this clean and bright selection. Furthermore, white in kitchens can easily embrace a more traditional feel, contemporary vibe or something in-between. “White” does not have to be clinical and sterile. Most important, shades of white are practically endless, ranging from warm to cool, stark to subtle.

Quartz countertops
Quartz countertops are more popular than ever, and for good reason. They are practical and can be stunning. Quartz countertops require less upkeep than their natural stone counterparts without sacrificing beauty. Plus, as an engineered material, quartz slabs are typically larger than natural quarried stone, which means fewer seams and easier installation.

Smart storage solutions
Along with these more open kitchens comes the need for more clever clutter control and storage options. Walk-in pantries provide room for more than just food staples. Many tricked-out pantries now include additional appliances and work surfaces, allowing them to function as prep kitchens. Appliance garages help keep frequently used items like coffee makers handy when needed but hidden when not in use.

BATHROOMS
The everyday spa
Once considered a utilitarian space, today’s bathrooms are more and more becoming pampering sanctuaries where we can escape the stress of today. This transformation may be the biggest change in the house of today compared to those of just 25 years ago. In other words, this trend has actually become the norm. When it comes to master bathroom design, spa-inspired styling is something to be done for enjoyment, not just for resale value.

Sleek showers
It used to be that “luxury” bathrooms were defined by a large, jetted tub, set into a platform or deck while the more-frequently used shower stall was basically an afterthought, placed off to the side. Not anymore. Today’s homeowners want generously-sized showers with multiple shower heads, built-in benches, and well-placed niches to organize health and beauty products. Mosaic inlay panels and entire walls of accent tile are replacing the once ubiquitous decorative border.

Freestanding tubs
People still want the option to take an occasional, relaxing soak, and freestanding tubs provide that ability. Many are more compact than their jetted-tub precursors, so they are more easily accommodated, freeing up room for that larger shower stall. And they look much sexier too, providing a functional sculptural element to the room.

Endless tile options
There are so many amazing options available today for these wet spaces. Porcelain tile printing technology has advanced so much that it is virtually impossible to visually differentiate them from natural stone. The larger formats and rectified edges mean fewer grout lines—a good thing. On the other hand, patterned tile, is making a comeback as well. Retro-inspired shapes like fish scales, diamonds, hexagons, and chevrons are showing back up on walls and floors, adding interest and panache to bathroom walls and kitchen backsplashes.

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