If you're shopping for a new home, chances are, whether you cook or not, the kitchen is an area of great interest. The bathroom is also likely high on the list to inspect. That's because we spend a lot of time in both of these rooms, socializing and taking care of the, ahem, important stuff.
These two areas of homes are so vital that there's even an association to educate, certify industry professionals, and promote ideas for these rooms. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), founded in 1963 as The American Institute of Kitchen Dealers, has nearly 40,000 members. Earlier this year it released its top trends for kitchens and bathrooms for 2010.
Finding what you like in a home is most important but if you're considering a resale in the future, understanding what appeals to the masses can help. Here, then, is a look at some of the top trends from NKBA.
Concealed Kitchens. This doesn't mean that you walk into a home and can't find the kitchen. Instead, the kitchen area blends with other areas of the home. Formal dining spaces often aren't used much. But when a home has a kitchen that opens to a great room, it allows far more flexibility for people's lives. What may be concealed are items such as commonly used appliances. Ultimately, the harmonious blending of color, design, and functionality make kitchens aesthetically pleasing and useful. NKBA writes in a press release that, "Clean structural lines coupled with sleek color palettes enable the space to establish a distinctive identity, without overpowering the surrounding rooms."
Thirst-Quenching Stations. NKBA writes that beverage stations, complete with under-counter refrigerators that hold beverages and wine, are a new element in many kitchens. Exemplifying our attachment to our morning ritual, many of these beverage stations include a coffee station ("simple single-pot coffeemakers to larger units capable of espresso, latte, and cappuccino"), states NKBA. The design typically includes space for stemware, beverage mugs and glasses, and condiments. This setup allows people to gather to quench their thirst while being out of the way of the chefs.
Rounding Out the Edges. Think soft geometry. Countertops, islands, archways, and even light fixtures, are being designed with soft, round edges. According to NKBA, "The introduction of rounded islands and countertops carves a smooth-flowing traffic pattern throughout the room, while an appropriately placed arch will bring an overall softening to the more angular fixed features that are typical in kitchens and baths."
Varied Heights. No more monotony. Kitchen countertops, islands, and even walls are being designed for specific purposes and that means their heights are varied. The various heights create "a beautiful counterbalance."
Asian influence. There has long been a fascination with Asian countries and now it seems that the impact of Japanese design is showing up in subtle ways such as "clean lines, open spaces, and neutral color palettes with bold splashes of color in select areas," according to NKBA. The association says oftentimes there will be "one strong anchor piece of Japanese origin" that designs are built around.
Whether you're shopping for a new home or thinking of remodeling your current home, remember that trends do change. However, those that tend to stick are the ones that combine pleasing looks with highly functional features.