The kitchen is oftentimes referred to as the heart of the home while the bath is considered the sanctuary. Functional kitchen and bath (K&B) spaces are critical for a home to operate, and many homes built during the ‘90s and earlier are likely due for a remodel of one of both of those spaces, or even their second update. Materials, products, and themes have been used so frequently they may not be working properly anymore, or the aesthetics may no longer fit. Cool tones, for instance, have for decades been considered a modern standard in K&B design, but in recent years, industry experts are seeing a shift in consumer preference toward more natural tones, such as warmer colors and wood textures.
Whether the result of the pandemic, the undeniable popularity of home improvement shows, or some other factor unaccounted for, homeowners are increasingly looking to renovate.
Traditionally, K&B spaces come with small floor plans, requiring designers to get creative with space saving tricks, new trends, product and accessory options, and more. A good designer can take a homeowner’s wants and needs and tailor them to any size space, source the best products, and produce the greatest functionality.
From countertops, to storage, to drawers and flooring, K&B spaces can have endless design possibilities. A new year brings new trends; here are the 10 K&B trends and three closet trends industry experts are predicting for 2023.
Double islands — Designing a kitchen with not one but two islands is on the rise. Why?
“[Double islands] serve a very important role in the functionality of what happens in a kitchen today – cooking, working and playing,” says Magdalena Kiebala, founder and principal designer for Magdelena Kiebala Interiors. “One island is typically reserved for prepping food and the second is for working on your laptop, helping your kids with homework or playing a board game.”
Also, designers are switching from the typical all-white color palette to injecting island bases with a colorful flair to brighten the room.
Image: bmak | AdobeStock
Mesh cabinets and floating shelves — The idea of open concept is waning, but open shelving is relevant in kitchen storage. Peek-through mesh cabinet doors or standalone floating shelves provide landing zones for stacking bowls, plates and cups. They look great and offer additional storage space to help declutter spaces.
Smart technology and device charging — There is a push to design a go-to place for smartphones, earbuds, and tablet charging on countertops while still having room for the rice cooker, stand mixer, and blender.
Future kitchens will be increasingly outfitted with smart devices, as well.
Quartz over granite — There's a slight shift in the leading countertop material.
“In multi-family homes, countertops are moving away from granite. Many projects are going to solid surface materials and quartz,” says Peter Smuda, director of product management at Division Six, a company that partners with residential developers to provide interior design services.
Quartz is nonporous, easier to clean and keep clean, and considered more durable. Designers choose counter materials based on style, finish, the homeowner’s vision, and installation needs.
Dual-purpose faucets — In an effort to support sustainability and reduce electricity and gas consumption, faucets with electrical aspects under the sink are gaining popularity.
Twin shower heads — Why settle for one shower head when you can have two? New and remodeled bathroom showers often extend the original layout. With a larger shower space, a second shower head is convenient and fits with ease.
Exposed tubs — Gone are the days of building bulky box surrounds for soaker tubs. Instead, designers are planning spaces with a stand-alone tub to add a bit of luxury.
“I feel that stand alone tubs are timeless,” Kiebala says. “They are absolutely gorgeous and give us the opportunity to be creative with them.”
“Pairing a standalone tub with large format porcelain tile wall and floor can really elevate the overall look of a bathroom from ordinary to extraordinary,” Smuda adds.
Tile — Lining the bathroom walls with floor-to-ceiling tiles and placing a contrasting tile pattern on the floor is not only durable and easy to clean and maintain, but also high-design.
“Large scale tile and natural stone are dominating many bathroom designs,” Kiebala says. “The look of terrazzo and marble stones are becoming popular along with fluted details, bold veining and using this same material on multiple surfaces—walls, floors, countertop, backsplash, etc.”
Corner storage — As with kitchens, creating additional storage space can be accomplished by utilizing corners, floating shelves, and under-countertop baskets.
Vanities with natural textures and materials — The bathroom is a place for cleanliness and comfort, both of which are enhanced with the use of natural treated wood accents and light color tones. Floating vanities create clean lines and an airiness to small spaces.
Chandelier statement lighting — Bright and cool light fixtures, hanging gallery lights and natural lighting is becoming a favored style. If possible, natural light from large windows is the most popular option.
Smart storage — Floating shelving in bathrooms for shoes, belts, or watches can save room in the main closet while serving as display spaces for most used items.
Island in the closet — Combining functionality and aesthetics, designers are highlighting the benefit of extra storage space that stands out. A statement piece with multiple uses can save time, money, and space in multiple ways.
“A closet isn’t just a closet anymore,” Kiebala says. “It’s a place where you prepare for tomorrow, pregame with a glass of wine while getting ready for an event, or just repeating the therapeutic process of folding laundry. We will be seeing more islands, seating arrangements, a variety of organizational accessories and gadgets and functional areas for preparation.”
Professional designers creating eye-popping, customized spaces with photo-realistic renderings and built-in calculations for an accurate bill of materials should use smart software throughout the design process. Plus, including customers in the design process from inspiration to installation is possible when using immersive technology and capabilities. Interactive design results in the best possible new or renovated kitchen and bath spaces.
Cecilia Vu joined Configura in 2022 as a training specialist/kitchen & bath expert. She comes to Configura with 12 years of interior design experience, ranging from high-end residential, to commercial architectural work and healthcare design.