Cabinet and kitchenexhibits at the 2014 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show displayed a wide variety ofcolors and styles, but the dominant color shade was a cool medium.

The real story wasthe return to KBIS of some of the largest and most important cabinetmanufacturers after an absence of a few years. We counted 15 U.S. and Canadianproducers, and only 10 importers this year, with an absence of the lower-endimport cabinets.

They picked a greattime to come back. KBIS joined with the International Builders Show to fill allthree halls at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The combined event drew a hugecrowd of more than 82,000. KBIS alone had 500 exhibitors and 31,000 attendees,well over double the attendance of the previous year.

For the 26th time, editors ofCabinetMaker+FDM surveyed cabinets displayed at major exhibitions. This year weattended the KBIS show in Las Vegas. This survey is based on what wasdisplayed, not what is being produced or sold.

The dominant colors displayedweren’t red white and blue, or red and white. The domestic producers flexedtheir design muscle and settled on medium and muted colors, especially shadesof gray, off-white, and light beiges.

Specifically,medium-range colors were popular, and we saw more painted MDF and more paintedsolid wood. Dark and light finishes were still common, and most displaysoffered plenty of color options.

We saw medium colorsaccounting for 37 percent of displays, light colors 21 percent, and dark 20percent. White paint, still popular, was seen in 13 percent of displays, and 4percent were glazed. Other finishes accounted for 5 percent.

It’s worth notingthat few distressed cabinets were displayed, although some were there if youlooked for them.  What we did see was“semi-distressed,” painted wood doors with the paint scuffed off the cornersbut no gouges or bite marks.

Most cabinetdisplays shown at KBIS also featured face frame construction with full overlay(81 percent). Nine percent were frameless with the remainder being either faceframe or inset doors.

A representative fora large Midwest cabinet producer said frameless sells in New York and NewJersey, traditional designs in the South, and rustic in Pennsylvania. He addedthat some customers mix products together to make something new. Another salesrepresentative said the only requests for frameless came from New York.

A rep for a largecabinet company said that contemporary was gaining popularity is much of his Midwestterritory. An import rep said that colors varied white to black, with less inthe middle.

Another producersaid that companies are matching any color desired, and summed up by sayingthat people are most interested in getting the most out of their space.

The most commonspecies for cabinet doors was maple once again, accounting for 34 percent ofdisplays. Oak edged back to 16 percent (most larger companies had one or twooak displays). Cherry doors were in 15 percent of displays, birch 11 percent,alder 9 percent, MDF 7 percent and other materials and species 7 percent.

In door options,wood and glass combinations were shown most frequently (48 percent of options)with mixed colors and species representing 18 percent of options. Soft-closedoors were shown in most displays.

Countertop trends

It’s hard to judgecountertop trends because some exhibitors used laminate tops for their tradeshow displays.

Most countertops (49percent) displayed were granite. Also displayed were laminate 20 percent, engineeredstone, 17 percent, solid surface, 10 percent, and wood 4 percent.

Although woodcountertops were few we did notice some higher-end wood tops, including aninteresting rift-cut oak design.

As far as drawersides, most were solid wood, with plywood making up most of the rest.

The most commonaccessories seen at KBIS, measured by number of displays, were: Openshelves-30, islands—27, wood hoods—26, spice rack/drawer—20, wine racks—12,corbels—11, plate racks—10, oversized shelves—10, appliance garages—10, lazysusan/corner storage—9, crown moulding—9, spice rack—9, garbage can—9, flutedcolumns—7, cove mouldings—7, arched valances—6, and specialized storage—6.

NKBA design survey

The National Kitchenand Bath Association’s annual Design Trends Survey announced during KBIS showedthat contemporary will be the fastest-growing kitchen style in 2014, even thoughconsumers prefer transitional kitchens by a small margin.

Styles less indemand are Provincial, Tuscan and country/rustic, and distressed cabinetfinishes. NKBA Survey respondents reported kitchen projects ranging from lessthan $20,000 to more than $100,000.

The NKBA survey alsoindicated that gray is the fastest-growing color scheme for both kitchens andbathrooms. In 2013, gray trailed white/off-whites as the top kitchen colortheme. In the kitchen, walnut cabinets, quartz counters, glass backsplashes,and wood floors were expected to grow in 2014.

Kitchen designersare including more docking and charging stations in the kitchens, along withmore kitchen flat-screen televisions. Consumers also want more universal designfeatures in both the kitchen and bathroom.

The move back

As mentioned, moremedium to large cabinet companies returned to KBIS in 2014. From talking toexhibitors, this trend started at New Orleans in 2013.

Also, the linebetween imports and domestics is becoming more blurred. We talked to morecompanies that import cabinet components and assemble them. Technically thesecabinets are made in the U.S. Sometimes they do make doors or other parts here.

Some of the cabinet producersor importers were new companies, started over the past five years.  Who would start a cabinet company in 2008?Ask these guys. Next year’s KBIS will return to Las Vegas Jan. 20-22, 2015.

Looking at thecrowds, one exhibitor said, “This is almost like the good old days.”

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.