NKBA Anticipates Larger Kitchens and Bathrooms, Strong COVID-19 Influence in Design Trends Report

In the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s 2021 Design Trends Research report, survey responses from over 700 kitchen and bath professionals show that the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lifestyle changes are expected to have a lasting impact on kitchen and bath design, extending at least over the next three years.

In terms of aesthetics, the NKBA anticipates that contemporary styles will remain popular, but include influences from a new “natural/organic” trend, which incorporates clean lines, minimal detailing, large windows, and natural finishes. This trend rose into the top three among survey respondents this year, up from 10th in 2019. At the same time, traditional kitchen design, which has ranked at the top of the design trends survey for over 10 years, is now among the least popular design options.

“We expect designs for both the kitchen and bath to continue trending toward a more modern, organic feel that is both streamlined and adaptable,” says Bill Darcy, CEO of the NKBA. “The kitchen has long been the heart of the home. But especially during the pandemic, it has emerged as the most prominent, multitasking room as well. We see this continuing with more open-space concepts, an extension into multi-season outdoor living spaces, larger kitchen island hubs, and increased functionality and storage to allow homeowners to cook, eat, work, home-school, and play, all in the same vicinity.”

Gas and induction cooking are at about the same level of popularity, with induction expected to replace traditional glass electric cooktops. Matte and brushed finishes are the most popular in kitchen fixtures, with hands-free features among the top trending. Quartz remains the most popular material for countertops, paired with solid backsplashes and easy-to-clean surfaces. Device charging stations, video communication, and emergency refrigerator power are among the top tech preferences.

In the bathroom, respondents show a preference for large, freestanding showers with zero-clearance entry, linear drains, hands-free faucets, and black or nickel finishes in matte or brushed textures. Other top trends include radiant heated flooring, bidets, self-closing lids, and leak detection hardware.

The full report is available at NKBA.org, with free access available to NKBA members.

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