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What's Hot? The Latest Kitchen Trends

Posted: 16 July 2013

The National Kitchen & Bath Association releases an annual trends report each year. This eagerly anticipated yearly forecast is compiled from a survey of over 300 member designers in both the U.S. and Canada.


arrows trending up in yellow and greyPrepare for a surge in gray color schemes, transitional design and touch activated faucets this year, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association.


Not surprisingly, several of this year’s national trends mimic what we see here in our neck of the woods. Jump in and see what they had to say, as well as our "take" on these leading design trends.






1. Shades of Gray.

Soaring in popularity since 2010, chic gray is now the color of choice in 55 per cent of kitchens. It has become the new neutral, getting noticed and taking center stage in kitchen designs.


grey door samples

Grays are the new neutrals. They are versatile enough to be used in cool shades in contemporary settings as well as blue and green tones for a warmer traditional setting. Adding to their versatility is how well they mix with earthtones as well as bold bright colors for a pop."


We have three great grays available. They are warm and subtle variations on gray or taupe that Plain & Fancy has named Vista Gray, Graystone, and Java. They are intended as foundation colors, neutral but characterful tones that can be used to create an overall mood of calm, confident serenity.


2. Quartz is in This Year.

Quartz is now a close second to granite according to the NKBA. At Clark Construction, quartz and granite are already running neck-in-neck. There are more and more colors and patterns of quartz coming out all the time, some looking very granite-like.


Cambria samples

Ground quartz combined with binding agent and some coloring pigment creates one of the best and durable counter tops available. Natural quartz is one of the most abundant minerals, and is twice as strong as granite. Quartz composites are known for its pattern consistency, and larger slab sizes. This avoids the time consuming task of "hunting for the perfect slabs" for your kitchen.


As a nonporous material, quartz is very resistant to stains and is pathogen resistant.


Common stains such as oil, coffee, wine, or vinegar, as well as germs can easily be swiped off, facilitating a clean and germ-free kitchen.


We use a lot of Cambria. Their quartz is purchased primarily from North American mines, and they work with our mining partners to ensure that every step is taken to fully restore the quarry site after quartz extraction. This commitment to environmental restoration leaves behind large fresh-water lakes teeming with fish and surrounded by the native flora and fauna.


3. Transitional Style is a Top Trend.

Clark Construction's Norwalk CT contemporary kitchen with stove and backsplash.In both kitchens and bathrooms, transitional design — which blends classic and contemporary to achieve simplicity but without the severity of purely modern design — continues to edge out our former love affair with traditional. Transitional style eclipsed its traditional counterpart this year and in 2012. The trend report showed transitional jumping from 59 percent in 2012 to 69 percent this year.


It’s no wonder why transitional style is a hot and amazing trend. It fuses the old with the new style, providing a fresh twist on something that we love.



4. White is on Top.

When it comes to painted cabinetry, white is king, says the NKBA. It’s jumped from 47 per cent in 2011 to 67 per cent this year. There were a few years where glazed finishes seemed on the upswing, but now glazes are being used on a little less than half of all cabinetry.


New Canaan classic white kitchen designed and built by Clark Construction

White cabinetry is a good, classic choice as are its cousins off whites and creams. We often combine whites with natural or espresso stained woods such as walnut, cherry, alder to provide a kitchen that is timeless yet interesting.


In addition, a white kitchen is versatile, as it provides a neutral backdrop for colorful accessories and art, which can be changed as the spirit moves you.




5. Glass on the Rise?

Glass backsplashes are all the rage, says the NKBA, leapfrogging from 42 per cent in 2010 to 64 per cent this year. We had our biggest run on glass backsplash tile a couple of years ago, although we still do some. Increasingly, clients are asking for stone subway tile, and other stone options to complement their countertops. We are seeing an increase in shorter and full height granite backsplashes as well. Porcelain tile remains a strong seller.


6. LED lighting is hot.

Energy-efficient, long-lasting but still-expensive LED lighting is being specified by 77 per cent of NKBA’s member designers, up from 50 per cent three years ago.


Kichler LED lightsIt comes as no surprise that light-emitting diode (LED) lighting has become the preferred method of lighting kitchens.


They have excellent color quality that is consistent over time. They use far less energy than other lighting choices, saving on operating expenses.


It's a rapidly evolving technology that produces light in a whole new way, that is beginning to surpass the quality and efficiency of existing lighting technologies.


7. Touch vs Pull-Out Faucets.

Touch-activated faucets are now specified by 32 per cent of NKBA member kitchen designers. Pullout faucets, remain the most popular type, according to the NKBA, and we find that this is the choice that what most of our clients opt for, with a few occasional foot pedals mixed in.



At Clark Construction, we are interested in what is trending, yet we are careful about what is trendy. Our design slant is towards kitchens that are timeless and beautiful. We are pleased to see that in many areas we are ahead of the curve, with many features of our clients' kitchens riding the crest of the top NKBA trends.


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