Close 2021 and look to the future


Trend detection

Well-being, technology and the connection with nature have been dominant themes in kitchen and bathroom design this year and are expected to gain momentum in 2022.

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Jamie Gold | November 29, 2021

What a long and strange year it has been! Let’s take a look back at the dominant trends of 2021 and anticipate what 2022 will likely bring.

While it’s difficult to predict with any clarity, given some major unknowns, here are some hot spots from across the industry and the country from unique perspectives:

  • Tatiana Machado-Rosas, designer based in San Diego, head of the design department at Jackson Design and Remodeling;
  • Susan Serra, kitchen and bathroom designer based in Long Island, New York;
  • Josh Christian, CEO of the Home Technology Association;
  • Bob Gifford, Director of Business Development for luxury retailer Hastings Tile & Bath in New York;
  • Susan Chung, vice president of research with the American Society of Interior Designers;
  • Emily Clark, Boise, Idaho-based custom home builder of Clark & ​​Co. Homes.

Well-being trends are accelerating

Designers have focused on wellness for decades with the interest of some customers, but the pandemic has really brought out its importance. Literally! “For 2021, the continued attention to health and hygiene has helped revitalize the kitchen,” observes Chung. She also sees its importance elsewhere, noting that “the bathroom has really become a place to escape the stress and fear of the outside world.” Well-being has also appeared in outdoor spaces, working from home, and mindfulness. “As the home became a hub for all types of colliding activities, homeowners sought to design it as a way to reduce stress and promote tranquility,” concludes the ASID executive.

Beyond the spaces mentioned above, well-being manifested itself in related rooms. “The transition from what was called the ‘mud room’ to what is now called the ‘laundry room’ or pre-wash area; so many people wanted a place to drop off their groceries and sanitize items before they got home, ”Gifford shares. This is linked to a growing interest in hands-free functionality, he explains: “Soap dispensers, faucets, hand towels – anything that gives people a sense of comfort and control over their surroundings. “

Kitchen Design Trends

“Multipurpose kitchens with open floor plans have continued to be a strong trend as customers seek to make their kitchen the vibrant heart of their home,” says Machado-Rosas. “The integration of smart technology, especially with more people using the kitchen space to work from home or attend virtual classrooms, has become even more essential. In addition, customers have shown a renewed interest in the hygiene of their spaces, which has led to a desire for easy-to-maintain materials for countertops and flooring, ”she adds. Conversely, the design director sees a resurgence of natural stone for sinks and countertops, attributing it to a desire for calm stemming from a connection to nature.

Across the country, Serra sees three dominant trends: “Well-being on steroids, convenience of cooking and visual comfort. Health and cleanliness were the main concerns of the customers. This included “performance materials in the surfaces, as well as devices [and fixtures] that promote healthy lifestyles and preserve our health, such as renewed attention to adequate ventilation, improved touchless faucets, and larger sinks that have become common – often with two faucets’ as a few examples.

Changes in shopping and dining habits are also influencing kitchen design, says the New York designer. “A new type of hybrid cuisine has appeared; time (but not too much) is taken to create healthy, homemade meals from fresh, quality foods, assisted by smart and efficient devices. Buying a freezer for bulk food storage, better cabinet storage solutions, and designing more counter space creates a near-utopia for one or more cooks.

Visual comfort is also a trend, Serra observed. “While the kitchen has taken on more lifestyle functions over the past 18 months, homeowners are much more open to creative design solutions,” she shares. This means larger windows, blends of nature-inspired textures and finishes, and cozy dining rooms with flexible designs or banquettes. “The transition of kitchen aesthetics to integrate more seamlessly with surrounding rooms decreases the perception of the kitchen as a workspace and brings it closer to a living space”, suggests. she.

Clark has also seen kitchens evolve, she comments, citing an “expansion of the back kitchen or pantry, work areas as opposed to a work triangle and multiple mini kitchens for a living. multigenerational “. Antimicrobial counters, touchless faucets and chef sinks also promote healthy living and cooking, the homebuilder notes. Natural finishes, warm woods, and creative design solutions with saturated cabinet colors are also popping up in her northwest region.

