NKBA 2021 kitchen & bath design trends: Larger kitchens, new styles and virus influence
November 19, 2020 | 4:12 pm CST

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J.— The National Kitchen & Bath Association 2021 Design Trends Research is showing that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a substantial lasting impact on kitchen and bath design.

As homeowners spend more time at home, kitchens and primary bathrooms are getting larger, the volume of outdoor living projects is increasing significantly and there is a need for easy-to-clean surfaces, flexible living spaces and seamless technology integration.

Design preferences in both kitchen and bath will continue to be more contemporary and transitional in style, with added influence of a new leading trend of natural/organic. This combination feels more European in style and scale, with clean lines, minimal detailing, the warmth and texture of natural finishes, and larger windows to bring the feeling of the outdoors inside.

The influence of natural/organic catapulted into the top three design styles respondents expect to increase in popularity in the kitchen and bath over the next three years. This is a significant shift from the NKBA 2019 study, where this same design style ranked 10th. Conversely, traditional design, which consistently had been one of the top three kitchen and bath styles for more than a decade, is now anticipated to be one of the least popular.

“We expect designs for both the kitchen and bath to continue trending toward a more modern, organic feel that is both streamlined and adaptable,” said Bill Darcy, NKBA CEO. “The kitchen has long been the heart of the home. But especially during the pandemic, it has emerged as the most prominent, multitasking room as well. We see this continuing with more open-space concepts, an extension into multi-season outdoor living spaces, larger kitchen island hubs and increased functionality and storage to allow homeowners to cook, eat, work, home-school and play, all in the same vicinity.”

There are several kitchen surface trends. Quartz, particularly in lighter colors, will continue to be the driving material for countertops. Large-scale backsplashes featuring a solid slab or long subway tile will see more use. There will be more mixing of complementary colors and materials on perimeter countertops and islands

The results of this study are based on data collected in third quarter of 2020 from more than 700 design professionals in North America, representing industry segments including designers (52 percent of respondents), showrooms, dealers, manufacturers, remodelers and architects. Of the respondents, 78 percent are NKBA members.

The full comprehensive NKBA 2021 Design Trends report is available for download on NKBA.org. This important research is included with NKBA membership, and all members may download a copy of the report from the website at no additional charge. Non-NKBA members may purchase the report for $2,995. NKBA.org

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Karl Forth

Karl D. Forth is online editor for CCI Media. He also writes news and feature stories in FDMC Magazine, in addition to newsletters and custom publishing projects. He is also involved in event organization, and compiles the annual FDM 300 list of industry leaders. He can be reached at [email protected].