WRITER | National Kitchen and Bath Association
PHOTO | National Kitchen and Bath Association

Top Ten Kitchen and Bath Trends for 2023

New trends that fuse a myriad of styles highlighted the 2023 Design Trend research report from the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). The report provides insight into the designs and products that will dominate kitchen and bath design for years to come. What the report reveals is surprising, with designers now fusing a myriad of styles, creating luxurious spas and opening up kitchens to the expansiveness and grandeur of the outdoors. Whether you’re remodeling, renovating, rearranging or just daydreaming about possible future projects, this list provides everything you need to kickstart your next design journey. 

Everything in its Place in Open Spaces

Homeowners and homebuyers are finding renewed design spirit in minimalist philosophy, focusing on what’s important and removing the rest. However, this doesn’t mean that the scope of kitchen projects is decreasing. In fact, designers are reporting significantly more involved projects than last year. Not only does that mean expanding square footage by breaking down walls and taking over additional adjoining rooms, but also adding functionality to spaces with small appliance work areas, as well as creating room for more storage for food and cookware. Kitchen renovations will continue to see an uptick in adding larger or double islands that serve multiple purposes, walk-in pantries and additional appliances, like a second dishwasher or freezer. 

Bathrooms will also continue to expand in a similar vein as kitchens as we see homeowners tearing down walls to increase the size of their primary bath, creating a comfortable space for two or more people. Other highly popular design strategies for maximizing bathroom space include removing the bathtub altogether, thereby increasing the shower size and building additional closets, dressing areas and sitting rooms.

Maximizing Functionality through Technology

Who doesn’t want to make their life easier and more efficient? Updating your home with the latest technology is the best place to start. The design report projects that kitchens and baths will continue to see the rise of touchless appliances, voice- or motion-activated features, and mobile apps — giving tech-savvy homeowners seamless control over everything from lighting, water, heated floors, ovens and many other appliances. 

Some of the most desired smart appliances include steam cooking and air frying being integrated into ovens, motion sensor faucets and dedicated areas for mobile device laptop charging and viewing. Though the baby boomer generation continues to drive demand for most design projects, they are still hesitant to adopt most forms of smart tech, in favor of features like door open alarms, whereas millennials and Gen X are seeking a greater array of lighting and appliance control. 

A Return to Vibrant Color and Bold Design 

Modernity doesn’t have to be only represented in tones of gray and white. After several years of neutral color schemes, kitchens and baths are embracing color and consumers are finding inspiration on design websites and social media. Blue is the hottest color this year, followed by soft earthy greens, like moss and taupe. Both colors are favored as a reflection of water and are being used heavily in bathrooms while white remains a staple hue. To play off of these bold colors, designers are using multiple design elements and materials — wallpaper, bold accents through fine art and splashes of earthy tones of rich color and texture — creating style hybridizations, like Modern Farmhouse and Classic Contemporary.

Designing for the Environmentally Conscious Consumer 

The kitchen and bath industry has seen a sharp increase in environmentally conscious consumers with their eye on sustainable designs. This demand will become stronger going forward, which aesthetically translates into construction that opens kitchens and baths up to the greater outdoors by installing larger windows, fewer panes and glass doors that lead onto an outside patio, deck or garden. Practically speaking, the increased natural light and use of high-performance low-E windows and doors can significantly reduce energy consumption and save money in the long run. Homeowners looking for more sustainable solutions in their homes are using products such as 100% LED lights, electric radiant flooring, energy-efficient appliances and EPA WaterSense faucets.

Fostering Wellness through Design 

Baths have become an oasis retreat for both body and mind. Designers are crafting spa-like environments in palettes of earthy and muted tones, blues and greens to create a sense of unity and calmness, as well as hints of glamor through metallic accents or other rustic elements –– all on easy-to-clean surfaces.  

Like kitchens, homeowners are opening primary baths up with large windows to connect with nature, flooding rooms with beautiful natural light. Large two-person showers, custom seats, multiple shower heads, steam and thermostatic features are being incorporated to give the feel and appearance of a spa. Some integrated smart tech features include controls for heated flooring, showers, lighting and even mirrors.  

Cream of the Crop Countertops

Quartz countertops will take the crown in 2023 — and for good reason. The material is much harder and more durable than granite or other stones, making it incredibly resistant to damage. Not only that, but quartz is also nonporous, meaning it’s resistant to stains and easier to clean due to its nonabsorbent composition. Coming in a close second is quartzite. A close sibling of quartz, the only difference in quartzite is that it’s a natural stone — sandstone to be exact — fused with sparkly quartz crystals. 

Both are available in a wide array of colors and patterns, the demand coinciding with a trend in light-hued countertops, different colored island tops, backsplashes of slabs and long subways. Add to that a traditional or waterfall edge and you’ve got yourself a countertop to please just about any discriminating taste.

A Mosiac of Materials 

Though interior designers are having a field day mixing bold patterns and various textures, practicality still ranks among the important attributes consumers want in materials. While quartz is the most popular material choice for materials used in kitchens, patterned tiles in larger formats are also being implemented due to the minimal use of grout.

If you’re in the mood for beauty for beauty’s sake, many homeowners are turning to the interwoven graininess of wood for kitchen floors, such as hardwood, engineered wood and luxury vinyl plank or tile. For bathrooms, elegantly sculptured sinks and other components are crafted from vitreous china, porcelain and ceramic. Popular finishes range from brushed to matte in black, pewter, nickel and stainless. 

Aging in Place for Practicality and Style 

Everyone wants to have the ability to live safely, comfortably and independently in their own home. In general, what most older people want is generous daylight and more open plans with more clear floor space for easy maneuvering. In kitchens, designers are favoring storage options within reach and minimizing wall cabinets. For baths, seniors are also looking for a stylish spa-like feel for their showers, in addition to easy accessibility, which translates to doorless zero-clearance entries to showers that are large enough for two-person use, complete with seats, grab bars and multiple/rain showerheads. For the luxurious mixed with the holistic, a significant number of homeowners are adding steam to their bathroom spaces, along with body sprays, music, heating and chromotherapy. 

Let there be Light 

Structurally connecting kitchens and baths to the great outdoors is the preferred route for most homeowners, but when artificial light is necessary, some very specific trends emerged in 2023. For instance, chandeliers are decreasing in popularity, in lieu of task and accent lighting, in addition to recessed lights and pendants to create ambiance for both kitchens and baths, motion-sensor and voice-activated preferred. For bathrooms, task lighting is the most desired in everything from vanities to mirrors to showers for makeup and shaving.

Clean Living

Since the pandemic, an indelible mark has been made on the minds of homeowners and buyers concerning cleanliness. Besides easy-to-clean materials, like quartz, a trend toward technological innovations in sanitization has emerged, like devices that use UV light to disinfect garbage disposals, and dishwashers and other surfaces coated with Microban antimicrobial treatment. Smart technology also plays a large role in the sanitation boom, as touchless appliances like faucets are one less surface that you have to worry about cleaning.

Ultimately, trends come and go, but there are many practical reasons to want to remodel your kitchen and bath. It’s an investment that will accrue value on your property and recoup up to 60% of your remodeling cost, not to mention make your home easier to sell and attract higher offers. If you decide to remodel your kitchen or bath, remember that you should make choices that help achieve spaces that are comfortable for you and your family, maintain or increase value and are functional for years to come.

This story was originally published online at nkba.org. It has been edited from its original form.