The recent 2005 National Kitchen and Bath Show, held May 9-12 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, showcased new products and trends to a sold-out exhibition hall.

This event gives professionals, and those interested in the industry, the chance to meet, greet, show, and discuss what is new and exciting in their fields. A press release from the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show and Conference noted that this event allows "dealers, designers, distributors, manufacturers, retailers, consumers, and home centers [to] participate in round table discussions, network with industry leaders, and enroll in professional development courses."

But how do these new trends affect actual homeowners?

If you are planning on staying in your current house long-term, then some of the amenities and improvements may be an easy way of improving your overall quality of life. For instance, many of the leading washer and dryer manufacturers have come out with taller units, which for anyone with lower back problems is a wonderful modification. With these advances improving in affordability, the average homeowner can customize their own house for a fairly reasonable price.

If renovation is on your mind, then perhaps you should consider some of the more modern layouts for kitchens. This year recommends opening layouts up, giving precedence to clean lines and great views. (Click here for a great example.)

To achieve these clean lines and open views, you may want to consider using "built-ins." Some of these featured at the kitchen and bath show: microwave drawers, refrigerator drawers, in-wall dishwashers, and built-in coffee makers.

If you plan on selling your home in the near future, the amenities could be just what buyers are looking for, or just what edges you in front of your competition. And then conversely, if you are looking to buy, some of the new innovations and standards may be something you want to specify to your agent when beginning your search. I recommend surfing the net a bit to see what new gadgets and gimmicks the big manufacturers have come out with recently.

What are the new trends?

Danny Lipford (contributor and host of "Today's Homeowner") said of the event on CBS' Today Show, "People are spending more on certain fixtures in their home and feeling like they can step out on the normal look of things, like [with the] waterfall sink ... . More than anything, we saw the furniture-style cabinetry and the European influence on a lot of the designs."

Some of the main trends for 2005 Kitchens:

  • open views
  • high tech appliances (smart fridges, built-in TV units, touch-pad screens)
  • detailing (inlaid surfaces)
  • furniture style cabinetry (light paint, dark stains)
  • clean lines (Asian and European influenced design)
  • built-in TVs
  • stainless steel

In the bathroom, look for:

  • touchless faucets
  • soft-closing toilet lids

As we entered the information age, many consumers and homeowners experienced technology overload. But savvy designers have started to turn that around. One no longer has twelve different appliances strewn across a counter top. Now, the counter top, whether it be marble or stainless steel, is the focal point of the room. Intricate design and inlaid tabletops are making a comeback. Simple beauty no longer has to be sacrificed for functionality nor vice versa. These clean lines and functionality are what kitchen and bath are all about for the coming year.

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