Trends from the 2018 Kitchen and Bath Show
As an interior designer, I try to attend several important trade shows each year. The first is the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, also known as KBIS, which was held this January in Orlando, Fla. It is both educational and inspiring to see the latest and greatest products and where the two most important spaces in our homes are headed. This year’s KBIS did not disappoint. Here are seven trends for 2018 kitchens and baths.
1. Color: This year, the KBIS color story was all about high-contrast neutrals with pops of bright and bold accent colors. There was a predominance of black and white or dark gray and white in both kitchens and baths. Dark cabinetry was especially popular. This marked a complete U-turn from the previous year’s popular and ubiquitous all-white kitchens. Bathrooms also sported high-contrast black and white or dark gray and white tiles, cabinetry and fixtures. Hardware and faucets were mostly matte black or in warm tones such as gold and brass. When there was color, it was used as an accent. Cobalt blue was without a doubt the most trending shade. Major appliances and fixtures such as ranges, refrigerators, sinks and soaking tubs are trending toward “statement pieces,” and many were shown in bold, bright colors.
2. Smart Home Technology: In years past at KBIS, smart home technology was just beginning to make its way into the show. This year, it was the number one trend. We are headed toward living like the characters on the ’60s TV show “The Jetsons” as advanced home technology is quickly becoming better and more affordable. Refrigerators and stoves have evolved into computers that link to our cellphones and smart devices.
Smart technology can do everything from creating a shopping list for groceries or suggesting recipes based on what’s in the refrigerator, to cooking a perfect roast or chocolate flan. Smart technology toilets clean themselves, open and close the lid as needed, and identify which user is approaching in order to heat the seat to his or her preferred temperature. Smart technology can be used to control the water temperature and pressure in the shower based on who is using it.
One of the most talked about smart technology exhibits at the show was from the car company Tesla and the kitchen appliance company Thermador. The two have linked Tesla’s in-car computer to two of Thermador’s appliances. I can’t decide if this is a life-enhancing feature or just a gimmick, but it enables you do something unusual tasks during your commute. For example, you can preheat your oven so it’s ready for immediate use when you arrive home. If preheating the oven doesn’t resonate with you, how about having an espresso or cappuccino waiting for you after you return from your morning workout at the gym?
3. LED lighting: This is another trend that was seen in almost every KBIS booth. LED lighting was featured inside drawers and cabinets, inside kitchen appliances, in mirrors, and as accents on kitchen islands and bathroom vanities. Most ovens and dishwashers were shown with interior LED lighting that can be programed to change colors. Showerheads and soaking tubs had LED lighting that acted as chromotherapy. Feeling tired? Try bathing with a red LED light. Need to relax? Switch it to blue.
4. Clean Lines: Cabinetry in both kitchens and baths was primarily flat-fronted for a clean, modern look. Faucets, hardware and appliances were also modern and sleek, with simple, clean lines. Hidden, integrated walls and doors are designed to obscure the appliances within and maintain a minimalist aesthetic.
A clean, uncluttered look is the trend for both kitchens and baths.
5. Organization: It seems like everyone has jumped onto the organization and decluttering bandwagon. Open any cabinet or drawer at KBIS and you’d find a place for everything, and everything in its place. Kitchen and bathroom drawers now resemble jewelry boxes, and drawers can be easily customized with inserts that are perfectly tailored to your needs. Have 10 different hair products or a collection of soufflé pans? There’s a drawer for them.
6. Downsizing: Similar to decluttering, more Americans are thinking about downsizing or living small. There’s no need to sacrifice function or luxury, however, as even the highest end kitchen and bath vendors are making smaller appliances and fixtures. High-end professional quality ranges, dishwashers and even wine coolers can be found in a slimmed down 28-inch-to-30-inch width. Kitchen sinks have become elongated in order to function as full-prep islands with a variety of accessories that allow you to chop, clean and prepare all your mealtime ingredients. Bathroom vanities and toilets are slimmer in profile and set off the floor to maximize square footage.
7. Luxury at home: A consequence of our new reality is that many people are fearful of venturing far from home. This has expanded the product catalogs for luxury living or vacationing at home. Exhibits included backyard pizza ovens, grills with every bell and whistle, spa features in bathrooms such as steam showers and soaking tubs with neck massaging jets of the sort you might expect to find at a five-star resort. Wine coolers were shown with dual temperature settings for whites and reds, and refrigerators can now place a grocery order that the store will deliver. There are in-home mini dry-cleaning units that fit easily into your closet, and ovens and ranges so advanced that they prepare restaurant-quality meals when you touch a photo on the display pad that indicates what you want to cook. There are showers in which multiple features can be managed with a single control knob. Not available quite yet, but soon, will be a robot that folds clothes. Kitchens and baths of the very near future will be fully automated and everything is coming to a kitchen or bath store near you!