What’s trending in the kitchen and bath for 2023? Follow along in this post where I cover what I saw at Design and Construction Week while attending KBIS 2023 (the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show) and IBS (the International Builders Show). Last year’s show was good, but the numbers are in, and this year was recorded as the best ever, with the largest attendance to date!
KBIS 2023 proved to be a blockbuster of a show. Not only was there record breaking attendance, but the quality of exhibitors and the product on display at KBIS 2023 (and the displays themselves) were better than ever. Being a NKBA Global Connect Advisor, I’m proud that the international delegation of buyer and exhibitors continues to grow year after year. This year the German Pavilion featured 13 exhibitors and 11,000 SF of show space!
Interior Trends Around the World
Having recently returned from Europe where I attended 3 separate trade shows, I’ve been looking out for common themes between KBIS 2023 and the textile and furniture shows I attended in Europe, and I did see them. Some commonalities between the shows I consider to be emerging trends that will most certainly be more pronounced in the next year as they gain more traction.
So….what were the emerging kitchen and bath trends for 2023 that I saw at KBIS? This year I saw a larger influx of new ideas, trends and products than in past years. We are finally catching up with the effects of the pandemic. Judging by the past (think Spanish Flu in 1918), a pandemic is usually followed by an age of exuberance. (Remember the Roaring Twenties?) I’m definitely feeling it with all the color and product. So without further ado, here are the 2023 kitchen and bath trends that I observed:
2023 EMERGiNG KITCHEN AND BATH TRENDS
- Revenge Travel
- Slatwall Panels
- Back to Black
Call it what you will – titanium, gunmetal, graphite, soft black. It is a softer yet deeper and richer alternative to matte black, which we’ve been seeing quite a lot of in the past couple of years. I especially love the titanium mixed with tanned leather-wrapped appliance hardware from the Monogram Designer Collection, shown above right. What better way to add deeper, darker tones into the kitchen? I would use the blackened steel panels, above right, as cabinet fronts, They have a slightly worn, vintage look to them which again, is a much softer and sophisticated look than a matte black.
Belwith Keeler’s newest introduction, “Pebble” offers up cabinet and appliance hardware in a dark, weather-worn titanium finish which resembles you guessed it – a pebble. Sometimes pure black can come off as harsh, but dialing it down with almost-black and a metallic finish has the opposite effect.
In addition to the leather wrapped appliance pulls, the Monogram Designer Collection also consists of two designer hoods. Designed by Creative Director Richard Anuskiewicz, one of the hoods available is a brushed titanium (showcased below) A sexy option for the kitchen, it coordinates seamlessly with their 96″ appliance panels and appliance pulls.
The funny thing is that as I finish writing this I realize that the sink (Rohl) and faucet (Dornbracht) that I installed in the Minimalist Kitchen in our showroom a couple of years ago is now on trend!
This is one trend that I saw a lot of while in Europe In January attending the shows. There I saw a lot of shibori influences in textiles and soft furnishings. The art of kintsugi is another technique with Japanese origins. What is kintsugi? It is the art of emphasizing imperfections with powdered gold or metal. Instead of masking a mended break, it is calls attention to the imperfections. The fascination with Japanese art is one of the design trends that spans from home decor, furnishings and textiles. To add to that, it was also one of the emerging kitchen and bath trends for 2023 at KBIS.
What’s really funny is that I’m writing this and I just realized that our own sink that we installed in the Minimalist Kitchen in our showroom last year is Rohl’s Forze in Black Stainless Steel.
Kohler’s new introduction, Stillness, takes its cues from the Japanese onsen, the hot mineral springs that produce a hot water vapor. They are usually located in the mountains or forest, and there’s nothing like taking a soak in one of these when it’s cold outside. Luckily, Stillness doesn’t have the sulfuric odor that oftentimes accompanies the traditional Japanese onsen in nature but it takes wellness and all the relaxing features. Also, installed inside the home, you don’t have to battle with the elements. It should be no surprise that the word “zen” also has Japanese origins. Zen is the exact feeling that Kohler’s Stillness exudes.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a big fan of customization. A home should reflect the personality of its inhabitants and there is no better way to do that than by adding custom touches. Custom does not need to be complicated. Vendors are making it easier and easier for the homeowner to differentiate their homes from the ordinary. Take a look at some of the product that I came across at KBIS 2023:
After a brief hiatus, I am thoroughly elated that the Keeler Brass Company is back, 130 years after its inception! For one thing, their first collection is called Anthology and is in an exercise in “artistry meets innovation” with bespoke leather wrapped cabinetry hardware and appliance pulls. Secondly, with 44,000 configurations, the options are endless.
