16 K&B Design Trends for 2014

Innovative and traditional trends define homeowners’ needs and creative designs.

January 06, 2014

Ninety-four percent of remodelers indicate they generated at least some of their business from kitchen remodels in 2013, according to the Professional Remodeler Kitchen & Bath Trends Survey. Additionally, 79 percent of remodelers generated at least half of their business from bathroom remodels in the past year.

For the past three years, remodeling spending has continued to increase partly due to a consistent number of kitchen and bath projects. In 2011, remodeling spending was $276 billion for homeowner and rental improvement repair, $284 billion was spent in 2012, and 2013 was projected to hit $317 billion by the end of the year, according to the Remodeling Futures Program at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

In the last five years, U.S. homeowners, on average, spent $28,030 to remodel their kitchens with costs varying widely at different budget levels, according to research provided by Houzz. Nationwide, the average cost for a high-end kitchen was $54,942, for a mid-range kitchen $22,390, and $7,133 for a lower-budget kitchen.

Professional Remodeler’s
Top 8 Kitchen Trends for 2014

1. Open kitchen design
2. Kitchen lighting
3. Countertop material, black color
4. Refaced kitchen cabinets
5. Apron/farmhouse sinks
6. Appliance finishes
7. Kitchen islands
8. Floating shelves

Professional Remodeler’s
Top 8 Bath Trends for 2014

1. The bathroom spa experience
2. Stand-alone tubs
3. Radiant heating
4. Multigenerational design
5. High-quality faucets
6. Diverse color palettes
7. Freestanding and hovering vanities and cabinets
8. Natural stone and custom tile

The average cost of bath remodeling in 2013 was $18,538, which was down slightly from 2012, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association.

Because homeowners are investing in kitchen and bath projects, 94 percent of remodelers indicate they generated at least some of their business from kitchen remodels in 2013, according to the recent Professional Remodeler Kitchen & Bath Trends Survey (see Investment Continues in Kitchens and Baths). The survey also finds that 96 percent of remodelers generated some of their 2013 business from bath-related projects.

Furthermore, 77 percent of remodelers generated at least half of their business from kitchen remodels in the past year, up 15 percentage points from 2012. Additionally, 79 percent of remodelers generated at least half of their business from bathroom remodels in the past year, which is on par from the percentage recorded for this category in 2012.

As part of the survey, we also asked remodelers to identify the latest kitchen and bath trends incorporated into these projects. As a result of their aggregated responses combined with research culled from a variety of remodeling industry resources, Professional Remodeler assembled this list of 16 Kitchen & Bath Design Trends for 2014. PR


1. Open kitchen design

Seventy-seven percent of the respondents to the Houzz Kitchen Trends study indicated they prefer their kitchens to be open to other rooms. In addition to more space, respondents also indicated they prefer to incorporate a kitchen island as well.

As more homeowners embark on major renovations of their home, many have been opting for a larger, open kitchen to connect with at least one adjoining living area in order to evolve their kitchen into the home’s social hub.

“Regardless of the age of my clients, their number one request is, and they all use the same term, ‘We want a kitchen where we can hang out with family and friends.’ The open kitchen design supports a much more relaxed and informal way of living, which I find is the way most people want to live,” says Mick DeGiulio, principal, DeGiulio Kitchen Design, Wilmette, Ill.

The kitchen of today is the new living room. The open-kitchen trend is here to stay because homeowners who have adopted the design are increasingly pleased with the results.

“I’ve never had a single client who said they wish their kitchen was smaller or they wish they had not opened the kitchen to other living areas,” says DeGiulio.

Homeowners are even eliminating a formal dining room so they can incorporate that space into the kitchen in an effort to create space they will actually use everyday.

“The open kitchen design has changed the hierarchy of home design. Today, for many people, the kitchen has become the priority. It’s occupying the choice space in a home in terms of best views and square-footage allocation. It is receiving the same attention to architectural detailing and appointments you would see in more public spaces such as living rooms and dining rooms. This also means it has become a priority in terms of budget,” says DeGiulio.

