When it comes to what’s trending in kitchen and bath remodeling, the biggest buzz words for both rooms are “comfortable” and “functional.” In fact, when surveyed about what attributes their clients most wanted in their new kitchens (see Graph 6), the two most-frequently cited descriptors were “functional” (81%) and “comfortable” (62%). Far less important were “light filled” (27%), “simple” (25%), “sleek” (19%) and “elegant” (18%). Only two percent said they wanted a “glamorous” kitchen – a far cry from just a few years ago, when glamour was all the rage.
“Functional” and “comfortable” also topped the list of traits consumers sought in the bath (at 73% and 56%, respectively), while “light filled” scored somewhat higher than in the kitchen (37%), followed by “elegant” (27%), “simple” (25%) and “sleek” (21%).
As far as the most desired kitchen amenities, dealers and designers surveyed agree that storage is at the top of consumers’ lists, with 80% of those polled citing islands as their most desired kitchen feature (see Graph 7), followed by roll-outs, pull-outs and roll-downs (79%), and drawers instead of cabinets (74%).
Also tying into the value trend, energy-efficient appliances were mentioned by 66% as a greatly desired kitchen feature, while mix-and-match materials/surfaces/finishes were cited by 64%.
Interestingly, although only 10% of those polled believe their clients will be giving more consideration to using eco-friendly products in the coming year, some 59% cited LED lighting and 56% cited recycling centers as desirable kitchen features, suggesting that the green trend has made inroads in consumer thinking.
In the bath, storage is also a prime concern, with the most desired amenities list (see Graph 8) topped by furniture-style vanities (60%) and his-and-hers vanities (55%). Other oft-asked-for bath amenities included super showers and customized storage (46% each), radiant heated floors (45%) and a private toilet compartment (42%).
When asked about their clients’ style preferences, casual or transitional styling was cited as the mostly likely to increase in popularity in the coming year, both in the kitchen and bath. This held across all designer and dealer segments except the independent designer, who was equally likely to see an increase in modern/contemporary styling.
In the kitchen, nearly half (47%) of those polled see casual or transitional as the hottest growing style, followed by modern or contemporary (32%), no changes in style (11%), traditional (5%), country (3%), Victorian/elaborate traditional (1%) or another style (1%).
In the bath, 40% of those polled see casual or transitional styling expected to grow the most in 2013, followed by modern or contemporary (37%), no changes in style (13%), traditional (8%), Victorian/elaborate traditional (1%) or some other style (1%).
While it’s often overlooked, consumer mindsets have a tremendous impact on their design choices and, as such, it was interesting to note how designers see those views coloring their choices. Among those surveyed, 42% viewed their clients as “middle of the road” – willing to be creative in small ways, but still making primarily “safe” design choices. Another 38% saw their clients as conservative, making all safe choices, while 20% said their clients are adventurous, seeking out custom designs that speak to their unique personal tastes.
When asked for specific examples of design preference differences they saw this year in the kitchen and bath projects they completed as compared to last year, the dealers and designers surveyed offered the following:
“We’re mixing countertop materials more and using more personalized products like stainless or some reclaimed products on islands or specialty areas, while keeping the rest of the tops in granite.”
“We installed all types of LED lighting in the kitchen: main can lights, under-cabinet task lighting, interior cabinet lights and even decorative pendant lights. The client was thrilled with the results.”
“We’ve done under-lighted glass counters in the kitchen.”
“We utilized face-frame cabinetry much more this year than in the past, mostly to achieve a specific style such as a classic design with furniture elements.”