Courtesy NKBA

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) has released its annual Design Trends report. The 2022 study, which surveyed over 650 respondents, the majority of whom were designers, found the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated consumer interest in and adoption of key trends such as integration of smart technology, multifunctional spaces, and nature-based designs.

“We’ve seen the pandemic have an effect across all sectors in our society, and we’re now starting to see how the change in human behaviors is shifting the way we design our homes,” says Bill Darcy, CEO at NKBA. “Besides the pandemic, another rising factor in the design trends we are seeing for 2022 and beyond is the growth of the millennial and Gen X customer base, as these homeowners are now reaching the point in their lives where they are increasingly working with designers to create their ideal homes as opposed to attempting to do it themselves.”

According to the study’s findings, baby boomers continue to be a large part of designers’ customer base, but the demographics are shifting toward a younger audience that is increasingly driving future trends. While Gen X remains the biggest age group, with 49% of the design projects customized for them, designers note a 6% increase in work on behalf of millennials.

Courtesy NKBA

Read on for some additional key takeaways from the report:

  • Color makes a comeback: Millennials are leading the increase in natural and contemporary designs, especially within the kitchen and bath. Moving away from white and gray as primary colors, designers expect nature-inspired colors to grow in prominence, notably greens and blues.
  • Nurturing the natural look: Close to 60% of designers interviewed expect the organic/natural trend to dominate over the next two to three years. As a result, homes will have more wood and recycled materials. Designers also see increased natural light with large high-performance windows and doors for outdoor access becoming more prominent, as homeowners continue to create outdoor living, dining, and cooking areas outside the home.
  • Step for smart technology: COVID-19 made people conscious of high-contact surface points, so homeowners increasingly turned to hands-free and voice-activated technology to reduce the spread of diseases. Yet, while there was buzz around the involvement of technology in 2021, the market remains largely untapped as only 30% kitchen projects and 21% of bathroom designs included some type of integrated appliances.
  • More multifunction: Fifty-eight percent of designers predict spaces that serve multiple functions will become increasingly popular in 2022 and beyond. New millennial homeowners are looking to maximize their kitchen space with islands that serve as a meal prepping area, a workstation, and a dining table, as well as a place to entertain guests.
  • Super sustainable: Sustainable design and energy-efficient products will grow in popularity, with 100% LED lighting leading the way. Also identified as top near-term trends are usage of VOC-free paint, dedicated recycling areas, and products made with recycled materials.
  • Keeping clean: The pandemic-generated trend toward cleanliness and safety is not expected to fade soon. Quartz, as an easy-to-clean surface, is more popular than ever as a countertop preference, while larger format tiles that lessen the need for grout are expected to grow in popularity.

To learn more about the report and its key findings, visit the NKBA website.