See Kitchen Trend #2.

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2. Kitchen lighting

As energy-efficient LED lighting continues to evolve in terms of applications, the lights continue to be popular for both kitchen and bath applications.

“I’m seeing LEDs improve in their color and dimmability. I’m also seeing LEDs show up in more fixtures including remodel-friendly can lights, vanities, and appliance interiors,” says Jamie Gold, a San Diego-based industry consultant and author of “New Kitchen Ideas that Work” (Taunton Press, 2012).

Because LEDs last much longer than any other type of light bulb available on the market, they are a great solution for homeowners who are looking for a low-maintenance option. The LED bulbs also burn much cooler than incandescent, Xenon, and Halogen bulbs, making the LEDs more versatile and safer.

For kitchen applications, LED strip lighting is excellent as an under-cabinet light.

“It’s dimmable and burns very cool so it won’t heat the inside on the cabinet like Xenon and Halogen bulbs. We also use small LED pucks in glass and open cabinetry to add ambiance or a focal point,” says Leslie Lee, designer, Normandy Design Build Remodeling, Hinsdale, Ill.

As for natural lighting, it is always preferred in a kitchen design. The key is finding a proper balance of natural and artificial light for the day-to-day kitchen tasks.

“When natural light is just not available in the kitchen, additional ceiling, cabinet, and wall lighting can be added to help compensate for a lack of natural lighting,” says Lee.

See Kitchen Trend #3.

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3. Countertop material, black color

According to the Fall 2013 Kitchen Trends Study by Houzz, which included 7,812 homeowners and registered Houzz users in the U.S. and Canada who are planning or in the midst of a kitchen-remodeling project, 94 percent of respondents are planning to change their kitchen countertops. Fifty percent prefer granite while 36 percent prefer quartz countertops, both of which remain the most popular countertops currently used in kitchens. Some homeowners have taken to mixing different types of material for their kitchen countertops.

“We’ve seen a trend toward people straying from the traditional, perfectly matched look in the kitchen,” says Shelia Schmitz, editor of Houzz.

The mixing of countertops can be functional as well; using a butcher block in an area for food preparation or stone in a serving space are two examples.

Waterfall countertops, where the material drops over the side of a kitchen island, are becoming more common in contemporary kitchens.

In terms of colors, the use of black kitchen counters in either granite or quartz will increase in 2014, according to the Zillow Digs Home Design Trend Report for 2014.

“We are seeing more black granite that is honed or has a leather finish,” says Adam Hunter, owner, Adam Hunter Inc., West Hollywood, Calif. Hunter says the black countertops provide a tasteful, yet dramatic look especially when paired with a lighter-colored countertop such as marble or light gray for contrast.

See Kitchen Trend #4.

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4. Refaced kitchen cabinets

Budget-conscious homeowners who want to update the look of their kitchen are opting to reface their kitchen cabinets rather than replace them.

“We have seen more clients want to do a remodel later, but do not want to invest the amount required for a full remodel with new cabinets. This is because of cost. The fact that a client can opt to just do the refacing of the cabinets and not replace the countertops allows them to have their kitchen remodeled at a significantly less amount than a complete remodel that includes new countertops, plumbing, and electrical, in addition to new cabinets,” says Vince Nardo, president, Reborn Cabinets, Anaheim, Calif.

Using open shelf and glass-front cabinets that display the kitchenwares is a growing trend among kitchen-cabinet options, according to the Zillow Digs Home Design Trend Report for 2014.

“As the kitchen has become a central meeting place for family and friends, presentation has become a priority for many homeowners. It is now fashionable to display almost everything in the kitchen from dishes to pot and pans,” says Kerrie Kelly, founder, Kerrie Kelly Design Lab, Sacramento, Calif.

Colored cabinets including gray and off-white remain the preeminent colors homeowners prefer. In some kitchens, colors tend to be broader based on geographic location.

“Some color trends tend to be more specific to the Pacific Northwest color palette, which includes subtle earth-tone hues such as charcoal, blue, and green,” says Suzie Atkin, design consultant, Neil Kelly Co., Portland, Ore.