If you think the luxe look of the Keeler Brass Company looks familiar, it does. The designer appliance handles from the Monogram Appliances Designer Series is a collaboration between Monogram and the Keeler Brass Company. Monogram’s creative director, Richard Anuskiewicz and Knikki Grantham of the Keeler Brass Company collaborated and created the appliance pulls seen above under my titanium trend, too!
In addition to the wonderful options the Keeler Brass Company has to offer, there is Kohler’s Occasion Collection. The mix and match approach makes it easy to create a range of looks with different spouts and handles.
We’re also seeing personalization in the kitchen with powder coated appliance panels and choices in pulls. True has a selection of colors but any color is possible and in a choice of automotive grade finishes.
Natural travertine has been popping up everywhere in home furnishings. In fact, it was one of the trends that I identified at High Point Market in my last market trend report. The one drawback with travertine is that it is extremely porous and is prone to staining. Therefore you see do not see it used for countertops in the kitchen or bath and it is more often used for vertical surfaces or furnishings.
However, thanks to modern technology and the non-porous man-made slabs now being made, we can have the look of travertine in the kitchen and bath without having to worry. The added bonus of the performance we expect from porcelain or sintered stone now allows us to do this. Because of its ability to stand up to high heat and no resin content, it can be used outdoors and in a fireplace surround without having to worry about discoloration or cracking.
Slatwall panels. In wood or in porcelain, they are everywhere! It is the proliferation and evolution of the Japandi trend that has been making the rounds for the last 3 years. Tambour and wood slatted panels have been ramping up in popularity. However, the slatwall panel phenomenon has now jumped from wood and now to porcelain and sintered stone slabs. This enables the large panels to be used in lieu of tile in a shower.
Fraktal by Dekton
First up is Dekton’s Fraktal, which is made of sintered stone. As mentioned above, because it can withstand high heat, thermal shock and the elements, it can be used outdoors. Here it is used in a bathroom application to clad the walls and vertical surfaces.
Another favorite is from Compac. This terrazzo is environmentally friendly, non-porous, is easy to care for and can also be used outside. There are several terrazzo colors available and all can be ordered textured. My favorite color is the one shown below and is called Classic Pearl.
German cabinet company Ballerina has come to the US!! One of the best things about what they do is their finishes. This is their real wood veneer, available in real oak or walnut, which resembles a tambour door. I love this texture for cabinetry and predict it is going to be VERY popular.
Below are the Ballerina walnut panels installed. There has been a shift away from white and grey towards wood and warmer painted finishes in the kitchen,. The added texture make these even more special as they also add dimension to a space. I’m really excited because we just added Ballerina as a cabinetry line in our showroom. The entire line is available to both the trade and retail. We have all the door samples so come on over and we’ll show you how beautiful they are in person!
A few of the many slat wall and tambour panels I saw at KBIS 2023 – there was a LOT!
And a beautifully reeded marble backsplash from Ann Sacks.
We are pulling out of a pandemic. Remember what I mentioned earlier in regards to an overall feeling of exuberance after a pandemic? Well, right now we’re experiencing the Roaring 20s, only 100 years later. It’s all about life in living color.
KOHLER - 150 YEARS
To commemorate their 150 year anniversary, Kohler launched their Heritage Colors campaign. Almost 100 years ago, (1927, so 96 years to be exact) Kohler moved away from the utilitarian white fixtures by introducing color into the kitchen and bath. In doing so they brought warmth and personality into the home. While at KBIS 2023, 6 vintage colors were brought in and those in attendance voted on the two colors to be brought back into the line later on this year. The people have spoken and Peachblow and Spring Green were the winners. Be on the look out this summer!
