Bolder color schemes and more usage of brass were among some of the latest home design trends—which focused particularly on the kitchen and bathroom—featured on the expo floor at last week’s 2019 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas. Hosted jointly by the National Association of Home Builders and the Kitchen & Bath Association, the trade show brought together more than 80,000 builders and architects who offered forecasts for the new-home construction, remodeling, and home design industries. Here’s a look at some of the hottest design trends that were on display.
1. Striking Cabinetry
Bolder hues were gracing kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, walls, and even sinks. Kohler delivered a colorful punch with a bathroom design that included a purple sink, purple claw-foot bathtub, blue sinks, and a black toilet.
Homeowners are starting to branch away from neutral grays, and wider color choices are expected to dress up interiors in 2019 and 2020, says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin Williams. That’s why the company chose Cavern Clay as its 2019 Color of the Year, a terra-cotta color and nod to the popularity of the American Southwest aesthetic. Clay can serve as a neutral color but with a pop, Wadden says.
Explore REALTOR® Magazine’s 2019 IBS coverage, including the latest home features to gain prominence and the effect of affordability on new construction.
“I think as we near 2020 and the start to a whole new decade, consumers are getting excited to get back to more color, especially in the kitchen,” Wadden says. Indeed, bold kitchen colors were a dominant force at IBS 2019, with cabinets in greens, blues, and reds.
Five years ago, espresso-stained cabinetry was the top kitchen trend. Now, the top choices are paint colors: white, gray, black, and navy, which is quickly becoming a rising star, Wadden says.
2. Brass and Bronze Accents
Brass hardware, lighting, and faucets made appearances in many kitchen and bathroom spaces on the expo floor. This is not the same shiny brass from the 1980s; it’s less polished. It’s also being placed alongside other metals, such as chrome or brushed nickel, matted black, or bronze.
CAFÉ, part of the GE Appliances brand, introduced customized hardware options in various metals, such as brushed bronze, brushed stainless, or brushed black. Homeowners can dress up appliance handles with the different finishes to their stainless steel, matted white, or matted black refrigerator or stove. For example, soft brushed copper hardware handles can be added to a matted white refrigerator for a more contemporary vibe.
3. Geometric Shapes
Particularly when it comes to lighting fixtures, geometric shapes are another star in home design trends. Square and circular fixtures that expose Edison bulbs—which are becoming focal points in a kitchen space—make for artistic pendants over a kitchen island. “We’re seeing a lot of mid-century modern and geographic shapes,” says designer Julianna Dykstra of Distinctive Bathroom & Kitchen Inc., in Ottawa. “We’re seeing the Edison bulbs along with mixed metals in faucets and hardware. It’s adding a little more bling in the kitchen.” Geometric shapes are also showing up in tiles on bathroom shower walls and kitchen backsplashes.
4. The Standalone Tub
Homeowners recently have traded bathtubs for large, luxurious showers. But while that's still on trend, Todd Hallett, president of TK Design and Associates, says bathtubs are reclaiming their place in the bathroom and becoming the new focal point. “When you walk in, you look directly ahead to see the tub and the shower behind it,” Hallett says. “It becomes a dramatic space.” Showrooms on the expo floor at IBS 2019 featured standalone bathtubs as the centerpiece of the bathroom, accented with a chandelier above and overlooking a fireplace.
5. All-Glass Sliding Wall Panels
Extending the living space to the outdoors has been a hot home trend for the last few years, but all-glass sliding wall panels and pocket doors are making the transition from the inside to outside more seamless. These doors disappear inside walls, hiding away to expose the outdoors. This eases the transition into an outdoor kitchen, fire pit, pool, or lounging space.
Surveys conducted by home design website Houzz show that opening indoor space to the outdoors is a home remodeling trend that is growing in popularity. “Folding doors or sliding doors that open the kitchen to the outdoors has mostly been in the luxury segment,” says Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz. But she says other price points are starting to makeover their spaces, such as replacing a single door to the backyard with double doors or replacing double doors with triple doors.
Pocket windows, which were featured in the 2019 New American Home, slid away entire sections of windows to expose an outdoor wet bar area to the indoor kitchen. Innovations in sliding wall panels have made them more energy efficient so, when closed, they better retain the indoor heating and cooling. Also at IBS 2019, companies showed off innovations in the shape and size of the glass, including rounded sliding wall panels.