See Kitchen Trend #5.

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5. Apron/farmhouse sinks

Kitchen-sink styles are constantly changing and evolving. Currently, the sink of choice is the apron or farmhouse sink.

“The apron or farmhouse sink has a very traditional style and some might even say a rustic look in certain applications,” says Jim LaVallee, principal, Epic Development, Atlanta, Ga. “The general trend we see across the country, and especially in cosmopolitan areas, is a push toward cleaner, simpler lines on the interior of the homes whether mixed with a traditional and contemporary exterior. The apron sink, with a flat simple front, integrates well into this look.”

To ensure cleaner lines in a kitchen with an apron sink, cabinet doors should be flat or in a simple shaker style. A stainless steel apron sink also matches well with stainless steel appliances, according to LaVallee.

See Kitchen Trend #6.

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6. Appliance finishes

The U.S. market for consumer appliances is expected to grow 3.8 percent to $56 billion in 2014, according to Euromonitor International, an independent consumer-market research firm.

Stainless steel is still the favorite because it’s a good neutral and works well in a variety of environments, according to John Petrie, president, National Kitchen & Bath Association.

In an effort to tap into the market share stainless steel appliances has in American kitchens, appliance manufacturers launched more furniture-like appliances with rounded edges and handles, less metallic sheen, and in different colors. Appliances in white with hints of metal as well as a softer, natural gray matte finish have started to make their way into homes.

In the Houzz Kitchen Trends study, 65 percent of respondents prefer stainless steel appliances, 16 percent want to integrate appliances into cabinetry, 12 percent prefer white or colored appliances, and 7 percent indicated they prefer to combine appliance finishes such as paneled, fully integrated refrigerators and dishwashers.

The timeless stainless steel look continues to blend well in kitchen designs, although the appliances must effectively blend in with the entire design to avoid being the focal point of the kitchen.

“Integrating appliances into the cabinetry is particularly desirable in open-floor homes, where the kitchen can be seen from many rooms and multiple stainless steel appliances may draw unwanted attention,” says Houzz’s Schmitz.

See Kitchen Trend #7.

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7. Kitchen islands

Kitchen islands are a multipurpose area used to create extra space for prep work, storage, and dining, and serve as the social hub for gatherings with family and friends.

“The kitchen is the heart of the home and that’s where most of the time is spent. Having an island also allows families to be together. For example, a parent can be cooking while their children are working on their homework on the island,” says Liz Lee, senior designer, Sun Design, Burke, Va.

The diverse kitchen island can include the main sink, bookshelves for cookbooks, and cooking surfaces with large expansive hoods that extend past the range or cooking surface with no wall cabinets flanking the hood.

“Islands have become a given in most kitchen remodels and designs. It is something most clients expect and want included in their kitchens. How much seating is required and the clearances needed can impact the design of a kitchen island and can be a challenge,” says Rebekah Zaveloff, co-founder and director of design, KitchenLab, Chicago.

An island with clean lines and traditional design works well in most style of homes and works with both stained and painted finishes. From a decorative standpoint, the island is the focal point of the room and should have stylized elements such as a unique finish or decorative lighting that includes antique brass and accents.

“Our clients like the island to have a substantial feel with furniture-like qualities. Most prefer an island that is one level that still allows for seating but offers a large, open surface for entertaining as well,” says Laura Barber, designer, Normandy Design Build Remodeling, Hinsdale, Ill.

See Kitchen Trend #8.

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8. Floating shelves

Breaking away from the concept that every last inch of wall space must be host to some sort of closed storage, floating shelves help break up the wall into lighter, less-obtrusive space free from a wall of hanging cabinets.

“The floating shelf is a very simple, yet attractive architectural element. Its appeal is simplicity. Light and airy, floating shelves complement any contemporary design very well,” says Fabian Genovesi, design consultant, Neil Kelly Co., Portland, Ore.

By leaving sections of walls behind the floating shelves open, it facilitates the use of color throughout the kitchen. The brighter and bolder color schemes allow homeowners to move away from the traditional whites and neutral colors used for kitchens. By incorporating lights into the shelves, the kitchen walls can become even more attractive when color and light are combined.

