The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) surveyed more than 100 of its designer members across the country to uncover the likelihood that they would incorporate various materials and styles in their designs. The following seven top kitchen trends and four top bathroom trends emerged for 2011. Note: percentages may not total 100% as the survey tallied only whether a designer specified a product in a design, not how often they did so. Results reflect national trends and may not be consistent with local preferences.


  1. Shake It Up

    When it comes to style trends in the kitchen, Traditional remains the top choice. The big news is that Shaker has now supplanted Contemporary as the second most popular look.

  2. Dark and Beautiful

    The most specified type of finish for cabinets and floors is a dark natural finish. In contrast, the use of medium natural, glazed and white painted finishes has diminished.

  3. Take the Chill Off

    Interestingly enough, unchilled wine storage has grown in popularity, while the incorporation of wine refrigerators seems to be on the decline.

  1. French Revolution

    In terms of refrigerator styles, the French door refrigerator is now the most popular (78%.) Freezer-bottom models (single-door refrigerator on top, single-door freezer on the bottom) fell slightly in popularity to second place (59%.)

  1. Induction is Hot

    Induction cooktop selection is heating up! This trend is expected to continue due to induction’s energy efficiency. Gas cooktops are still the most popular though specification fell from 76% to 70%, while conventional electric cooktop specifications increased slightly from 38% to 41%.

  1. LED Lighting the Way

    For energy-efficient lighting solutions, designers are flipping the switch on LEDs (light emitting diodes) rather than CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) most likely due to the poor quality of light CFLs produce.

  2. Take Out the Trash

    Trash or recycling pull-outs were included in 89% of the kitchens designed by NKBA members. There was also an increase in both garbage disposals and trash compactors.


  1. Of Quartz

    Quartz solid surfaces such as Zodiac™ and Caesarstone™, are an increasingly-popular choice for bathroom countertops, up from 48% to 54%, but quartz still has not had the impact it has in the kitchen. For bathroom countertops, granite remains the most popular choice (83%.)

  2. Going Green

    The use of the color green in bathrooms is on the rise. Whites and off-whites, beiges and browns remain the most commonly used color tones, however.

  3. A Worthy Vessel

    Undermount sinks continue to dominate the bathroom scene, but vessel sinks have become the clear second choice among designers.

  4. Supreme Satin Nickel

    In bathrooms and kitchens, satin nickel is now the favorite faucet finish, while brushed nickel comes in second. Stainless steel remains popular in the kitchen, but not in the bath.

Are the winter doldrums setting in? Try this for inspiration – the February, 2011 edition of House Beautiful provides the game plan on how designers Pat Healing and Dan Barsanti transformed a long, narrow, hard-to-furnish, living room in less than nine hours.

Here are the designers’ tips for successful transformations:

  1. A furniture arrangement that looks good on paper may not work in reality. Look at your room after a party to see how people have instinctively moved the chairs for conversation. That’s your clue for the room’s best layout.
  2. Use versatile furniture pieces in multiple ways. A large table can be used for dining, homework, games, and serving hors d’oeuvres at a party.
  3. Every chair in the room does not have to face the TV.
  4. There are no hard and fast rules – it all depends on your room and how you use it. Sometimes matchy-matchy can be a good thing to unify the space.
  5. Treat bookshelves as a composition and arrange them for balance and symmetry. Pick up accent colors used elsewhere in the room and repeat them in the bookshelf in art or accent pieces. One trick used by the designers was to remove all of the book jackets which made the composition less busy.
  6. Decorate in layers to add depth and interest the way decorators do. Rather than using the same solid color in the same exact hue, repeat the color in different ways, with textures, intensity, or sheen, for example, use the same color for textured chenille pillows on the sofa, shiny ceramic vases on the mantel, as one of the colors on dining room seat cushions, and sheer curtain liners.

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