What’s Trending in Kitchen and Bath Design

Six local experts weigh in on what’s in style.

The kitchen and bath business is booming. The U.S. market for kitchen and bath products and materials is expected to rise 9.3 percent over last year, reaching $178 billion, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s Market Outlook Study.

So, how are homeowners spending their money?

According to the study, among other trends, American homeowners are embracing quartz countertops, custom storage and white and gray painted cabinets, while an interest in smart home technology continues to grow. 

To gain some local insight, we’ve asked six experts about the kitchen and bath trends they’re noticing here. We also took the opportunity to ask what trends they’d like to see come back or go away and what upgrades they’d like to integrate into their own homes. Here is what they had to say.

In the Kitchen

Becky Stolz
Kitchen and bath design contractor for Mid-Cape Home Centers

On trends for 2018: “What has been trending within the last year, and [what] I believe will continue to trend, is a classic look in the kitchen that can withstand the test of time: neutral finishes and simple styles that won’t outdate themselves; white or gray Shaker cabinets with a white marble-looking quartz.

Keep it classic in the kitchen with neutral finishes and simple styles that won’t outdate themselves.

One trend you wish would return or disappear: I love that we are seeing more and more “retro” styles come back, like bold patterns in tile and bright colors used as accents.

One upgrade you’d make to your own kitchen: I am in the middle of putting in a new kitchen in my own home and the two things that were a must were… [a] knife block pullout and the “cloud” blind corner pullout. The knife block insert allows you to get the knife block off the countertop and into a nice pullout, where the knives are inserted vertically into the block. The block conforms to the knives so they can be put in any which way.

The other item is the “cloud” blind corner Lazy Susan pullout, which makes use of those pesky blind corner bases that you used to have to climb into to find anything. These allow you to pull everything out of the cabinet for easy access and visibility. We feature both in our South Dennis showroom.

Rich Carl and Lou Ann Burgess
Co-owners of iKitchens Etc, LLC

On trends for 2018: With more diversity and colors, quartz countertops are taking the place of natural stone in kitchens. [And] painted full overlay cabinets; they give [easy] access to the inside of the cabinet with a nice clean look.

One trend you wish would return or disappear: We wish over the range microwaves would disappear. They serve a purpose, but they are awful as a hood and obstruct your view when cooking.

One upgrade you’d make to your own kitchen: A massive single-bowl sink. A multifunctional sink like the Kohler Prolific creates a new workstation for preparing food.

Painted full overlay cabinets provide a clean, updated look in the kitchen.

Erin Cox
Business development manager for KAM Appliances

On trends for 2018: The number of brands that offer WiFi-enabled appliances you can monitor and control from your smartphone is growing. Imagine preheating your oven when you’re in traffic or checking your phone to see if the roast is up to temperature. Most connected appliances can also be diagnosed for service issues remotely.

Induction cooking is another trend. Induction uses magnetism and is an alternative to electric cooking. It’s already widely used in Europe. With induction, the cooking surface doesn’t get hot so it is a very safe option when there are small children, elderly or pets in the home. Another huge benefit to induction cooking is its speed and precision.

One trend you wish would return or disappear: More colors like blue, green and red in kitchen appliances and home phones with cords that plug into the wall!

One upgrade you’d make to your own kitchen: It would definitely be an induction range. I’ve always cooked on electric and now I know why it’s so difficult to make scrambled eggs without burning the pan!

In the Bath

Susan Curtis
Owner/principal designer at Susan Curtis Interiors

On trends for 2018: Because of its versatility, I believe mosaic tile will be a popular bathroom design trend in 2018. Limitless in the variety of styles, shapes, materials and colors available, mosaics have the capacity to inject a high-end luxury [look] into any design project.

Vanities can be a powerful design statement, says designer Susan Curtis.

A second bath trend I suspect will grow in popularity in 2018 is custom-designed vanities. Vanities now range from pieces that resemble antique furniture and cabinets with open shelves to sleek floating vessels attached to the wall. [They] can be a powerful design statement that can dictate the overall style and tone of a bathroom.

One trend you wish would return or disappear: A bathroom trend introduced by Kohler in the roaring ‘20s that remained in fashion through the ‘70s was the complete suite of colored bathroom fixtures. This is one design trend I am pleased to see go and fine if it never returns again. Although these antique beauties are a thing of the past, remnants of this era still exist in homes today.

One upgrade you’d make to your own bath: Having built our home 20 years ago, today we are faced with several upgrades. One upgrade on the wish list is to remodel the central bathroom in our home that is used by our children and guests. Currently there is a one-piece fiberglass tub/shower unit in the bathroom and the plan is to remove it. A deep soaking tub and a custom tile surround will replace the existing fiberglass unit. Other upgrades will include a handheld shower, rainfall shower head, body jets and a frameless glass-door enclosure.

Robin Decoteau
Kitchen and bath designer at Supply New England Kitchen & Bath Gallery

On trends for 2018: People are more interested in gold tones, similar to the old brass, in plumbing fixtures, faucets and cabinetry hardware. Rose gold is really popular and is right in line for what we are seeing in jewelry trends right now, which is carrying over into homes.

Gold tones, like the Kohler moderne brushed nickel finish seen here, are a big trend in design.

One trend you wish would return or disappear: One trend that I wish would come back is a lot more color in the bathroom. For the last year or two, we’ve been seeing a neutral palette, a lot of grays and whites. I feel like we are going to get into some darker colors.

One upgrade you’d make to your own bath: Well, my bathrooms are pretty new, so I don’t have a lot of things I would really want to upgrade. Except, I would like them to be bigger. I feel like for years, we’ve said that the kitchen is where people congregate. I think the bathroom is where families congregate in the morning or even in the evenings. It is a place where we can go and relax, unwind and recuperate. Having a little more space would be my one wish.

Danielle Jones
Marketing director at Snow & Jones, Inc.

On trends for 2018: We are seeing people investing in freestanding baths. It adds a sculptural, visual element to the bath and makes the [room] appear more open. Many manufacturers are offering more styles and shapes.

One trend you wish would return or disappear: Brushed nickel is going out a little. Chrome is timeless; it will never go out of style. As more people move away from traditional towards transitional, we are seeing more un-lacquered or satin brass in hardware, fixtures and appliances.

One upgrade you’d make to your own bath: I would put in a steam shower.

Designer Susan Curtis believes mosaic tiles will become more of a trend this year in bath design.

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