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As the year is winding down and 2022 is right around the corner, the remodeling industry is not showing any signs of slowing. The pandemic is still relevant, and it is changing the way spaces are designed, affecting supply and demand and how business is done.
Trying to run a supply business today includes weekly price changes, material shortages, delayed shipments and trying to navigate between hopefully understanding clients and setting realistic expectations. Our world has changed, and with it, so have the clients and their long list of kitchen wants and bathroom dreams.
Through the past few years, we have shown how resilient we are and how much we truly can adapt when necessary. Our homes are no exception; we’ve adapted to new uses as we multitask throughout
Working and learning from home is an example. Dining rooms were instantly turned into classrooms and offices. No longer were they spaces for shared family dinners, but a space where parents could work and keep an eye on the children’s Zoom calls. What was going to be only a few weeks turned into more than a year of families trying to navigate an ever-changing list of tasks for any one space.
Most would agree, the kitchen is the heart of the home. With so much time spent in the kitchen, it’s becoming more of a space with both functional designs as well as aesthetics. The kitchen is a reflection of the family that spends so much time there.
In recent years, the kitchen has become less utilitarian and more of a personalized space. From cooking and meal prep to enjoying casual family meals to homework and study sessions, the kitchen really does wear many hats. Moving forward, design trends will reflect the many functions of the kitchen and will continue to make family
In the coming years, workstation sinks are going to grow in popularity. These sinks feature multiple accessories, making function a top priority. The pressure is on vendors to come out with more and more accessories, options and sizes. Workstation sinks are designed to make food prep and cleanup a breeze.
Oversized sinks are also gaining speed and proving to be more accommodating to a multichef kitchen. When partnered with a plethora of accessories, workstation sinks allow everyone working in the kitchen a space to work and the materials they need to get the job done.
Our homes are just as hardworking as we are. Planning a kitchen or bath takes a lot of attention, thought and pre-planning; every detail must be considered. Homeowners should be planning for additional USB ports and outlets on the kitchen backsplash and island. Also recommended are outlets hidden in vanities and medicine cabinets. This allows for the hiding of small electric appliances and keeping vanity tops clean and uncluttered.
Today’s clients are asking for timeless elements. It doesn’t matter if it’s a homeowner, designer or flipper. They don’t want to look back at their space in a few years and regret their decisions. Clients don’t want their kitchens to scream “pandemic remodel.”
Because of this, designers and clients are choosing elements that will withstand the test of time. Clients want the latest and greatest, and want it to look classic and timeless. Designers are throwing in vintage elements and priceless family heirlooms to be on display and to be part of the overall design of the space.
Today, faucets and fixtures come in a rainbow of finishes. Clients are thinking outside the box; they don’t necessarily care about “what’s popular” but what appeals to them and their space.
Recently, black and brushed bronze were popular; however, moving forward, we will see a return to more classic tones. Examples include unlacquered brass and shiny finishes such as chrome and polished nickel. Finishes such as polished copper and gold also will grow in popularity. These finishes will add a touch of timeless elegance and be reminiscent of past generations.
To further extend on timeless elements, we will see fewer painted walls and more tile. Instead of just tiling the shower or the backsplash, the tiled surfaces will extend to include all the walls. In bathrooms, we see tiling to the ceiling behind a vanity with a framed mirror, tiling behind the toilet. Keep in mind, this may change faucet specifications, toilet rough-in dimensions and medicine cabinet installation.
In the kitchen, we will start to see tile installations covering the entire wall behind a kitchen sink, not just the 18 inches to the bottom of the cabinets. Painted all-white cabinets are starting to dwindle in popularity. With that, we will see more and more stained cabinets, bringing back earth tones.
Vintage-inspired elements such as custom built-in china hutches and sideboards are growing in popularity, as well as custom coffee bars, wet bars and additional dining room storage. These elements help by providing beautiful aesthetics, storage and display space. It is a great way to showcase unique cabinet hardware, door hardware and lighting fixtures.
Other ways the showroom can adorn these spaces is with unique bar faucets and artfully created, one-of-a-kind handmade sinks. Wallpaper is making a large insurgence back into the design industry. We see timeless vintage prints, as well as new, bold takes on traditional designs.
When it comes to the showroom, expect to see an increase in finishes from the past; unlacquered brass finishes and aged finishes are going to take over. As clients are doing more and more research, the fear of a living finish is minimizing. Clients are starting to notice the stunning beauty in their aged appearance is worth the extra maintenance.
The Outside on the Inside
As we transition to what we hope is a post-pandemic world, we are starting to see outdoor inspiration for our indoor spaces. Keep in mind, many clients have been stuck indoors and their vacations have been canceled, quite possibly two years in a row.
