Functionality and utility are essential when it comes to the kitchen sink area. If a faucet sprays water everywhere or is difficult to keep clean, or a sink can’t accommodate the needs of the user, the water station fails, no matter how attractive the design. Additionally, the water station may need to incorporate extra accessories such as instant hot, water purification systems, etc., and may also have to address special needs or water conservation issues. And, value continues to be a high priority.
At the same time, consumers expect a clean, aesthetically pleasing design that will enhance the overall look of the kitchen, while sometimes incorporating more features in a smaller space.
Balancing both sets of needs is key, according to manufacturers recently surveyed by KBDN. “It’s not enough to be beautiful; that’s a given. A quality product is desirable in the sink and faucet area as consumers are remodeling for the long term and are not just upgrading to turn over.
“If a cheap sink causes you to replace an entire stone countertop in five years, it’s just not worth it,” says Christy Emens, marketing manager for Blanco in Lumberton, NJ.
Ann Rottinghaus, marketing communication director for the Oak Brook, IL-based Elkay, agrees that utility is key. “By some estimates, you’re likely to spend 70 percent of your time in the kitchen standing in front of the sink. This area needs to be extremely hard working and complement the homeowner’s personal sense of style. It’s simply not enough to satisfy one or the other need today.”
Faucet and sink trends don’t exist in a vacuum, and the overall design of the kitchen plays a major role in the sink and faucet choices. “When homeowners remodel a kitchen, they generally decide on the overall design first and then buy a faucet that is consistent with their overall design vision,” says David Emmons, product manager for Ginger/Newport Brass/Brasstech, Inc. in Santa Ana, CA. “If kitchen designs move toward clean lines and less ornamentation, then faucet manufacturers will begin to develop more minimalist transitional and contemporary designs that are compatible with that motif.”
Laura Garland, product manager – Wholesale Kitchen, at Moen Inc. in North Olmstead, OH agrees. “Faucets now coordinate with popular appliance finishes like stainless steel and black for a completely coordinated appearance. In addition, as interest in modern design grows, so does the trend toward modern faucets,” she says.
Judd Lord, director of industrial design at Delta Faucet Co. in Indianapolis, IN adds, “When it comes to kitchen design as a whole, designers and homeowners are ditching clutter and ornamentation to streamline the space and create a clean, seamless feel.” This desire for clean, simple lines carries over into faucet designs, he adds.
Rottinghaus says that the landscape of a kitchen at large drives the choice of colors, textures and shapes to build out the room. Texture and color in sinks can enhance the larger kitchen scheme. “In the end, the emphasis is on personal style, and today, achieving personalization is painless with so many fabulous choices in the marketplace,” she adds.
Finish preferences for faucets and accessories remain consistent with past trends, with stainless steel, brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze and chrome topping the lists. Lord says, “Stainless steel remains the dominant finish choice for appliances and fixtures, though finishes can vary significantly by manufacturer.” In addition, he notes, “Traditional warm, bronze finishes are also gaining in popularity again, though we’re seeing a specific interest in blending these traditional finishes with more contemporary architectures.”