The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), a non-profit trade association that has educated and led the kitchen and bath industry for more than 45 years, conducts an annual member survey to identify the latest trends in bathroom and kitchen design. Based on 350 responses throughout Canada and the United States, here are five (5) kitchen trends for 2012.
1. Pull-Out Faucets
You might shake your head at this as being far too obvious as pull-out kitchen faucets are not new. Less than two (2) years ago, standard faucets were used just as often as pull-outs in kitchens. During the last three (3) months of 2011, more than 90% of (surveyed) designers specified pull-out faucets! In other words, pull-outs have officially become the new norm and, for many people I know, are the expectation.
2. Changing Woods
Though cherry wood has traditionally been the first or second most popular cabinetry wood – alternating top spot honours with maple – cherry’s use has been in steady decline the past couple years. Maple, too, is being used less often. Designers are instead opting for other wood species. The use of oak, walnut, birch, and bamboo have all at least doubled in specification rates over the past year.
3. Darker Finishes, White Paint, & Distress
Continuing on a trend cited in last year’s top trends, darker finishes are increasingly popular. Medium-toned natural finishes follow in popularity, while light natural finishes are much less prominent. When a painted finish is preferred, white remains the prevalent choice; only 38% of designers specified a non-white finish. Distressed finishes, which have been on the wane the past few years, have made a notable comeback in finish options.
4. LED Lighting
Energy efficient LED lighting is the clear number one choice in kitchen lighting despite the initial higher cost. Close to three (3) out of four (4) kitchens now specify LED lights. This number will likely only continue to rise as legislation throughout the US and Canada has called for the discontinuation of incandescent bulbs. The timelines of the bans vary by region, so check locally to see what is and isn’t acceptable before purchasing bulbs.
Over the past several years, a plethora of new glass products have been introduced to the market. Glass mosaic backsplash tiles, for example, can now be purchased at your local building centre, though the higher end versions tend to remain exclusively available through tile stores and to the trade. It is also being used in large sheets to cover the entire backsplash with fewer (if any) seams. Despite its gains in the area of backsplashes, glass remains more of a niche countertop materia