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Experts Share Insights on Kitchen and Bath Trends

Danze recently played reporter and talked to some of the most informed people in the industry about kitchen/bath trends, what’s hot and how things are looking for the rest of 2012. Technology, finishes and practicality were among the most talked-about topics.

“As I walked the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show this spring, I saw a lot more innovation in Universal Design,” said David Barista, editor of Professional Builder and Custom Builder magazines. “More manufacturers are tailoring complete product lines to UD and designing elements from scratch with it in mind. Which is a nice evolution…they’re not just adding in something small into existing products just so they can say they offer Universal Design.”

According to Barista, Wellborn Cabinets was one of his favorite examples of UD from the bottom up. New drawers and cabinets are opened by simply pushing in. “Simple but meaningful,” he said.

Finishes are always under the magnifying glass when it comes to the kitchen/bath industry. They often drive new color palettes, add new flavor to décor choices and provide a fresh new look to a collection that’s been around for years.

“I love the touchless finishes that are coming out more this year,” said Andrea Girolamo, editor for ForResidentialPros.com. “It’s so appealing to have a finish option that doesn’t show watermarks and fingerprints! I’ve been seeing them more and more on refrigerators, faucets and other pieces within the kitchen and bath. “ “The industry is seeing some great trends — electronic shower systems, high-tech toilets and toilet seats, innovative appliances, and really cool architectural looks in the bath,” said Nigel Maynard, senior editor for Builder and Residential Architect magazines.

“Unfortunately, the market is flat and most homeowners can’t afford to incorporate them into their homes,” Maynard said. “The luxury market is doing well again, but manufacturers will have to find a way to make these products accessible to everyday individuals who want these systems but can’t afford them. Still, I think it’s a great time to be renovating or picking products for a new house.”

In fact, according to Kit Selzer, senior editor at Better Homes & Gardens, consumers are doing more and more DIY remodeling projects this year, albeit many are smaller.

“Many homeowners are interested in ways they can make small updates rather than launch into larger remodeling projects,” said Selzer. “That's why we're seeing so many product introductions ideal for retrofits and geared toward customization. A DIY tile backsplash kit, motorized window shade, or apron-front sink that can fit into an existing sink cabinet make it easy to get a high-end effect without tearing out the kitchen.”

So while the industry continues to dig out of the recession, there are definitely many avenues of hope. Whether that’s through innovation in the right types of product offerings, using technology to strengthen your business or simply better understanding the homeowner who needs our expertise at the right time and place…2012 and 2013 are looking bright.