- Free Style
Because we’re spending more and more time in our kitchens and baths, there is a move away from the all-or-nothing “fitted” look of continuous counters. Look for more freestanding pieces of furniture or features with furniture like qualities, such as a cabriole leg holding up a kitchen counter. These details won’t be fussy but will further the notion that the kitchen and bath aren’t just for utilitarian cooking and bathing, but are for living.
- Artistic Upgrades
In the ongoing effort to customize our kitchens, almost anything goes. Now range hoods are works of art, literally. Already beautiful as well as functional, hoods can now be customized with panels you choose. Cupboard doors can be replaced with accent doors. Want a new backsplash? It’s as simple as applying DIY stainless tiles or installing a ready-to-hang piece of tile art. You can go from dull to dramatic, tired to trendy, in just a few minutes.
- Asian Fusion
With international style so popular at home, it’s no wonder that the Asian influence is still going strong in the kitchen, where Asian cooking is all the rage, and in the bathroom, where there is nothing like Zen comforts to help us unwind. Look for drawer pulls reminiscent of bamboo, built-in teriyaki grills and Japanese-style sliding pantry doors in the kitchen. In the bath, calming touches such as a deep soaking tub, a waterfall in the shower and vessel sinks with sleek wall-mounted hardware say Zen with a capital “Z.”
- Going Green
Eco-friendly products aren’t going to go out of style anytime soon. And now there are more ways that you can go green in the bathroom and kitchen, too, from energy-efficient dishwashers (that use less water than when you wash by hand), to environmentally sound flooring options made of reclaimed wood and tiles. Ann Sacks even makes a rugged tile from river rocks.
Forget straight lines and right angles. From egg-shaped bathtubs and round bathroom bowls to curvy kitchen and vanity counters, organic shapes are in. Even toilets, like Kohler’s oval offering called The Purist, which features no exposed plumbing, seems rooted to the ground as if it grew there. Not only are the shapes pleasing, they also encourage a more natural circular traffic flow. Imagine never bumping into a sharp corner again.
- Drawer Designs
Move over refrigerator drawers and dishwasher drawers, and say hello to the microwave drawer. Yes, that handy appliance, popcorn button and all, now comes in a drawer. What’s the big deal with drawers in the kitchen? As the kitchen has become the hub of the home, there’s a move to break up the big expanses of appliances and cut the clutter.
- High Tech
Advances in technology continue to offer us out-of-this-world options, from a TV embedded in a bathroom mirror to an oven that can be programmed to keep your food cold until it’s cooking time. You can even change the cooking directions from your office computer. Don’t have enough freezer space? High-tech progress can help you turn a fridge drawer into a freezer in no time. It can also raise the toilet seat when it sees you coming and clean the shower when you’re not around.
Built-ins are convenient and sleek, two must-haves in today’s kitchens. Think steamers and strainers, high-end coffeemakers, professional ice machines and wine coolers, knife racks, spice holders, ring holders, fondue pots, ice beds for shrimp and much, much more.
- Glass Acts
Glass is everywhere in today’s kitchens and baths, from recycled and Depression-era glass tiles to opaque glass on cooktops, refrigerators and cabinet doors. Glass mosaic tiles, Venetian glass light fixtures, translucent glass sink: They all add light and drama.
- Bathroom as Refuge
Yes, we are doing more in our bathrooms these days than just brushing our teeth. Watch for showers that offer aromatherapy, hydrotherapy and color therapy, and envision refrigerated vanity drawers for storing those refreshing tub-side beverages. With heated towel racks, suede or leather drawer pulls and stereo surround sound, the bathroom is truly a sanctuary for the senses.
Anne Krueger has written for In Style, This Old House, Martha Stewart Living and The New York Times.