Designs that accommodate the COVID-induced lifestyle of working and learning from home are the latest trends in kitchens and baths.

“Most of our customers are working from home or helping their families with remote learning,” said Andy Johnson, CEO of StoneWorks, in written responses to questions about kitchen and bath trends. “We’re seeing more kitchen designs with open layouts and plenty of countertop space. Customers also want a kitchen that’s easy to keep clean and take care of.”

A report by the National Kitchen and Bath Association supports the trend. The trade association surveyed its members last fall about the impact of COVID on kitchen and bath design. Nearly threequarters of designers are seeing more interest from customers to invest in their homes, NKBA said.

“Homeowners are willing to invest in their home because of COVID, especially for easy-to-clean surfaces, flexible workspaces, enhanced outdoor living areas and better storage solutions,” NKBA said in its Design Trends 2021 report.


Another outcome of the pandemic is a hot real estate market that includes the Hilton Head-Bluffton area. Pending sales were up nearly 43 percent, yearto- date in February, according to the Hilton Head MLS. People are buying and updating older homes. NKBA’s report showed that 71 percent of renovation projects were on homes more than 11 years old.

“In recent years, the trend has leaned more heavily in favor of updated-renovated resale homes,” said Chip Collins, Owner/Broker of Collins Group Realty, in written responses to questions. “Now, as we see buyers eager to enter the market due to historically low inventory, they don’t have many opportunities to be selective. Many buyers are seizing the opportunity just to get into a specific community, or property type, that fits within their budget when something comes on the market.”

When customers buy existing homes, redesigning kitchen and bath space is at the top of the list, Johnson said.

Kitchens are trending to more open layouts with larger islands and other conversation areas. The designs will incorporate “minimalistic styles and touches of organic or natural materials,” according to NKBA. Kitchens will also have more dedicated device charging and viewing, video communications and “emergency power for the refrigerator.”


Other priorities include separate workspaces, enhanced technology, and expanded storage, NKBA reported.

“Consumers are prioritizing functionality in their kitchen spaces,” Johnson said. “While working from home, they are picking up their laptop and moving throughout the house to find a quiet place to work.”

In the bathroom people are removing tubs to increase shower space. They are also connecting closet and bathroom areas.

“Technology remains key, especially for smart controls for floor/shower temperature, water conservation, motion sensor lighting and leak detector sensors with mobile alerts,” NKBA reported.

home4Homeowners want bathrooms that are relaxing. Designs “that promote a clean and calm feeling” are popular. “We’re seeing our customers redesign their bath spaces to create a spa-like environment, especially by selecting quartz or quartzite countertops,” said Kim Thorn, sales designer at StoneWorks.

Outside, homeowners are creating new spaces or upgrading old ones, NKBA reported. Customers are putting in enhanced seating areas, outdoor kitchens, fireplace/fire pits and protection from the weather for extended use.

Homeowners in the Hilton Head-Bluffton area may not want to wait too long to begin their projects because of the heightened demand for renovations.

“If you are thinking of recreating a space, we recommend meeting with a designer as soon as possible to start planning your project,” said Johnson of StoneWorks. “There are many homeowners looking to get started on a redesign project, so it is a busy time of the year to remodel.”