By Don Ricardo Massenburg Jr.

Kitchen and bath trends are changing. Grab your hard hat and let’s get started on that kitchen and bathroom update!

kitchen and bath trends

photo courtesy of M/I Homes

Whether you’re building your dream home from the ground up, or planning a renovation in your current space, much planning time and attention to detail will be required when selecting the fixtures and finishes for your kitchen and bathrooms. It is not surprising that design and style detail in the kitchen and bath receive so much consideration, because these spaces tend to be where we spend large amounts of time while at home. While there may be rooms in the home that owners do not use often, the kitchen and bathrooms are typically the first and last spaces used each day. Let’s chat about what’s trending right now in kitchen and bath design, and also find out what’s coming soon!

Written in Stone

If you’re at the point in the design process where you are thinking about materials for the ever so important counter top, then you should definitely consider quartz.   As an alternative to natural stone countertops such as granite, engineered quartz is a tough and easy to maintain countertop material. Quartz is highly durable and resists scratches, burns, and chips. It can be mixed to create infinite color options from solid to those that take on the look of real granite. Natural stone has been and will remain a standard for countertops, but quartz has recently become a high contender as it is frequently selected by home owners.

Chasing Waterfalls

Once the countertop material choice is made, it’s time to consider style. If you really love your counter material, the waterfall edge countertop is a dramatic and innovative way to put your stone on display in the kitchen. Waterfall style refers to the way the quartz, granite, or marble countertop extends or drops vertically down the side of an island or cabinet, creating a continuous flow all the way to the floor. “The waterfall edge countertop is in huge demand and adds luxurious, breath-taking detail to a kitchen island”, says Linda Dickert, Marketing Manager at M/I Homes of Raleigh. Not only is the waterfall edge beautiful, it also helps to hide appliances, protect wood cabinets, or camouflage a set of barstools.

kitchen and bath trends

photo courtesy of M/I Homes

Shake it Up

As far as cabinets go, shaker cabinet fronts are a popular trend in current kitchen renovations because of the classic, sleek and simple look they give to either a traditional or contemporary design. A shaker style cabinet is a frame and panel door that has a flat center panel and generally square edges without any profiling. In more traditional designs, shaker cabinets are often left with a solid, natural wood finish- most often maple, cherry, or walnut or they can be stained to bring out the natural wood hues in darker colors. Recently, shaker cabinets are being painted white, gray, or blue and are popular in modern kitchens as they give off a light and airy feel that many contemporary homeowners seek. In some kitchen designs, fewer upper cabinets are being used.  Upper cabinetry continues to come down as homeowners opt for the airy look of open shelves. Open shelving is also showing up as a storage option in bathrooms.

Feeling Blue

All white has long been the go-to when designing an elegant kitchen or bathroom. The white on white, and white with gray trends will continue as they are timeless styles. However, consumers are now becoming open to bring in more color, according to Erica Greenwold, Marketing Manager for Splash Galleries kitchen and bath showroom in Raleigh. One of the biggest trends in kitchen and bath right now is color, especially blues. On one end of the scale, darker navy blue cabinets add a deep luxury feel to a kitchen or bathroom. On the lighter end of the scale, light blue cabinets have an airy coolness to them. Designs where the top and bottom cabinets are painted in different tones have become quite popular. This technique works particularly well if there’s a need to ground the bottom cabinets using a darker color. The two-toned trend is also being used to highlight the kitchen island as a focal point within the space. Islands are being done in a complementary or contrasting color from the rest of the cabinets.  The two-toned trend can be seen throughout images on popular websites such as Houzz or Pinterest.

The countertop is chosen and your cabinets are painted. Now let’s talk about hardware and fixtures! Cabinet hardware is a little detail that can have a big impact on the look of your kitchen or bathroom. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. Oil-rubbed bronze can be beautifully coupled with your brushed chrome or nickel. At the moment, handle-less cabinetry seems to be out. Consumers want handles rather than knobs, and they want them in brass. Unlacquered brass is most requested, followed by other warm metals such as gold and pewter. However, Erica Greenwold explains that there is a recent influx of requests for chrome fixtures again as opposed to all brushed stainless hardware and fixtures. There is also a shift toward more industrial looking pieces such as oversized drawer pulls and concrete sinks.

Make a Statement

When it comes to trends in tiling and wall coverings, bold tile patterns are in. Make a statement with three-dimensional tile, geometrical shapes, and fun variations of the popular subway tiles that still remain a super popular trend. Also, wallpaper is back and it is being used commonly in kitchens and powder rooms.


The spa inspired master bathroom is still a hot and steamy movement. Whether a vintage claw-foot or a modern soaking tub, freestanding tubs are going to continue to trend hard.  However, it is the spa like oversized shower that’s getting all the attention lately. Many buyers and homeowners are requesting the spa like treatment, and builders are giving them exactly what they want. These resort styled combination bathtub/shower steam rooms include frameless heavy-glass enclosures, multiple shower heads, and heating features.

kitchen and bath trends

photo courtesy of Splash Galleries

Back to the Future

The kitchens and bathrooms of the future are here today! According to Lauren Phillips, Showroom Manager at Splash Galleries, the demand for technology in the kitchen and bathroom is soaring. Convenience features such as motion sensor touchless faucets are common, but things are already being taken up a notch. Bringing electronics into the bathroom is becoming more mainstream. Wireless speakers, Bluetooth devices and docking stations are being incorporated into bathroom mirrors, showerheads and vanities. Also, rope LED lighting is showing up in the oddest and most helpful places. Lighting on the underside of the cabinet illuminates the floor making it easy for those middle-of-the-night visits to the bathroom or kitchen. The new-age lights are more efficient and longer-lasting than halogen and fluorescent bulbs.

Forget about it!

With all these awesome trends, you should be on your way to creating the most amazing dream kitchen and bath. But first, let’s go over a few fads that have run their course. A few fads to forget: Faux finishes, distressed cabinets, farm house sinks, over the range microwaves, kitchen desks, and pot racks. These trends seem to be a thing of the past and might instantly date your space.

As design trends come and go, remember to do what you love and include your own personality in your home. Also, be sure to consult the advice of a professional, such as an interior designer when making major decisions about your space.

Don Ricardo Massenburg Jr., owns DESiGN iNKREDiBLE LLC, a Durham, NC based interior design company which offers residential and commercial interior styling services, custom headboards and window treatments. Ricardo’s portfolio of bright bold interior projects can be seen on his website at and also on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @designinkredible.

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