When it comes to design trends, let’s face it: kitchen and bath products are not exactly on the leading edge. While other more exciting industries, such as fashion and furniture, seem to set the trends, the slow and arduous process combined with the financial risks of bringing faucets and fixtures to market tends to delay the implementation of the latest trends.
However, this slower-to-market and more calculated design approach doesn’t stop the excitement for what’s coming next. Even if designers initially flock to furniture, tile and textiles, everyone still wants to see new faucet collections, the next hot finish and technological breakthroughs, especially showroom managers, sales consultants and interior designers.
As chairman of AD’s Decorative Brands and nearly 20 years with Wool Supply in South Florida, I’ve been exposed to the inner workings of top kitchen and bath manufacturers and forged long-lasting relationships with distributors throughout the country. The exposure and shared information within AD’s Decorative Brands are unmatched, and much of my industry knowledge and experience come from my relationships within this incredible organization.
Without further delay, here are some key products to look for and trends you’ll see in 2024:
Intelligent Bidet Toilets and Seats
Intelligent toilets and bidet seats were introduced nearly a decade ago. Top manufacturers proclaimed they would be in high demand by the American market. However, Americans did not appear to welcome these products with the open arms manufacturers were hoping for.
That’s all about to change in 2024 as a significant number of clients are now requesting intelligent/electronic toilets with bidet functionality for their homes. Many U.S. consumers have seen or experienced one in the wild, and their craving to have one (or two) in their homes remains at an all-time high.
What to look for in 2024: Now that demand and interest in these products have surged, look for more entry-level fixture brands to produce their own models at record-low prices, which are noticeably more attainable for the everyday consumer. New bidet models will be refined in their design, resembling standard-looking toilets, as technology has improved greatly in the last five years.
Expect mainstream single-family homebuilders around the country to offer these toilets as a standard feature and, therefore, if manufacturers want to win the entire fixture package, they’ll need to offer an economic toilet with bidet functionality for at least the master bathroom. 2024 should be an explosive year for bidet seats and toilets, with more models and lower price points than ever before.
Faucet Design: Handle Textures and Differentiators
Modern and contemporary design continues to dominate the faucet landscape. We’re seeing demand for contemporary collections creep from Fort Lauderdale all the way north of Palm Beach, an area historically dominated by traditional design. Consumers are also looking for custom and unique designs, and the easiest way to achieve this is through special finishes.
Although released many years ago, Kohler’s brushed bronze and titanium finishes have never been so popular, especially in Miami. Brushed gold and matte black still dominate the finish landscape, and we’ll see this continue well into next year as demand for these finishes remains high.
Another way manufacturers have created a custom look is through specialized handle options. Larger brands now offer more handle options and unique designs, including using mixed materials such as wood and marble to create a handmade look with bespoke design. Attention to the smallest details is becoming ever so important.
What to look for in 2024: Every faucet manufacturer will finally go all-in on matte black and gold finishes. The European manufacturers who previously chose not to participate will finally get around to producing more collections in these finishes, as they tried to stay true to their brand by sticking it out with chrome and brushed nickel, hoping for the trend to abate.
Speaking of brushed nickel, the demand for this finish and polished nickel is on the rise. Chrome remains the standard finish for price-conscious clients. Look out for detailed handle options and accents; knurling, fluting, detailed patterns etched into the body, 3D-printed faucets, and all sorts of textures will be added to give faucets a rich, custom and detailed look.
Wellness: Steam and Sauna
The health and wellness industry is booming, and you’ll see more manufacturers (especially the big ones) push to merge wellness into the bathroom, using collaborations and other marketing strategies. Cold plunge, steam and saunas have become mainstream and not only available to the wealthy.
Masco, parent company of Delta Faucet, quietly acquired Steamist during the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ll likely see it incorporate steam into its showering collections. Look for other brands to improve their steam and wellness offerings through acquisitions and in-house design teams. Other brands use showerheads to deliver skin infusion therapy and other healthy natural hair products into the water for a shower experience like never before.
What to look for in 2024: We’ll see more affordable steam options as steam becomes more accessible and popular. Look for more enhanced packages with technologically advanced screens and smart controllers, including internet connectivity and application access. More manufacturers will incorporate steam and wellness into their showering collections, especially the major international brands.
Major plumbing manufacturers will release saunas and other wellness-inspired products, possibly through third-party collaborations with smaller brands that fit into kitchen and bathroom designs. This is a developing category with massive market potential. Look for introductions in 2024 and more product releases in 2025 and beyond.
Kitchen Sink Design and Workstations
Finally, we have social media to thank for the rise of kitchen “workstations.” You are sure to hear more about them in 2024 (and 2025 as this category matures), as every major kitchen sink manufacturer is scrambling to release. This will be, without a doubt, the future direction of kitchen sink design. Anyone following design trends on social media has probably seen a video showcasing what these workstations can do.
Some include pop-up faucets, built-in jets to rinse produce and even professional-grade glass washers. The sink is not only a sink; gone are the days of the commoditized five-sided, stainless-steel sink. These workstations can finally do something, and consumers will jump for these incredible feature-rich soon-to-be appliances.
What to look for in 2024: Look for major brands to release their version of the kitchen workstation (you will see this word used everywhere), a booming category for kitchen sink manufacturers. This category will consume every kitchen sink design team as manufacturers, product designers and engineers figure out exactly how to incorporate moving water through their workstations to make it the best and most functional.
Early workstation sink designs will incorporate endless custom accessories. As this category matures, later designs will feature built-in faucets and water sources with high price tags.
Look for unique finishes already proven in the appliance world to become more popular in 2024, such as brushed gold and black stainless. Manufacturers are eager to take back control of the kitchen sink category that has been lost to cheap imports. 2024 will be the year of introductions and announcements but look to 2025/2026 for the more perfected and mature designs.
These are some of the new exciting kitchen and bath products and categories coming in 2024 and beyond. As supply chain woes slowly come to an end, manufacturer design teams are getting aggressive, taking chances, pushing technological boundaries, and navigating design trends in a post-pandemic world. The future looks bright for our industry once again.
Jeff Wool is the executive vice president of Wool Supply (woolsupply.com), a third-generation family business based in Miami. Joining the business full-time in 2006, he has a passion for interior design, design trends, showroom and retail operations, and business development. He currently oversees showroom operations and various areas of the distribution business, including eight Florida showroom locations and a Kohler Signature Store in Miami.