Transitional Kitchens Gaining in Popularity

ORLANDO, FL Sleek, contemporary styling, a rustic farmhouse flavor, and the combination of clean lines and delicate curves that characterize the transitional kitchen are the dominant styles heading into 2018. At the same time, traditional styling is steadily fading in popularity, after years of dominance.

That’s the key conclusion of the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s “2018 Design Trends Study,” whose findings were released at January’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in Orlando, FL.

The NKBA’s annual study probed current and emerging trends in styles, materials, colors and finishes for cabinets, appliances, countertop surfaces, plumbingware, lighting fixtures and other kitchen products. Findings were based on a survey of more than 800 industry professionals, including U.S. and Canadian designers, remodelers, architects, dealers and manufacturers.

“Clean, minimalist and modern with a touch of luxury – that’s the essence of newly built or remodeled U.S. kitchens,” according to the Hackettstown, NJ-based NKBA. “After years of dominance, traditional styles have been usurped by transitional and contemporary looks.”

Among the specific trends identified by the NKBA’s study were the following:


Farmhouse kitchens are the most popular style in U.S. kitchens, with 79% of surveyed design professionals reporting it as “trendy” or “very trendy.” Transitional and Contemporary styles are also in vogue, earning trendy votes from 77% and 73% of respondents, respectively.


Paint is the predominant choice for cabinet facing, with 86% of those surveyed indicating the look’s trendiness. Wood was second at 74%, while glass trailed at 44%. In terms of construction, homeowners have a slight preference for frameless (68%) as opposed to framed cabinets (57%). For door types, homeowners choose full overlay (86%) over inset (49%).


Quartz is, by far, the preferred choice for kitchen countertops, with 94% of industry professionals reporting it as trendy. Granite and marble are far less popular, at 65% and 41%, respectively. Ceramic or porcelain tile (85%) leads glass (63%), natural stone tile (58%) and quartz (53%) for backsplash choices. Hardwood floors continue to trend in the kitchen, with 78% of respondents indicating its demand. Ceramic and porcelain tile were the second-most popular, at 68%, and engineered wood was third at 56%.


The three trendiest styles in kitchen sinks are undermount (92%), single bowl (81%) and farmhouse (81%). Stainless steel is the most popular kitchen sink material, with 84% of industry professionals reporting that it’s trendy. Single-handle and pull-down spray are the most preferred styles of kitchen faucets, at 90% and 88%. In terms of materials, most homeowners are electing stainless steel (79%) or brushed nickel (76%), and opting for either a stainless steel (80%) or brushed nickel (78%) finish.


White and gray continue their dominance for hottest kitchen colors, with 90% and 89% of respondents selecting them as top choices. Other colors trail far behind: blue (52%), black (41%) and beige/bone (40%).


Homeowners are enjoying some of the latest refrigeration advances, with refrigerator/freezer columns ranking as the trendiest type of unit (55%) and French-door refrigerators the most trendy style (85%). In addition, more than three-quarters of pros report that wine refrigerators are popular among homeowners. Among cooktops, electric models have fallen out of favor, selected by just 28% of respondents. Gas is far and away the most popular at 85%, followed by induction at 67%. Convection ovens were reported popular by 80% of pros, followed by gas ranges at 75%. U.S. homeowners overwhelmingly choose door styles (84%) that are built-in (85%). According to 22% of surveyed professionals, it’s common for homeowners to install more than one dishwasher in their kitchen.


Homeowners primarily opt for functional lighting, such as under-cabinet lighting (93%) and recessed lights (89%). Pendant lights are also popular as a decorative option (89%).


According to industry pros, the percentage of U.S. homeowners who have already integrated technology into their kitchen designs is relatively low. Wall-mounted flat screens are, by far, the most popular device homeowners currently have in their kitchens (62%), followed by docking/charging stations (39%). Topping the list of other devices being seriously considered by homeowners are flush-mounted lighting controls (57%), keypads to control lighting (50%), motion-sensor task lighting (49%) and voice-enabled automation devices (47%). ▪

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