Floating shelves can also bring a sense of casualness into the space making it less formal and more open to conversation based upon the items that may be placed on the shelves, according to Genovesi.

Stained-wood veneers and glass tend to make up the most popular materials used for floating shelves. They can also be used as part of the home’s structure, which are then covered by drywall or plaster and painted.

“I have also created massive floating shelves with weathered wood beams, live edges, and stone embedded into walls,” says Genovesi.

See Bathroom Trend #1.

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1. The bathroom spa experience

Many homeowners seek a bathroom that provides a relaxing and comfortable retreat from their hectic lives. The bathroom spa experience brings that sense of serenity to a homeowner.

“A spa-like bathroom can come in many forms, but is generally a clean-lined, contemporary space with a mix of rich, textural elements blended with polished surfaces, neutral earthy tones, and natural materials,” says Normandy Remodeling’s Barber.

In the bathroom spa experience, storage is important because clutter should be kept to a minimum.

In the shower, elements like steam, multiple showerheads, therapeutic body sprays, and even music are all ways that can enhance the showering experience.

Stand-alone baths are popular and offer different bathing experiences such as bubble-massage, massaging jets, heated tub surface, and even chromatherapy. Radiant-heated floors feel luxurious underfoot and are a great feature in the cold winter months.

“There are many options available to homeowners today to create a customized spa-bath experience in their home, regardless of the size of their space. We begin and end the day in the bathroom so make it a space you can enjoy,” says Barber.

See Bathroom Trend #2.

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2. Stand-alone tubs

One aspect of the bathroom spa experience that homeowners are incorporating into their bathroom remodeling projects is the stand-alone tub. If homeowners want a tub experience in 2014, it’s likely they will select a stand-alone tub as a structural element, which takes up much less space in the room than the old tiled-in tub deck. In some cases, the stand-alone tub may be more aesthetic than functional.

“It seems the stand-alone tub, in the eyes of our clients, is much more the for ‘look’ than actual functionality and day-to-day usage,” says Bill Shaw, president of William Shaw & Associates, Houston.

Cost is another issue when comparing a stand-alone tub with a deck-mounted drop-in bathtub. The cost of the deck material, steps, surrounding materials, and accessory pieces of the deck are lower when compared with the cost of the stand-alone tub and the related plumbing hardware.

“The cost of the free-standing tub has significantly increased, so we find most of the time, there is not a significant cost issue. The final decision is usually about the look versus function,” says Shaw.

See Bathroom Trend #3.

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3. Radiant heating

As homeowners opt for bathroom designs that offer more comfort built into space, the installation of radiant heating systems has also risen.

“With newer, easy-to-install radiant heating systems, that luxury is becoming more attainable for homeowners. It’s no longer just a feature you’d build into a whole-house new construction project,” says author and consultant Gold.

In the 2013 Houzz & Home survey, 34 percent of respondents indicated energy efficiency was a driving factor in remodeling projects. Radiant heating in the form of in-floor warming systems contributes to energy efficiency while also adding another layer of comfort to the homeowner. Ceramic, slate, and marble tile in the bathroom offers the aesthetic appeal to the bathroom while a radiant heating system can quietly and uniformly heat the bathroom without the need for forced-air heat. Radiant-heated floors continue to radiate heat even after the system has been turned off.

Radiant heat is available in three forms: air-heated radiant, water-heated radiant, and electric-heated radiant. Electric-radiant heating is typically used to heat a bathroom because it is the easiest system to install and requires little maintenance when heating a smaller space.

See Bathroom Trend #4.

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4. Multigenerational design

The family bathroom is one of the few rooms in a home that can meet the different needs of multiple generations, therefore the design of a family bathroom must be diverse as well as practical. It must be useful for people of all ages, abilities, and sizes.

One aspect of multigenerational bathroom design has been the introduction of curbless or zero-threshold shower stalls with a channel drain, according to members of the Milwaukee chapter of NARI.

