NKBA Reveals Top Kitchen & Bath Trends for 2012

It’s a little bit like Fashion Week to those of us in the Kitchen and Bath remodeling world: the week that the National Kitchen and Bath Association reveals their top trends for the year.

More than 350 National Kitchen & Bath Association member designers took part in the 2012 NKBA Design Trends Survey to cite the materials, product types, and styles that they’ve incorporated into their kitchen and bath designs over the final three months of 2011. While broad trends won’t be evident in every local market, the following are the top overall trends for kitchens and baths across the United States and Canada.

This Feinmann Design|Build kitchen remodel in Weston, MA shows off the 2012 NKBA trend of incorporating brown with white tones in the kitchen.


Listed below are some of the top trends:

• Cherry wood cabinetry is declining in popularity, and no single wood species is rising to take its place. Lesser-known woods such as oak, walnut and hickory are gaining market share. Demand for bamboo has doubled from 5% in 2010 to 10% in 2011. White alder holds 27% of the market, down from 40% two years ago. Dark natural finishes lead the pack at 53%, up from 48% two years ago. But medium natural finishes stand at 55%, and light natural finishes at 30%. Among painted cabinetry, white is the most popular options (59%) but the distressed look is making a comeback. Read more…

Current Kitchen and Bath Trends

The National Kitchen Bath Association (NKBA) recently surveyed many of its members to identify recent trends in kitchen remodeling.The survey noted dark natural finishes have overtaken natural and white painted as the most specified type of finish. Appliances still top people’s list for new ideas in their kitchens. Kitchen buyers are asking for wine refrigerators to meet the overall increase in wine drinking and one of the new hot appliances that ends up on people’s request list is the Induction Cooktop. Not surprisingly, the NKBA are seeing a decline in people’s use of incandescent lighting while people are asking more about LED lighting. One would expect to see an increase in the use of Compact Flourescent Lighting (CFLs) but designers don’t love CFLs due to the perception of the quality of light they produce. And consistent with people’s desire to recycle, more and more people are asking for cabinets that will handle not only their garbage but all of their recycling.

Kitchens and Baths are the most popular rooms of the house to remodel and there are some new trends in both areas.  In Bathrooms, the NKBA is seeing a move away from granite in the bathroom and an increase in Quartz as an alternative to the ever popular stone surfaces. It has taken some time, but people are getting more comfortable with these new man made materials. Undermount sinks continue to be very popular but we are seeing more requests for the very hot Vessel sink. People are also asking for Satin Nickel finishes on the bathroom fixtures from the more recently requested Brushed Nickel finishes.

A recent Feinmann bathroom remodel with Vessel sinks

When it comes to overall design and space layout, the NKBA has also noted different multi generational trends. The Baby Boomers are asking for a more standard 30” table in their kitchens compared to the 42” bar height sitting. Many Baby Boomers consistently ask for an open floor plan which both accommodates easier mobility and gathering for one’s family. The Generation X are asking for kitchen elements that ease their fast paced lifestyle. They want a computer near the kitchen to provide access to much needed information. While the Baby Boomer moves away from the 42” bar height counter, this height is regularly requested for friends and families to sit and visit. The Generation Y group are definitely looking for their kitchens to meet the needs of their young families and lives without children—places for snacks, pet food are regularly requested plus an entertainment area to meet their more technological tastes.

We’re always fascinated by the trends that emerge – what will it be next year? What are you craving in your kitchen or bath?