Many people say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. That may be true most of the time, but not when the National Kitchen & Bath Association and many of its 60,000 members convened earlier this year for the organization’s annual convention.
These interior designers are spreading the word far beyond the Nevada border about trends in their industry and sharing with their clients new ideas from the convention.
The top 10 national kitchen trends in 2015, based on a survey of NKBA designers, are:
- Clean lines with an overall contemporary feeling, which can mean a fusion of styles or multiple colors in one kitchen. (Transitional style still runs a close second in popularity, however.)
- European-styled cabinets.
- Multiples of appliances in one kitchen.
- Steam ovens.
- Pieces that look like furniture.
- Outdoor kitchens.
- Replacing standard kitchen tables with counters or tall gathering tables.
- TVs and docking stations.
- Wine refrigerators.
- A focus on the user experience, from easy maintenance to accessible design, and considering the needs of all users in the space, including pets.
White is still the most common color scheme for kitchens, followed by gray, according to the survey. Additionally, more than half of the designers surveyed said the price tag on their kitchen projects is between $20,000 to $49,000, with about 40 percent of projects costing more than $50,000 for design, materials and labor.
National trends usually originate in large cities like Atlanta, and take a while to make their way to the Lowcountry.
“It takes trends longer to hit here than it does in some of the bigger cities,” said Courtney Potts, president of the Georgia/South Carolina Coastal Chapter of the National Kitchen & Bath Association. “A lot of times, what they show at the kitchen and bath show will wind up trickling down here three, four, five years later.”
But Hilton Head Island and Lowcountry interior designs sometimes precede trends that attract national attention.
Potts has been incorporating cutting-edge trends for several years with her clients at Center Point Cabinets in Ridgeland before the styles took center stage this year in Las Vegas.
For instance, certain kitchen colors, furniture-style pieces and wine refrigerators/beverage centers have been staples in her portfolio for some time.
“We’re definitely seeing a shift toward gray, like gray and cooler color schemes more so than the creams and antique whites that we were seeing — grays, blues, greens,” Potts said. “Gray has definitely been one of our big sellers.”
Potts also said “a lot of folks are doing contrasting color on the island to set (cabinetry) apart and really make it look like its own entity.”
Furniture-style pieces are back, but without the carvings and details of the past. “It’s more square posts or a simple kind of turned leg,” Potts said. “A lot of people are still sticking with the flat panel kind of Shaker style. Pretty clean and simple.”
Maple cabinetry continues to be popular, but an old-time favorite is having a second coming: oak.
“The buzz in the industry is that oak will start resurfacing, especially painted distressed oak. So it’s not your momma’s oak,” Potts said. “It’s kind of taken on its own life in a more contemporary realm in darker chocolate finishes.”
Also in the kitchen, granite countertops have not given an inch in its dominance as the preferred material of choice.
“Granite is still pretty much the No. 1 countertop material we see, and a lot of folks are experimenting with different textures, like a leathered or honed finish in lieu of the standard polished finish,” Potts said. “Marble was once reserved primarily for bathrooms, but we’ve definitely seen an increase in its use in kitchens, particularly in the white/gray family, such as Carrara or any of the Calacatta marbles. While the use of natural stone is still big, the use of engineered quartz products — Silestone, Cambria, etc. — has definitely picked up some steam.”
When it comes to national design trends in the bathroom, contemporary, zen-like retreats are in vogue.
The top 10 national bathroom trends in 2015, based on the NKBA designers’ survey, are:
- Clean, white, contemporary designs.
- Floating vanities.
- Electric heated floors.
- Purple haze.
- Trough sinks.
- User experience (ease of use and maintenance) and accessibility.
- Innovative storage.
- Showers and freestanding tub
White and gray are the most common colors for bathrooms, with steam showers, electric heated floors, anti-fog mirrors and lighted showers emerging as favored amenities. Additionally, more than half of the designers surveyed said the price tag on their bathroom projects totaled $10,000 to $29,000, with about 30 percent costing more than $30,000 for design, materials and labor.
“Pretty much everything now is encased in tile of some sort” in the Lowcountry, said Potts, adding that natural stone and porcelain are the preferred choices, along with travertine and marble.
Driftwood finishes, gray stains, low-maintenance showers, higher vanities, creative storage spaces and stand-alone tubs also are trendy, she noted.
But let’s not forget that Lowcountry residents and their interior design tastes are unique.
“The Lowcountry look is so diverse because so many people come from so many different places here,” Potts said.