A vast amount of companies – from appliance makers to high-end bathroom suppliers to lighting specialists – now sell into the homeowner market, both for new home construction, as well as the burgeoning popularity of kitchen and bath renovations.
Drawing on innovation, creativity, and style, they’re having a profound impact on what consumers aspire to do – and will willingly spend – on home improvements.
As I walked the expanse of the Las Vegas Convention Center taking in the sights, sounds, and innovations on display at the 2016 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, I identified 12 key trends important for businesses that touch the home-focused consumer, which will rise up in 2016:
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Lights That Sparkle and Change Colors Will Start Appearing Everywhere in the Home
From lights above the shower to lights that make shower water look like a disco to mood lighting rimming kitchen cabinets to changing the color of light in gas fireplaces – lighting becomes a true design element. This trend – which started with light bulbs that come with an app to change their hue – has exploded across every room of the house, and innovative brands have added lighting where homeowners never dreamed, such as rimming the ceiling molding of bedrooms.
Who Wants to Make the Trek to the Kitchen?
Forget the fitness tracker movement. Kitchen appliance manufacturers have all started showcasing under- the-counter fridges, so cold beverages or snacks await homeowners in the bedroom, TV room, or anywhere else in the house where families sack out and can’t be bothered to work their way to the kitchen fridge. Plus, makers of model homes have borrowed a page from leading hotels and now show coffee makers right there in the master bathroom so morning espresso or a nightly decaf is simply a button push away.
Drawers Have Never Been So Organized
Where once closets garnered endless attention for organizational solutions, that same intensity of focus and straighten-up wizardry in which every thing has its place has shifted to the kitchen.
Forget silverware inserts or knife holders, cabinet designers now have everything cleverly built in – from cut outs for each specialty tool to built-in canisters for sugar and flour to spice storage units and glide-out racks for pots and pans. Cupboards with the push of a button lower to give easy access to upper shelves – no more reaching, no more kitchen stepladders – and cup holders for coffee simply lower down as needed. Drawers have split levels, so when they open fully, the upper tray can be pushed back to reveal a whole new tray underneath.
So yesterday. KBIS showed how gas fireplaces have turned artisan with warm fire lights dancing across clear glass stones in long and narrow bands that shimmer and take the place of wall art. Designers will, however, have to provide homeowners with a heads up that gas lines will need to be run in order to fuel them, and installation can be tricky.
Kitchen Brands Make Fantasy Homes Happen
As kitchen brands take innovation to the next level, appliances have become more aspirational – fitting right in with the high-end residences of homeowners’ dreams. The GE Monogram Pizza Oven resulted from research into the different temperatures pizza – in all its tantalizing varieties – requires and built these temperature settings into the oven.
Moreover, Viking Range showcased its Professional TurboChef oven that allows the home cook to prepare foods faster than ever thought possible.
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Backyards Become the New Gathering Spot
Summertime – or make that year-round for temperate climates – and the living is easy and outdoors. From textured, never fade wood-like decks to outdoor appliances that outshine the ones in our kitchens, the household sector knows that entertaining outdoors is the wave of the future. Built-in units now have options for everything – including grills that turn into smokers, nugget ice makers, butane burners, and a beverage fridge.
Retro Rustic Rules
From barn doors to farmhouse sinks – rustic retro emerged as a hot style trend at this year’s show. KBIS also showcased the intersection of rustic style and product innovation with Stikwood, a company that takes recycled wood – even recycled sports floors – and turns it into peel-and-stick natural wood siding to change up walls in homes across America.
Appliances Turn Pro
With an eye toward how passionately today’s consumers feel about food and cooking, leading kitchen brands have created a movement toward more professional kitchen equipment.
For example, Viking has designed professional-grade appliances and fit them into home settings. It even extends to the handles – kitchen manufacturers have replaced traditional ones with thick stainless bars – on ovens to fridges – so they more closely resemble professional kitchens.
Toilets Turn High-End
Bathroom suppliers have zeroed in on the family toilet for a stunning array of high-end updates. These new toilets feature heated seats, water-saving flushes, and rinsing that makes bidets look antiquated – consumers may never get up from them! And to make sure homeowners can find them, they have a nightlight built in that illuminates the water. Of course, for the latest top-of-the-line models, consumers also need to be flush with lots of money to afford them, and some require an electrical outlet adjacent to the toilet, which most homes simply don’t have.
Two New Buzzwords Abound
So while the standard configuration for a fridge and freezer unit may be side-by-side, appliance makers now allow homeowners to personalize their appliances by splitting them: having the fridge in the kitchen and the freezer in the pantry. From colors to shelving, brands now offer consumers the option to build appliances much like they can now configure cabinets, without having to make pricey customization orders.
Home builders continue to target Millennial consumers with spaces that change as homeowners mature and evolve. At KBIS, builders created two model homes completely built around this concept that offered Millennials the flexibility to morph a rentable, separate-entrance bedroom, bath, and mini-kitchen into a primary bedroom as needed, or eventually reconvert it into a bedroom for an aging parent. Designers have created spaces throughout these homes where the same space can move over time from a nursery to a home office to a teen TV enclave. However, only time will tell if Millennials will commit in significant ways to home-buying.
Unexpected Colors Popped Up Everywhere
From deep pine green cabinets to vibrant blue refrigerators, a number of brands showcased an aura of eye-popping color that will allow homeowners to take the chill off their winter cocooning.
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Affordable Artisan Glass
Bathroom sinks get a stylish makeover as MR Direct introduced a cost-effective line of beautiful bowls in tempered glass that can glam up the average vanity. The glass basins can be paired with different faucet choices and result in an easy-to-get art museum-quality look.