Minimalist Kitchens & Baths Reign for 2014

By Annette M. Callari, ASID; CMG

Microwave-Drawers_300Over half of 2014 is behind us, and that gives us enough time to analyze the important trends in kitchen and bath designs evolving this year.  Consumers and designers are ascribing to “form follows function” in planning their new K & B interiors.  Contemporary is in, with clean lines and minimal ornamentation.  Less is more, and consumers are interested in scaled-down, simplified design that is attentive to creative storage features and functional space planning.

With a little help from my friends at the National Kitchen & Bath Association, below is a summary of the hottest K & B trends–each validated by the results of the NKBA annual survey  (which included 420 practicing design professionals).

  1. Monochromatic, neutral color schemes are the hot ticket for this year.  Bone, beige, gray and white are the winners.  I attribute that to the clean (somewhat austere) simplicity consumers are craving.  When the world seems to be spinning out of control, we react by creating safe havens in our homes.  Neutral color schemes give us the relaxing, visual relief we are craving.
  2. It’s no surprise that Universal design is an important facet in planning new kitchens and baths.  The baby boomer generation is coming to the realization that they need to plan for their “aging in place” future, and Universal design is a critical component.  No-threshold showers and easy access soaking tubs are in high demand.  Whirlpool tubs and steam showers (well-being and pain relief) are also emerging as important features.  Showers include benches or seating.
  3. Comfort heights for commodes and vanities are a priority design consideration for 2014, another consideration in Universal design.
  4. Radiant floor heating systems are much in demand and 55% of the designers surveyed saw that demand escalating throughout 2014.
  5. Non-slip flooring materials are an essential ingredient and correlate with Universal design concepts.  (examples:  unpolished natural stone, honed granite, slip-resistant LVT, mosaic-like tile with sufficient grout lines to provide slip-resistance)
  6. Kitchen sinks are favoring stainless steel, but granite composites and porcelain enamel are gaining momentum.
  7. Chrome fixtures seem to fit the contemporary direction of K & B design.  However, copper is on the horizon.  Its natural anti-bacterial properties and inviting warm tones are capturing a whole new consumer audience.
  8. For countertops, granite and quartz surfaces are practically in a tie for first place.  Minimalists will usually opt for clean, uncluttered, solid surfaces and quartz will pull ahead in that respect.
  9. Specialty features in kitchens are worth the investment.  Effective use of space is important and given that, microwave drawers are edging out warming drawers.
  10. For cabinetry in kitchens, cherry is in first place, maple was second, and alder came in third.  Designers are predicting that walnut will take its place in the top three by the end of the year.

Radiant-Floors-and-mosaic_300If you were surprised by some of these reported trends, well that is actually good.  Design is fluid and ever-changing.  Staying ahead of the design curve allows you to incorporate some of these important trends into your own home.  For 2014, streamlined, functional,   innovative, are the buzzwords (and hallmarks) for excellent kitchen and bath design.