Bathroom design trends

“The emphasis in the design of the bathroom has been to create a highly personalized space that communicates joy and tranquility,” observes Machado-Rosas. “Guests are looking for a personal retreat with a spa atmosphere where they can truly relax.” These include steam showers, heated floors, trendy – sometimes personalized – tubs, and premium features to meet personalized customer needs and wants. Natural materials also appear in these luxurious bathrooms, notes the San Diego designer. “Balancing porcelain or glass tiles with wood and natural stones and amplifying natural light has been popular,” she adds.

Clark also sees the trend for personalized luxury in his Idaho homes. These include “sculptural tubs, steam showers with light, sound and aromatherapy, tiles with hand-cut looks and subtle tone differences, fluted or fluted textures, oversized rugs and sheer curtains.” .

“Throughout 2021, we worked with designers who wanted (and still want) the flexibility to customize their projects using different colors and finishes for their vanities,” recalls Hastings’ Gifford. “For bathtubs, solid surface materials remain popular because they have a soft texture and are easy to clean and maintain. The New York-based retailer has also seen strong interest in hands-free faucets with white finishes and versatile wall-mounted vanities.

Technological trends

Technology has continued to evolve in kitchen and bathroom projects, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Smart features are increasingly present in kitchens and bathrooms, notes Christian, CEO of the Home Technology Association. “We’re seeing entertainment products installed in kitchens like waterproof TVs built into the counter backsplash, charging stations, shelves for cooking tutorials or recipe browsing, built-in overhead speakers or a simple wireless speaker on the counter. He also sees sleek built-in sockets, lighting keypads and recessed concealment systems so the electronics in the room are present but hidden.

“With bathrooms, we see a lot of circadian rhythm lighting being installed so that the time spent in the bath is consistent with an owner’s sleep cycles,” he says. Other bathroom technology trends cited by designers include smart toilets, upgraded shower systems, integrated sound and lighting systems, and smart blinds.

Machado-Rosas sums it up this way: “We have seen a significant increase in the number of customers requesting smart technology that is fully integrated into their homes. Due to the combination of improved accessibility and ease of use, we expect to see this trend grow exponentially in the years to come. ”

Predictions for 2022

ASID’s Chung predicts that flexible spaces, universal design, locally sourced products due to the supply line and sustainability issues will trend in 2022. She also believes the pandemic has increased the perceived value of designers by helping their clients meet the challenges brought on by the pandemic.

Christian from HTA foresees a strong push towards wellness technology, indoor and outdoor home theater spaces and death (at least in the short term) in “just in time” delivery systems. He also sees designers working earlier in the process with tech professionals to more easily integrate their projects.

Hasting’s Gifford predicts the growing importance of video tours to replace live travel and events wherever possible. He’s also anticipating more integrated sink / vanity options, with solid-surface tubs continuing their popularity, and while no one wants to hear that, he notes, prices are rising for all products due to the increase. raw material costs.

Among the designers, Serra plans devices with scalable technology, more dining space in the kitchens and more storage for several cooks. Machado-Rosas expects technology to appear in more products and smart home systems to become more affordable, with continued attention to creating calming spaces, versatile rooms, larger pantries and more. personalized bathrooms. She also expects minimalism to be highly trending for her weaklings.
maintenance benefits.

Homebuilder Clark expects to see more hidden kitchens, induction appliances, multi-function appliances, and fewer upper cabinets. She predicts bathrooms will receive more artisanal materials, sound and light upgrades for spa effects, and even what she calls family wellness suites. These would look like high-end spa facilities with steam or sauna areas, grooming stations, and central shower stalls.

While 2021 has kept many professionals in the design industry at home, facing inventory and other challenges, 2022 is already shaping up to be a more active, in-person year. The Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, again paired with the International Builders’ Show, will meet in person in Orlando in February. Exhibitors reflecting the trends observed by these professionals will be on hand to share their products. I will be there. Are you going? â–ª

Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, MCCWC is an author, wellness design consultant, and industry speaker. His third book, Well-being by design (Simon & Schuster), published September 2020. You can find more about his wellness market presentations, books, Wellness Wednesdays conversations, and consulting services at jamiegold.net.

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