The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) recently released its annual trends report. Keep these trends in mind as you work with clients to plan their dream homes.

  • Species Variety: Maple and cherry have both lost ground among kitchen designers. The number of NKBA designers specifying cherry cabinetry fell from 80% in 2010 to 69% in 2012. Maple dropped from 77% last year to 70% now. Meanwhile, oak, walnut, birch, and bamboo have all grown considerably.
  • Darken Up: More than half of kitchen designers 58% say they’ve recently specified dark finishes for natural cabinetry, compared with 30% who have specified light finishes.
  • Glass Act: Ceramic tile backsplashes are in decline, and glass is on the rise. Natural stone, granite, and quartz also remain popular due to their ability to blend with countertops.
  • Light It Right: Despite the higher initial cost, LED lighting specifications jumped from 50% in 2010 to 70% heading into 2012. Compact fluorescents fell from 36% last year to 26% recently.
  • Pull It Off: Just over a third of designers specified standard kitchen faucets this year, while 93% reported specifying pull-out faucets.
  • Sleek Storage: After losing ground to decorative wall mirrors in recent years, the NKBA says that designers are rediscovering medicine cabinets as effective ways to gain storage without increasing the footprint of a room. Medicine cabinets dropped from 43% specification in 2010 to 36% in 2011, but have risen to 66% in the last year.

—Lauren Hunter, associate editor, REMODELING.