“The initial investment is larger, but in the future, as family members get older, they may have trouble getting in and out of a traditional shower and at some point, if they need to use a wheelchair, this type of shower would allow for easy access,” says Gordon Caesar, president, Bath and Kitchen Specialists Inc., Brookfield, Wis.

Other multigenerational design options include replacing lower toilets and sinks with a taller option that requires less stooping or bending; larger 32-inch doorframes in the bathroom as well as other rooms within the home to ensure there is enough clearance for a wheelchair; and space underneath the sink to allow for a wheelchair to roll right up to the wash basin.

“We work with a lot of aging-in-place homeowners who choose to remodel their bathrooms for more functionality and easier use as they age and their capabilities to use the existing bathing and toileting rooms change. Most of the bathrooms we remodel are barrier free designs and will include and/or plan for installation of grab bars in the future or for the project,” says Joseph Irons, president, Irons Brothers Construction, Shoreline, Wash.

See Bathroom Trend #5.

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5. High-quality faucets

Because the bathroom continues to evolve as a personal space designed to ensure maximum relaxation and comfort, high-quality faucets must be timeless, stylish, and practical.

Single-lever faucets specifically designed in an arc manner and combined with stain-free materials such as chrome have proven popular throughout the U.S; however, the finish may differ depending on geography. According to the NAHB Research Center, chrome is most popular in the Northeast, while polished nickel is often most specified in the Southeast and Mountain regions.

The overall style of the home also dictates faucet style as well; for example, in a contemporary space, the faucets should be clean and simple. Streamlined contemporary sinks built into eco-friendly natural cabinets mesh well with high-quality fixtures.

“Our clients have been requesting better faucets for both their bathroom and kitchen projects. They like both the look, feel, and efficiency of the better-made faucets and they are willing to pay for the better-quality items that will last longer,” says Cathy Doucet, interior designer, Doucet Remodeling & Design, Stoneham, Mass.

See Bathroom Trend #6.

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6. Diverse color palettes

Varying shades of blue, green, gray, and purple continue to be popular colors due to their calming nature. Vibrant colors should be used in smaller amounts as accents to complement a room’s dominant color as well as in light fixtures and backsplash tiles, for example.

“Grays, whites, black, and charcoal greens have been trending as the neutrals an entire space may be designed in. It’s much easier to then add in the pop of color for focus, and less expensive to change it out later when the trend or desire for that specific color has faded,” says Neil Kelly Co.’s Atkin.

Bolder colors as the focal point of a bathroom is considered a risk because of the cost associated with changing these colors if it filters down beyond the walls into countertops or fixtures.

See Bathroom Trend #7.

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7. Freestanding and hovering vanities and cabinets

For smaller bathrooms, freestanding vanities with furniture styling continue to be admired by homeowners. Some standalone vanities can provide a great deal of storage while creating a spacious feel surrounding the vanity.

“In the most recent bathroom renovations, we have found homeowners are still looking for the most storage. Most homeowners want a more spacious and inviting space, creating their own ‘spa’ regardless of the size of the room,” says Doucet.

Hovering or cantilevered vanities have also seen an increase of interest lately.

“Because they are open underneath the countertop, you can tile the floor up to the wall, adding to the continuity of the bathroom’s appearance, says Jake Ruiz, owner, Quality Remodeling Specialists Inc., Pewaukee, Wis.

See Bathroom Trend #8.

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8. Natural stone and custom tile

Designing a bathroom that uses the same natural stone and custom tile for the walls, floors, and corners is one trend contributing to the open design of a bathroom, according to members of the Milwaukee chapter of NARI.

“Today, an emerging trend is to have the layout of the bathroom be as open as possible, says Quality Remodeling Specialists’ Ruiz. “Rather than the shower being a closed-off space in the corner, walls and floors are often designed using the same tile. This style makes the bathroom feel like one continuous space and not compartmentalized.”

From opulent to sophisticated, and matte finish to highly polished, the broad array of natural stone and custom tile options provide high performance and durable surface with an endless number of style options. PR

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