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Inside Look at the Top Ten Bathroom Trends of 2016

The 2016 NKBA Kitchen & Bath Design Trends Report revealed the popularity of universal design, streamlined layouts, and luxurious amenities, among other key design elements. Following is a breakdown of the top ten bathroom trends reported by NKBA survey respondents. Click here to read the full press release.

1. Greater acceptance of aging-in-place amenities: no threshold showers, grab bars, higher vanity heights and chair-height toilets.

More than half of NKBA member respondents included accessible and/or universal design elements in bathrooms in 2015. Most expected to see the trend for aging-in-place amenities to increase or, at least, remain steady for 2016.

The most common requests to make bathrooms safer and more comfortable for users: higher toilet seats, higher vanities, and the addition of shower seats/benches. More than three-quarters of respondents included these amenities last year, and about half expect to see growth in this area. More than half also reported adding no-threshold showers to their projects. “No threshold showers are becoming standard,” said Leslie Cohen, CKD, CID, ASID, a kitchen and bath designer from North Carolina.

2. Transitional is pulling away from contemporary.
Transitional is the most popular style.Transitional and contemporary styles are the two most popular bathroom styles, with 80 percent of survey respondents expecting to specify both styles in 2016.

Transitional is less popular in the Southwest, and more likely to be sold by mass retailers, and male designers. Contemporary bathrooms are more common in the US than in Canada. NKBA members who report having a majority of multigenerational household clients are less likely to report doing contemporary or transitional styles.

Co-Designer: Mark H. Haddad, AKBD
Photo: Shelly Harrison

3. Neutral colors rule the bath.
White is most popular fixture color, and whites and grays are most popular overall color schemes. Use of the color gray in bathrooms jumped nine percentage points from 2014 to 2015, to join perennial favorites white and off-white, specified by about 70 percent of NKBA survey respondents. More than half expect to do more gray bathrooms in 2016, with nearly four-in-ten expecting to do more whites and off-whites.

Beige and bone shares are the third most popular color for bathrooms, expected to hold steady in 2016. Roughly 30 percent of NKBA member responding reported doing blue, green and brown bathroom colors.

Designer: Matthew Damian Rao, CKD, RAO DESIGN STUDIO, INC
Photo: Emily Followill

4. More open shelving and floating vanities.
More than 40 percent expect to specify more floating vanities in 2016 bathrooms.

Designer: Lori Carroll, LORI CARROLL & ASSOCIATES
Co-Designers: Esthela J. Celaya, ORIGINATE INTERIOR DESIGN LLC; Debra Gelety - Lori Carroll & Associates
Photo: William Lesch

5. More built-in storage functionality: more roll-out shelves, more “hidden” electrical outlets for blow dryers, etc.

Linen storage cabinets, medicine cabinets, and floating vanities were most frequently specified during 2015, with each amenity specified by 60 percent or more of survey respondents.

Technology rules, even in the bathroom, where homeowners are increasingly using cell phones and iPods to play music and keep in contact while they’re showering or getting ready. One popular bathroom trend is hiding electrical outlets in drawers and shelves to conceal charging stations, as well as outlets to use hair dryers and other equipment in the bathroom.

Co-Designer: Thomas S. Trzcinski
Photo: Craig Thompson

6. Undermount sinks are far and away the most popular sink style.
Emerging: 15 percent did a trough sink, a figure expected to rise.

Designer: Lori Carroll, LORI CARROLL & ASSOCIATES
Co-Designers: Esthela J. Celaya, ORIGINATE INTERIOR DESIGN LLC; Debra Gelety - Lori Carroll & Associates
Photo: William Lesch

7. When tubs are installed in master bathrooms, they are most likely to be freestanding.

While 67 percent of survey respondents reported removing tubs and whirlpools from master bathrooms in 2015, an equal number reported adding a freestanding tub to the master bath.  Sixty-one percent reported installing soaking tubs.

Even standard tub/shower surrounds are still fairly popular, with 59 percent of survey respondents reporting using standard surrounds in master baths and 67 percent in guest or second bathrooms. Freestanding whirlpools and air tubs were specified by about a quarter of NKBA members in 2015.

Designer: Tanya L. Woods, AKBD, XSTYLES
Photo: Beth Singer Photographer, Inc.

8. Greater use of shower amenities such as lights, built-in seats and benches, and hand shower in addition to the mounted showerhead.
Lighting in showers was specified by 67 percent of reporting NKBA members in 2015, and 35 percent expect to include lighting in showers in 2016. About 7 percent included chromatherapy in showers.

Designer: Anne H. Grice, ANNE GRICE INTERIORS
Photo: Jeremy Swanson

9. Polished chrome is the most popular faucet finish.

Polished chrome remains the top bathroom faucet finish, specified by 80 percent of NKBA members in 2015, with 35 percent expecting to do more in 2016. The next most popular finishes are satin nickel and brushed nickel, both specified by 68 percent of NKBA members in 2015. Further down the list, but still popular, are bronze/oil-rubbed bronze and polished nickel. About 22 percent of respondents expect to use fewer bronze faucets in 2016, while almost the same percentage expect to use more polished nickel.

10. A number of other amenities are expected to be specified by at least 25 percent of NKBA members in 2016.

These include:
a. Easy maintenance features
b. Electric radiant floor heating
c. Master bathrooms with coffee bars, microwaves, and wet bars
d. TV incorporated in bathroom mirror
e. Quiet or soft-close toilet seat
f. Steam showers

All of these amenities make life easier, and seem to add a hint of luxury to the everyday bathroom. Whether it be heated flooring, a coffee bar, a television, or a steam shower, homeowners are looking for that “spa-like,” luxurious feel in their bathrooms.

Download and read the complete 2016 NKBA Kitchen & Bath Design Trends Report to learn more about this year’s hottest bathroom trends (free to NKBA members).

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