Newly renovated bathroom with space saving medicine cabinet and subtle, yet elegant features that are trending

Kohler bathroom

As we begin each New Year, The National Kitchen & Bath Association surveys its member designers to see which of the latest trends they have actually incorporated in their own projects and which items they believe will have a lasting impact on our homes in the future. More than 350 designers took part in the 2012 NKBA survey. Here are just a few of the bath trends they mentioned along with our views of how these trends are being applied in Charlotte homes.

Good Medicine

For quite some time, designers thought the traditional medicine cabinet was passé and scrapped the feature in favor of decorative wall mirrors. However, when space is at a premium – particularly in remodeling projects – designers are once again seeing the beauty in this simple and practical design element. (A majority of 66% of designers recently specified one in a renovation project!) A wider selection of styles make medicine cabinets attractive elements to us. We particularly like using them in conjunction with other space savers (such as built-in shower niches) to make the most of small spaces.

Gray Matters

Subtle is still in when it comes to new bathrooms and renovations, with white and off-white remaining the most popular options. Gray has recently emerged as a more refined alternative, with nearly 40% of designers reporting that they had used the hue in bathrooms. When people do want color nationally, they opt for shades of brown, green and blue. Here in Charlotte, we’re seeing more and more pops of vibrant color as people who intend to remain in their residences longer (and are thus less worried about resale value) interject more of their own personality into their homes. Really bright colors, however, are still reserved for children’s spaces, guest areas or powder rooms where making a statement is the main goal.

Picture of new remodeled bathroom showing new bathroom design trends like chrome fixtures and neutral tones of gray

Kohler bathroom

Heavy Metal

Perhaps in response to the more muted wall tones, subtle seems to be out when it comes to fixture selections. After years of brushed and satin metal finishes, polished chrome (and to a smaller extent, polished nickel) are making a huge comeback. We believe that as homeowners move away from the traditional styles (see the next trend below) that have been so strong for so long in Charlotte, we’ll see this even more locally.

Transitional Over Traditional

Amazingly, for the first time since the NKBA began tracking annual design trends, transitional has edged out traditional to become the most common style. This relaxed blend of traditional and contemporary elements seems to fit the way most homeowners live today, and that’s reflected in the fact that 59% of designers used this style in bathrooms last year. Here in Charlotte, homeowners have been mixing these elements to create a Classic Modern look with its own unique appeal.

Beneath the Surface

The materials topping these styles have remained steady – with granite still leading the way but dropping off slightly and alternatives like solid surfaces, marble and glass vanity tops picking up a tick as a result.

Here in Charlotte, subtle touches that are sometimes quite literally beneath the surface, such as water-saving fixtures, energy-saving LED lighting, and non-intrusive aging-in-place modifcations are being incorporated into more and more renovation projects.