Surveying more than 350 National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) member designers, the 2012 NKBA Design Trends Survey cites the materials, product types and styles that have been incorporated into kitchen and bath designs in the final three months of 2011.
In kitchens, cherry wood is in decline. Cherry has consistently been the first or second most popular type of wood for cabinetry, along with maple, each year. However, designers are slowly shifting away from it. While 80 percent of NKBA member kitchen designers had recently specified cherry cabinetry as 2010 approached, that figure fell to 69 percent heading into 2012.
A number of lesser-used woods are being specified more often, including oak, which is specified by twice as many designers now (22 percent) versus two years ago. Walnut has increased from 3 percent in 2010 to 13 percent today, while birch is now specified by three times as many kitchen designers as it was a year ago (15 percent vs. 5 percent). Another popular choice is bamboo, which has doubled to 10 percent now.
Natural kitchen cabinetry continues a steady move toward darker finishes. While light natural finishes have been recently specified by 30 percent of kitchen designers, medium natural finishes stand at 55 percent, with dark natural finishes at 58 percent. Among painted cabinetry, white continues to be the most popular option. Another trend to note is that distressed finishes are making a comeback. After being specified by just 5 percent of designers last year, that figure has now risen to 22 percent.
Although glass remains a niche material for kitchen countertops, it’s been recently used by more than half of kitchen designers as a backsplash material, rising from 41 percent a year ago to 52 percent now. This trails only natural stone tile at 60 percent and ceramic tile (including porcelain), which has been specified of late by some 74 percent of designers
Energy efficiency is a real trend that can be seen taking hold in homes across the United States and Canada. Despite the higher initial cost, LED lighting illustrates this trend. Specified by 50 percent of NKBA member kitchen designers entering 2010, that rate has jumped in the past year to 70 percent.
Pullout kitchen faucets have been established as the dominant type of kitchen faucet. Designers are increasingly eschewing the standard faucet with a detached side spray in favor of pullout models that integrate the two functions into a single unit. Fourteen of out every 15 designers who designed a kitchen over the final three months of 2011 incorporated a pullout faucet. These versatile models might also be mitigating the need for pot-filler faucets, which have been recently specified by just 28 percent of designers, down from 41 percent two years ago.
For the first time since the NKBA began tracking annual design trends, traditional is no longer the most popular type of design. Transitional is now the most common style. The transitional style is identified as a blend of traditional and contemporary, typified by lines that are simpler than traditional, but a bit more elaborate than contemporary.
In the NKBA’s 2011 Design Trends Survey, the use of solid surfaces in the kitchen jumped from 11 to 26 percent from the year earlier. This year, that number has increased again, as solid surfaces have been specified by 30 percent of designers for use in kitchens.
Gray was used as the overall color scheme by only 9 percent of designers as we moved into 2010, but that figure has risen to 33 percent this year. Whites and off-whites continue to be the most popular color schemes in the kitchens, followed by beiges and bones. Brown is the third most popular color in kitchens. Bronzes/terracottas have risen over the past two years, and greens have increased as well.
Polished chrome is staging a comeback in both the kitchen. Polished nickel is also up to 25 percent. The increased use of polished finishes is coming at the expense of brushed finishes. Only stainless steel has managed to buck the trend away from brushed finishes, as it rose slightly. Bronze finishes also continue to be popular.
Source: National Kitchen & Bath Association “NKBA Reveals Top Kitchen & Bath Trends for 2012”