Keeping up with kitchen and bath trends
Bathroom and kitchen product trends are being heavily influenced by a combo of technology and fashion.
Trends are changing faster than ever and getting that information from a single source can prove challenging. With bathroom and kitchen product trends being heavily influenced by a combination of technology and fashion, there seems to be an ever-expanding selection of options in finishes, styles and functions. From the avant-garde to the traditional, the available looks are rapidly changing in today’s kitchen and bath arena.
It’s essential for trade professionals to track what is happening. Here is what I see as significant trends in 2018:
• Finishes — Mixed finishes are here to stay. Gold and black, brushed nickel and gold, the sky is the limit here. Combinations such as these allow for an eclectic mix of décor in the home. Just about every faucet manufacturer is offering mixed finishes, and the cabinet hardware, lighting and shower door companies all have risen to the occasion by getting on board with this trend. Graff introduced a 24k gold finish in its faucet line and has done an excellent job in communicating that new option to the design community.
• Colors — Deep navy in cabinetry, especially when mixed with a brushed gold finish on fixtures and hardware, is in high demand in just about every region of the country. Both Strasser and Ronbow have a deep navy among their selections. Combined with the proper complementary lighting and faucets, the look is truly luxurious and can be done at a surprisingly affordable price.
• Shapes — 3D tile in bathrooms and backsplashes in the kitchen provide a more textural approach that adds excitement in any tile selection. Contemporary faucet styles finally are coming of age in the American market after having been embraced for years in Europe. The industrial look still is holding its ground in some markets, assisted by efforts from several manufacturers. For example, Brizo’s Litze collection is inspired by industrial valves, yet offers a combination of texture, style and multiple finishes.
• Technology everywhere — It’s vital to understand the range of what is possible in the kitchen and bath. Options ranging from touch-sensor faucets to iPhone-controlled temperature settings in shower systems now are mainstream. Expect this to accelerate as “Alexa” will be sharing time with you in the bath sooner than you think. It won’t be uncommon to reorder shampoo while in the shower. And there are technology upgrades as simple as the American Standard Spectra etouch showerhead, which allows you to change the settings of the showerhead from a remote-mounted switch. This is an excellent product design and solves many issues with higher-mounted showerheads, as well as providing convenience for children and aging consumers.
• Lighting becomes increasingly creative — As LED advances in technology, it is becoming the “in demand” item in bathroom mirrors, in the shower and under the cabinets. Hinkley Lighting offers a “Shop by Style” feature on its website, which includes articles by designers that complete these bath or kitchen styles with a complementary palette of color.
Some professionals take the time to follow influencers on HGTV such as Joanna Gaines, who seems to find a way to get a pot filler to fit into every kitchen she designs. This, in turn, forces consumers to look for that item in luxury plumbing showrooms. When consumers are bombarded with fashion choices, it is good news for plumbers, since updating the home happens more frequently as trends accelerate.
Social media is one of the best tools for trendspotting. My suggestion would be to follow well-established, trend-driven companies on LinkedIn and Instagram. Take a look at manufacturers such as DXV, Victoria and Albert, GRAFF and GROHE that offer constant news feeds of what is trending and how those trends will be influencing the consumer. I’d also suggest seriously looking at lighting company trends from leaders such as Hinkley and Kichler. They can provide knowledge about the latest colors and trends that are hitting the lighting world, which tends to lead the decorative plumbing and hardware industry.
When consumers are bombarded with fashion choices, it is good news for plumbers, since updating the home happens more
frequently as trends accelerate.
I would also follow the decorative buying group news feeds. Consider subscribing electronically to the major kitchen and bath magazines. They do an excellent job following the market. To catch up on the latest news, it takes about 15 minutes a day to scan these sites for relevant content and stay on top of what’s happening in our industry.
Looking at styles is not something that is only being done by millennial consumers — which, by the way, have the spending power right now. All levels of consumer groups want to make their lives better and the manufacturers are paying attention by launching technology-driven, trendy products. The experts need to pay attention so they will build a reputation as the company that “gets it.”
When consumers see your favorable online reviews, business will take off. Word of mouth isn’t the only way to get growing!