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November 6, 2012

NKBA Members Weigh In on The Top 10 Kitchen and Bath Design Trends for 2012

In the next few weeks, Monarch designers will be discussing their favourite kitchen and bath design trends for 2013. Before we look forward, let's take a look back at what materials and products NKBA professionals were using during the final months of 2011.

In NKBA’s Winter 2012 newsletter, writer Timothy Captain summarizes the results of the 2012 NKBA Design Trends Survey. Over 350 NKBA member designers participated in the survey, citing the materials, product types, and styles they incorporated into their kitchen and bath designs over the last three months of 2011.

“Their responses provide insight into design trends that will take hold in the kitchen and bath market in 2012,” writes Captain.

Here are some highlights from NKBA’s Kitchen and Bath Style Report:

Cherry Wood in Decline
  • Although 80% of NKBA member kitchen designers had recently specified cherry cabinetry as 2010 approached, that figure dropped to 72% last year and fell again to 69% heading into 2012.
  • No one other wood species is taking that market share on its own, as even maple dropped in popularity this year, falling from 77% last year to 70% now.
  • Lesser-used woods are now being specified more often include oak, (22%); walnut (13%); birch (15%); and bamboo (10%). While alder is currently specified by 27% of kitchen designers, that figure is down from 30% last year and from 40% two years ago.
Darker Finishes
  • Natural kitchen cabinetry continues a steady move toward darker finishes. While light natural finishes have been recently specified by 30% of kitchen designers, medium natural finishes stand at 55%, with dark natural finishes at 58%.
  • Among painted cabinetry, white continues to be the most popular option (59%), while other colors were specified by only 38% of designers.
  • Distressed finishes are making a comeback. Up from 5% to 22% in the past year.
Glass Backsplashes
  • More than half of kitchen designers used glass as a backsplash material, rising from 41% a year ago to 52% now. This trails only natural stone tile at 60% and ceramic tile (including porcelain), which has been specified of late by some 74% of designers.
  • Ceramic tile backsplashes are on the decline, as they stood at 78% a year ago and 88% two years ago.
  • Other popular backsplash materials are granite at 30% and quartz at 20%. The popularity of these materials as backsplashes is due to their high use as countertop materials.
LED Lighting
  • LED lighting was specified by 70% of NKBA member kitchen designers, up from 50% in 2010.
  • The use of compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), which use roughly a quarter the energy of an incandescent bulb while producing the same amount of light, has dropped to 36% (from 26% in 2010). The drop is believed to be a result of the poor color of the light they produce and the presence of mercury in the bulbs.
Pull-Out Faucets
  • The use of pull-out faucets has increased from 88% to 93% in the past three years. In other words, 14 of out every 15 designers who designed a kitchen over the final three months of 2011 incorporated a pull-out faucet.
Medicine Cabinets
  • Practicality has won out and medicine cabinets are making a comeback. After being specified by 43% of NKBA member bathroom designers leading into 2010, medicine cabinets dropped to 36% last year. However, as designers entered 2012, some 66% had recently incorporated a medicine cabinet into a bathroom remodel.
Transitional Over Traditional
“For the first time since the NKBA began tracking annual design trends, traditional is no longer the most popular type of design,” writes Captain. “In both the kitchen and the bathroom, transitional is now the most common style. While the traditional style has consistently been used by roughly three quarters of NKBA member designers in both the kitchen and the bath, that figure fell to 58% in kitchens and 59% in bathrooms this year.

"Contemporary is the next most common style, up 5% to 52% in kitchens and up 10% to 53% in bathrooms from a year ago. Shaker, arts and crafts, and cottage remain the next most frequently used styles.”
Solid Surfaces
  • The use of solid surfaces in the kitchen had continued to rise, up from 11% in 2010 to 30% of designers for use in kitchens.
  • Granite (91% for kitchens; 71% for bathrooms) and quartz (69% for kitchens; 53% for bathrooms) continue to be the top two choices/
  • Marble is currently the third most popular vanity top material at 41%, up 3% from a year ago. The use of glass vanity tops has more than doubled over the past two years, from 5% heading into 2010 to 11% today.
Shades of Gray
  • Designers chose gray as the color scheme of choice in 33% of their kitchen redesigns and 40% of their bathroom remodels.
  • Whites and off-whites continue to be the most popular color schemes for both the kitchen and bathroom, followed by beiges and bones. Brown is the third most popular color in kitchens and the fourth most popular in bathrooms, just behind gray.
  • In the kitchen, bronzes/terracottas have risen over the past two years from 20% to 25% to 31%, while greens have increased from 18% two years ago to 32% today.
Polished Chrome is Back
  • In the kitchen, polished chrome has recently been specified by 52% of NKBA member designers, while in the bathroom, its use has increased from 46% to 65% over the past year. At the same time, polished nickel is up from 17% to 25% in kitchens and from 28% to 32% in bathrooms.
  • The use of stainless steel rose slightly from 46% to 50% in the kitchen and increased significantly from 16% to 28% in the bathroom. Bronze finishes, although popular, dipped a bit from a year ago, falling from 49% to 41% in kitchens, while their use remained flat at 41% in bathrooms.
To read the entire 2012 Kitchen & Bath Style Report, click here.