There are pros and cons to the fact that there are so many ways to reimagine a kitchen or bathroom. On the one hand, it’s somewhat reassuring that you can give new life to the spaces through small or subtle changes; on the other, there are seemingly endless choices for practically every element. To help those who might be considering an update narrow down the options, we asked four experts from across the country to discuss the current and rising trends in kitchen and bath spaces. From statement-making hardware to fresh takes on traditional tile, here’s what’s popular right now.
A departure from all-white. While the all-white kitchen is a classic, it’s ceding ground to more colorful iterations. “We’ve seen color come back in paint and upholstery, and now it’s making the natural evolution to the kitchen and bath,” Katie Battaglia, design director at Nemo Tile in Red Bank, New Jersey, reports. “We’re even seeing bright pops of color in tile, either as an accent or as an entire backsplash. And these colors can really lend a soothing spa or Mediterranean feel to a bathroom.” Meanwhile, Rebecca Farris of Bottega Design Gallery in Fort Worth, Texas, reports that many of her clients are opting for blush pink tile in both the kitchen and bath. She’s also seeing an infusion of tone on tone color in geometric patterns.
A jump in jewel tones. While these hues may have been on the rise last year, they’re now mainstream. Katie Battaglia of Nemo Tile reports that deep greens and blues, as well as warmer tones of these shades, are appearing in tile and paint. Rebecca Farris at Bottega Design Gallery adds that even when sticking with a classic grey or white kitchen, rich blues and greens are serving as colorful accents, while Ginny Padula, owner and designer at Town & Country Kitchen and Bath in Red Bank, New Jersey, adds that hunter green is hugely popular for kitchen cabinetry right now. “It adds that interesting contrast when you want something rich and dark, but not quite as dramatic as black.”
Mixing in matte black hardware. Those who gravitate toward hardware that’s a bit on the darker side are in luck. According to Jonathan Pilley, owner of Push Pull Hardware in Bethesda, Maryland, the recent influx of matte black is a game-changer. “With matte black as a finish, projects can incorporate hardware that is an absolute black, which plays well with just about any combination of cabinets, counters, and backsplashes,” he shares. “It’s chic and slick in its presentation, and works in modern and traditional spaces, but it’s also extremely practical, as it won’t show fingerprints, dirt, and water spots.”
Large-scale pattern in the powder room. Wallpaper continues to be a popular choice among people who wish to add a little drama or whimsy—particularly in private spaces. Ginny Padula of Town & Country Kitchen and Bath especially appreciates the powerful effect wallpaper can have in the powder room. “The large-scale wallpaper patterns really make a statement and leave a lasting impression.”
An evolution of subway tile. Subway tile has long been a go-to, but Katie Battaglia of Nemo Tile observes that lately people are putting a twist on the timeless standby. “There’s still a desire to have that classic look, but now we’re seeing tiles with texture—wavy versus smooth—and a longer length,” she says. “There are also so many things you can do with the installation and shape. Herringbone pattern is one of the most popular right now.”
Knurling enters everyday. Knurling, the process of impressing a pattern onto a surface to provide a better grip, is being embraced for aesthetic reasons. “Finding hardware with unique features can be a challenge at times, which is why knurled hardware is a great design style,” Jonathan Pilley of Push Pull Hardware reports. “Many faucets incorporate knurling into their handles to bring in a more industrial look; and complementing cabinet hardware with some form of knurling continues that look throughout the kitchen.” The detailed patterns add interest to a room by bringing in another texture, and depending on the finish of the hardware, the visual impact of the knurling can be enhanced or downplayed, says Pilley.
Natural elements enter the kitchen. According to Ginny Padula of Town & Country Kitchen and Bath, natural elements like wood, both reclaimed and new, are working their way into kitchens. “The use of wood fosters a warm and welcoming feel,” she says of the material that’s increasingly being used in island countertops, island backs, and in support and decorative ceiling beams. “Its infusion into the kitchen creates a lighter, airier space.”
An introduction of interesting forms and fillers. Joining traditional shapes in tile, like the hexagon, are additional forms that create a sense of interest and movement. “The fishscale, or fan look, is becoming really popular,” Katie Battaglia of Nemo Tile notes. “And arabesque, also known as lantern or teardrop, is being embraced not only because it’s different, but the fanciful shape is also more delicate.” Another fresh take on tile is the introduction of interesting grout, says Rebecca Farris of Bottega Design Gallery. “I have one client who is bringing back the classic 4×4 tile, but with neon pink grout,” she says. “Darker grout is, of course, easier to keep clean, but warmer greys can also bring in that subtle difference that makes the kitchen or bath feel fresh and modern.”
Photography by Jason Kindig featuring a Bottega Design Gallery project.