By Julia Reinert
From light and plumbing fixtures to flooring and countertop options, it is no wonder why kitchens and bathrooms receive so much attention when it comes to design and style detail. These rooms specifically are becoming more an extension of one’s lifestyle and personal taste than ever before, and websites such as Pinterest and Houzz are having an incredible influence on buyer’s options- elevating their design wish lists and arming them with the visuals they need before visiting their design centers.
Builders and Developers are seeing current design concepts revolve around modern, clean lines which make the popular open floorplan feel even more spacious. Light and airy backgrounds highlighted with bright, bold colors are dominating local color selection sheets.
“Regarding color trends for 2017, it is all over the board,” said Vanessa Jenkins, Executive Vice President at Preston Development Company. “While still a fantastic base versus the more traditional cream or white, gray is losing its luster as the main color. We are now seeing lots of teals, oranges and violets.”
A new and exciting color palette is just the beginning of changes which we will see gracing our kitchen and bath designs.
“It is also nice to see more attention to powder rooms and baths as people are being more creative in these rooms,” said Jenkins, as she explains that these smaller spaces allow for higher end materials to be used. “More texture is being used on the walls with unexpected materials such as wood, marble and tile in interesting patterns. We are also seeing cleaner and sleeker plumbing fixtures being used, even with traditional décor.”
Christine Brown, Design Gallery Manager for HHHunt Homes, agrees that clients are trying to be more creative with patterns and designs such as using a herringbone detail on the floors as well as the backsplash. “Also, hexagon, rain drop and baroque designs are becoming more popular as people are getting away from the linear looking tiles and patterns.” Brown has noticed more intricate tile designs (think hand-painted shapes and graphics stemming from the Mexican and Spanish cultures) popping up on décor-related webpages as well. While those have not yet been requested by many of her homeowners, Brown thinks it is just a matter of time. “As these become more popular, people will try to recreate the looks they are seeing by getting manufactured products which provide the same look for less money.”
Despite the heightened fame of more minimalist lines and fixtures, natural woods and elements have not been discarded, just repackaged. Bathroom spaces are going more towards airy and open with a white on white base and accent options in grays, blues and blacks. It also remains important to have a spa feel in the bathroom through large showers and free-standing tubs.
“There is still a concentration of bringing the outside indoors with materials such as pebbles on the master bathroom shower pan as well as tile which resembles natural wood,” explains Brown.
In the kitchen, the accent colors being used on the cabinetry (including two-toned cabinetry designs) now include some of the darker blues and navy. These are pairing beautifully with the classically elegant gold fixtures now popping up in kitchen and bathroom charrettes. But gold is just one of many fixture finishes that are available and “matchy-matchy” is no longer the name of the game.
“When it comes to your fixtures, there is no right or wrong,” says Brown. “You can mix your oil-rubbed bronze with your brushed chrome or nickel.”
Another aspect of the kitchen which has taken on a life of its own is the pantry. No longer merely a space to store canned goods and dog food, the pantry has become an additional area to express personal style with textured wallpaper and pendant lights. Barn doors are still a popular choice for the pantry entryway but are in competition with frosted and etched glass doors. Regarding countertops, quartz remains the first choice as buyers now expect granite to be the standard with quartz as the fun upgrade. Its new offerings feature recycled glass with bright, beautiful colors and muted, spa-like shades of blues and greens. Quartz also continues to beat out marble, which can offer warranty issues and concerns with staining. All of these changes to the heart of the home are being accentuated by the newest update in the appliance world: black stainless steel. Due to its inclusion in many HGTV® programs, the public is becoming more aware of this offering and is getting excited about including it in their dream kitchen design.
While it is helpful for people to bring in their inspirational photos from different television shows or websites, Brown says that buyers do not always have realistic expectations of cost or logistics. She can offer additional ideas to bridge the gap by merging their visions with her different options. “Most people will choose one of our upgrades rather than embark on a DIY project right after closing,” Brown explains.
However, design media has helped with educating buyers on the concept of “The Smart Home” and possibilities on how to include all of these trendy gadgets in the kitchen and bathroom. Fun options such as hidden televisions in the bathroom mirror and motion sense water faucets are just a few of the ideas that are becoming more mainstream.
“In the next decade, I think we are going to see everyone moving towards the smart home concept,” says Tiffany Sayer of AAA Blinds and Shutters. “In fact, the millennials will demand it as it is more energy efficient and allows them to control things even when they are not at home.”
Sayer explains further that both the simpler, cleaner look as well as the smart home philosophy are already transcending into the window treatments and blinds world.
“Roller shades! Roller shades! Roller shades!” exclaims Sayer as she mentions that her buyers are asking for motorized options and trending towards the smart home of the future. “We are going away from fussiness. People want low-maintenance and cordless features that are remote-controlled. “
The other positive aspect to roller shades for both the kitchen and the bath are that they are easy to clean, a screen material that you can damp wipe, and come in a variety of colors and designs. “These are a product which lends itself to any design style,” says Sayer. “Whereas if you want something more along the lines of a plantation blind; you may have pigeon-holed yourself into one look. People are choosing natural elements with a cotton or linen effect. Soft grays and creams serve as the base with accent colors in teals, dark blues and yellows and everything is geometric to achieve that ‘high/low glam’ look.”
To recap, you cannot go wrong with white or gray, but do not hesitate to flirt with some vibrant color schemes and include your personality in every aspect of the room from faucets to light fixtures and beyond!