Clients want to bring the outside in — introducing nature into their everyday life. Kitchen cabinets and vanities will be made of earthy wooden stains, green or yellow tones; wooden countertops will accent islands, as well as copper accents such as a hammered copper sink or range hood. Unique cabinet hardware in classic metals will reign.
Some of the elements that can be brought in throughout the home are wooden accents featuring raw live edges and greenery, such as live plants, succulents and dried stems. There is no reason these items should be left outside. They can make excellent accent pieces and accessories to any space, including the bathroom.
Retro Colors and Textures
Minimalism is always a major player, but it’s getting revamped. In both the kitchen and bath, decluttered spaces partnered with clean, sleek lines, showing less is definitely more. In recent years, we have seen spaces that take inspiration from the 1950s and Mid-Century design. The Scandinavian influence isn’t going anywhere, but we might see it morph into other things.
In the coming years, we will see this trend moving forward in time, with more of a 1970s appeal. No, the Lava Lamp isn’t coming back, though it might be fun! Instead, we’ll see a softer color palette paired with boho accessories. This trend is doubling down on bringing the outside in with the return of rattan and wicker furnishings. Simple accents can include pouf seating, baskets, hanging chairs — even fringe. This trending style will see accessorizing using retro-inspired materials such as terrazzo and macrame.
The future is going to be filled with color, and today’s clients are ready to make some bold choices that will change the way color is done for years to come. The return of the ’70s in the industry will greatly affect color pallets. All-white everything is finally on its way out, and retro color schemes are going to be the next big thing. Thankfully, avocado green toilets and dusty rose tubs aren’t coming back, but we will see these hues return in the form of wallpaper and tile colors.
While clients still want a space that will stand the test of time, they are ready to make statements with their space. They are stepping outside of the box and experimenting with finishes. The door on all-white everything has started to close, but not all the way.
Because of the current love affair with matte black faucets and trims, a new trend of high-contrast spaces is stepping in. The mix of white and black is an elegant and welcome tribute to a classic kitchen or bath design. Remember the black and white checkered floors in your kitchen growing up? Today, it might be white tile paired with matte black fixtures. It’s a beautiful way to add contrast and drama.
In cabinetry, accents are going to be seen in off-white finishes, such as different shades of taupe in accent areas. Some of these accent pieces can be identified as islands, hutches, range hoods or even base cabinets partnered with wood-toned upper cabinets. Designers also are using vibrant and bold colors, such as gem tones in greens, blues and purples. These colors will continue to be stunning when paired with unlacquered brass hardware.
Primary bathrooms are a relaxing retreat for the whole family. More and more homeowners are removing the standard alcove bathtubs from secondary baths. Showrooms should be educating clients on both the pros and cons of the typical alcove tub, and asking the right questions to narrow down choices for a particular application.
The typical alcove tub has always been a staple. But why? If the family has a large primary bath with room for a large tub, ditch the alcove. In general, an alcove tub is not only dangerous to step in and out of for daily showers, but they’re also often not big enough for someone much older than 12 to take an actual bath. And if a family has a son who never enjoys baths, do they need one?
Today, many realtors still recommend homes include at least one bathtub. A growing trend for families is to ditch the alcove and put their money into a therapy tub in the primary bath. It’s not only for mom to use but also serves as a two-person tub for both mom and dad. Also, they can bathe multiple small children in it, making bath time fun and efficient by bathing all the kids at once. This idea is increasingly popular with parents of multiples and children younger than school age.
Trends are moving the primary bath into a whole family retreat — a relaxing spa for not only the primary residents but also their kids. Primary baths are starting to rival kitchens for remodeling budget; designers and contractors are introducing things such as steam showers and therapeutic tubs. These luxury upgrades will not only make the space more enjoyable but also will add to the value of the home when reselling.
What does this mean for wholesale and retail? Expect the unexpected. Now more than ever, we need to be vigilant in studying product offerings from all vendors available and showing them! Clients are going to come in asking for these finishes and design ideas, and if you don’t show them, you will have a hard time selling them.
It’s time to replace some of those old and dated displays, and get things that speak to what your clients in your desired demographic are coming in and asking to see.
Sarah George is the showroom manager for Granite Bay Plumbing Gallery in Granite Bay, Calif. As a member of Luxury Products Group, George has been in the home improvement industry for nearly 20 years, with the last seven focused on high-end plumbing showrooms. With a degree in interior design and a concentration on kitchen and bath design through an NKBA accredited program, George stays in tune with trends and industry issues.