Meanwhile, on the Isle of Wight in the UK, Vlaze is cooking up the most beautiful porcelain enamel outdoor kitchens. It is stocked in California in Ochre and Quilted Graphite but can be special ordered in a number of standard glaze colors and effects. What makes Vlaze outdoor kitchens so special, are the people and story behind the brand. Did you know that vitreous (porcelain) enamel is super durable? It can withstand the intense CA sun and high heat without fading or cracking. As a matter of fact, do you see the London Underground sign on top of the Vlaze outdoor kitchen in the photo below? Well, they happen to make the iconic signage for the London Underground. Oh, and did I tell you about the people behind the brand? They are a family run business and each and every one of the brothers and cousins I have met are truly authentic and the real deal. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me wheeling one of these outdoor kitchens down the streets of Old Pasadena. Vlaze is another exceptional line that we’ll be adding into our showroom.
Above, who doesn’t love concrete? Even better is COLORED concrete. Select any one of the above colors to create a personalized space in your kitchen, bath or laundry room.
Having recently returned from Europe, I noticed that there is a much bigger awareness of sustainability there, than here in the US. However, I have seen some of the more established companies such as Kohler, take the initiative to make sustainability a priority. Previously, I saw the first collection from Kohler Waste Lab in 2019 with the debut of The Crackle Collection. KBIS 2023 brought about Abstra, the second collection for Kohler Waste Lab. As in the first collection, Abstra uses Kohler’s pottery refuse to create sustainable products for the home. The tile they have created has movement, texture and feels organic while at the same time modern. This one is sure to be a winner!
Ok, sustainability isn’t an emerging trend, but it is still in its infancy, as compared to Europe. There is still much more to come, especially as it pertains to water conservation,. induction cooking, and cradle to cradle, closed-loop production cycles. Get ready because it will be arriving in full force – soon…
As a result of being deprived of travel during the pandemic, we are experiencing an era of “revenge travel”. This is a major trend that I saw while I was in Europe. In fact, I’ll be going into more detail on this trend from a macro level, in a later post. If we can’t travel, why don’t we bring the faraway places into our homes? Entering both the Cafe Appliances and Monogram Appliances booths, I felt like I was whisked away to a far away place. We have been trapped in our homes for 2+ years. So what do we in response? We replicate those far away places in our home. This is exactly what Cafe and Monogram have done. And let’s not forget – their appliances are pretty darn sexy and they perform like no other. I should know, as I cook on them every day in our Monogram Experience Center!
We need things to perform certain tasks in the home, but we don’t necessarily need to have everything on display when not in use. When everything is out, it results in visual clutter. Moreover, visual clutter can translate into mental clutter in some people (like myself). This is the very reason why some people thrive with a clean desk, or why someone might clear off their desk before tackling a project. Furthermore, this inclination to maintain an uncluttered abode originates from the current shift towards wellness. This idea is that the uncluttered home translates into an uncluttered mind and promotes a well being.
The Baveno from Bocchi is a fully functional workstation with all the bells and whistles one would expect from a workstation. But when not in use, the faucet can retract and the workstation covered so that the full countertop can be used. No faucet and no clutter in sight.
Rev a Shelf’s newest introduction is a hide away drying rack. Coming from someone who currently has clothes drying on the shower door and towel racks in my bathroom, I can truly appreciate this. It’s brilliant!
BACK TO BLACK
Last of all, our final trend – “Back to Black”. For years, sinks, toilets, and appliances have been white or stainless steel. However, slowly that era is coming to an end. (Can we all say “Hallelujah!” ?) It has been a gradual shift, starting from plumbing fixtures. We first started that shift away from chrome, nickel and brass and matte black faucets started to become en vogue 2-3 years ago. This year we saw the most visible shift away from the typical white and stainless steel of recent years.
That change has broadened to include sink bowls, toilets, cabinetry in addition to just plumbing and hardware. What does that say about us? Do we crave more intimate spaces? Do we want something less generic and instead something that speaks to our individual taste and personality? I think so. Also, in speaking with several manufacturers in Europe, the move to a dark, moodier palette was in response to the pandemic. People were moving to the country from the city and wanted a home that felt less sterile but instead cozy and intimate.
Some of the other products for the kitchen and bath which are traditionally white but now available in black:
KBIS 2023 Recap - Emerging Kitchen and bath trends for 2023
At last, there you have it – the emerging kitchen and bath trends for 2023 and what I see making its move into the home in the next couple of years. There is an overarching theme and that is centered around wellness and sustainability that has been going on for some time, and it will continue to grow in popularity as the education continues.