2018 Kitchen & Bath Design Finds & Trends

by Karen LeBlanc

Trendspotting at KBIS 2018

The 2018 NKBA Kitchen and Bath Industry Show offers a first look at the latest design trends and product innovations for the home. App-driven appliances and smart home connectivity continue to blur the boundaries between the real and virtual world as all-knowing Alexa sits in the cloud overseeing our devices via Amazon’s Echo and Google Home. As smart products and appliances get smarter, what was once a “trend” has now settled into a new state of being.

I just recently built a new home where I can boss around all its inner-workings with the command of my voice and the omnipresent Alexa. My smart home assistant controls my thermostats, lights, refrigerator, oven, doorbell, security cameras, smart TVs, and knows my favorite playlists and podcasts. Sleek, tubular Echo devices sit in each room at attention and in perfect sync with my home’s modern decor.

One of my Amazon Echo devices that operates my smart home

What I can say about this synergistic relationship between design and technology is that it’s creating a fresh, exciting aesthetic in the home where sleek digital touch screens replace knobs and buttons, color changing LEDs illuminate in lieu of incandescent bulbs and new silhouettes recalibrate rooms. Case in point, this Real Rain overhead shower panel from Kohler powered by its DTV+ technology with pre-programmed spa-like experiences that can be customized and controlled by a digital touchscreen and voice.

 

Voice controlled lighted mirrors are yet another example. The Verdera mirror is embedded with Amazon Alexa to respond to voice commands that adjust the mirror’s lighting levels and play music. 

 The Verdera Lighted Mirrors by Kohler with Amazon Alexa

The Verdera Lighted Mirrors by Kohler with Amazon Alexa

 The Verdera Lighted Mirrors by Kohler with Amazon Alexa

The Verdera Lighted Mirrors by Kohler with Amazon Alexa

Without belaboring the marvels of smart home technology baked into almost every household item, here’s what’s pinging my design radar at KBIS/IBS 2018:

Rose Gold Finishes:

Maybe all that Millennial pink from 2017 fabrics and accessories is seeping into metallics or perhaps we desire a warmer alternative to the ubiquitous chrome and steel. Whatever the root cause, Rose Gold is having a moment in home decor, especially in fittings and fixtures. At KBIS/IBS, I saw a lot of Rose Gold and I have to say that it plays perfectly with one of the latest trends, mixed metals.

Rose Gold Faucet sits in the mix of brushed Gold, chrome and other finishes at the Kohler booth

Rose Gold Faucet sits in the mix of brushed Gold, chrome and other finishes at the Kohler booth

Rose Gold, Brushed Gold, Brushed Brass and Oil-Rubbed Bronze are among the trending mixed metals dictating the latest designs. These faucets are from Kohler.

Rose Gold, Brushed Gold, Brushed Brass and Oil-Rubbed Bronze are among the trending mixed metals dictating the latest designs. These faucets are from Kohler.

Basket Lighting:

A tisket a tasket, the basket is now lighting de jour. Basket light fixtures configured in clusters with random shapes and styles were everywhere as statement-making focal points casting interesting visual grids from LED bulbs within.  These woven shades crossover just about all style genres from modern to farmhouse chic, and industrial to transitional when paired with supporting accessories and furnishings.

Picture Sinks:

Picture this: a sink with a scenic vignette, a Kodak moment captured on a porcelain bowl. This is one of my fav design finds at KBIS/IBS for its attempt at making the sink centerstage in bathroom design. Feast your eyes on this colorful butterfly-floralscape from Kohler #ArtInOddPlaces.

picture sink by Kohler

picture sink by Kohler

Patterned Sinks:

I like the etching in this line of patterned sinks— the subtle artistry at work creates a visual surprise upon closer inspection. What I’m seeing is an appreciation of the sink as a canvas for art, something that is happening on a larger scale in the design world as furniture manufacturers commission or license artworks to imprint on credenzas, coffee tables, chairs and more, liberating art from wall space.

etched patterned sinks by Kohler

etched patterned sinks by Kohler

etched patterned sinks by Kohler

etched patterned sinks by Kohler

etched patterned sinks by Kohler

etched patterned sinks by Kohler

Appliance Art:

SMEG is on board with this whole idea of the appliance as canvas, debuting its Dolce & Gabbana designed line. Art in unusual spaces is a direction I suspect more designers will take their work in 2018 since authentic spaces dictate many of the trends.

Dolce & Gabbana Appliances by SMEG

Dolce & Gabbana Appliances by SMEG

Dolce & Gabbana Appliances by SMEG

Dolce & Gabbana Appliances by SMEG

Glass Panels with Texture, Fabrics, and Patterns :

I’m also seeing a lot of large format glass panels with unique patterning, fabric or textures underneath clad vanities, walls, and furniture that emote the look of shiny but preserved patinas and antique mirrored surfaces.

Vetrite glass panel surfaces with textural, fabric and patina layers underneath

Vetrite glass panel surfaces with textural, fabric and patina layers underneath

IMG_5926

Steampunk Kitchen:

The latest trend report from NKBA says contemporary, transitional and farmhouse style kitchens are the top three popular styles. Industrial aesthetics are waning, according to that same report,  but at the show, I saw an interesting twist on the farmhouse-industrial style that nods to Steampunk influences.  The Litze collection by Brizo marries mechanic motifs with knurled faucet heads to create an aesthetic in its own category.

 The Litze collection by Brizo

The Litze collection by Brizo

 Knurled faucet heads fromtThe Litze collection by Brizo

Knurled faucet heads from the Litze collection by Brizo

Vise grips as bookends add a Steampunk element to this kitchen design by Brizo

Vise grips as bookends add a Steampunk element to this kitchen design by Brizo

The Litze Collection By Brizo

Now, on to my unique design finds including this Fontanina faucet by NASONI with a built-in spout on the head that serves as a drinking water fountain. This was definitely a show stopper for its innovative design that promotes health and wellness (big buzzwords in kitchen and bath products at the moment) NASONI says “Now you can remove the possibility of sickness and ill-health, throw away your rinsing cup and the bacteria that it houses, and enjoy the health rewards of a water fountain solution in the bathroom.”

I’ll share more design finds and trend takeaways from 2018 KBIS/IBS that center around storage solutions in my next blog post.

For more kitchen trends and design ideas, check out 15 Kitchen Design Ideas to Make Your Kitchen Pop for Cheap on the blog Jen Reviews.

Also, subscribe to my youtube channel for regular episodes of The Design Tourist for what’s new and next in design.

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