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Trends to Watch in the Kitchen and Bath

Home design and décor have always been a hot topic for people – after all, we all have to live somewhere, and we want to make that somewhere as pleasant as possible to spend time in! As the interests and needs of homeowners grow and evolve, then so too do the trends in home design and décor and this is none more visible than it is when it comes to the kitchen and the bathroom.

The current trends in kitchen décor and design aim to create a space in your home that is beautiful and still functional. Current kitchen design trends place extra emphasis on transforming the room into something that works for you, specifically, and not just something that may look great in the pages of a home décor magazine, but does not actually do much for you in application.

5 Kitchen Design Trends

1.) Design Around Your Life and Needs: This is the most important – without this key element, everything else is pointless. When you redo the kitchen, make sure it is something that works with you instead of against you, and contains elements that align with your personal needs. For instance, if you love to bake, then a special or oversized oven is a great addition to your kitchen. If you do not love to bake, and the oven will just sit there and collect dust, why waste the space, even if it looks nice?

2.) Prosumer appliances: The popularity of cooking shows and celebrity chefs have bred a new type of kitchen appliance called “prosumer.” Prosumer appliances merge professional kitchen equipment elements with designs and setups that make them practical for the average homeowner’s kitchen, giving you state of the art appliances to work with without having to install an entire commercial kitchen.

3.) Black cabinets: Black cabinetry is popping up in kitchens everywhere. It is a bold and dramatic statement that works well in many different design schemes. For a retro feel, go with chrome cabinet handles and other hardware. For a rich and elegant look, go for oil rubbed bronze cabinet hardware. Tie the hardware details together with matching locksets and door knobs.

4.) Storage, storage, storage: Everyone knows storage is important, but when you go to add more to your kitchen, again think about point number 1 – get something that works for you. For example, if you are a homeowner that loves to entertain, large cabinets and cupboards that can accommodate large pots, pans, and serving platters are a good idea. If you do not have giant dishes, then you do not need cupboards that large.

5.) Change your counters: If you can’t change everything in your kitchen and are relegated to small changes, try swapping out your counters to get a whole new fresh look.

Similar to the kitchen, today’s bathroom trends focus on your needs as an individual or family to create a sanctuary or retreat that you can relax in that is not cluttered up with a lot of things you do not need or will not use.

Five Ways to Bringing Better Green Energy Into the Bathroom

Of all the rooms in the house, people don’t immediately think about the bathroom as a place where thinking about green energy is a major concern. But the fact is that those who are trying to embrace the world of the eco-conscious should look beyond the typical areas where people tend to focus, like the kitchen, and figure out the best methods for changing things up all over the place, not just in a single corner of the household. And for anyone who is wondering why the bathroom in the first place, it’s pretty obvious: from showering to handling nature’s call, people tend to spend a lot of time in there, so it only makes sense to figure out better methods of keeping things going (and making things pretty) in there. Here are five ways to go even greener in the restroom.

#1 – Use cold water when possible. Because no one wants to take a freezing cold bath in the middle of the winter months, sometimes the suggestion to help out the planet by using less hot water doesn’t really result in people agreeing or seeming happy. But for other tasks, like rinsing one’s hair during the middle of summer or brushing teeth, there’s less of a reason to keep the faucet water piping hot. So remember that.

#2 – Turn off the faucet when brushing one’s teeth. This is one of those simple habits that once broken, can seriously help out any household. While it might not seem like a big number, it really does start to add up when people are keeping faucets running without actually needing to. Don’t do that to the environment, and don’t

#3 – Try to get dimmers for lights and fancier bulbs. This way, there’s no need to crank up the lights and then burn out bulbs that aren’t made to last for a long time, plus with the addition of a fancier type of bulb, there’s no more worrying about endlessly replacing inferior products. While good for the environment, those bulbs with longer shelf life are also a great example of green energy being more convenient for a living space.

#4 – Consider recycling objects for use within the bathroom space. Whether it’s finding the perfect mirror on the side of the road or going antiquing to find a fantastic old sink, there are great ways to not spend money on new devices for a bathroom. And sometimes, especially when it’s all about the decorative touch, it’s definitely the best possible idea for how to save money and enjoy flair.

#5 – Go with active and passive solar energy, when applicable. Whether it’s keeping window shades open to have more sunlight heating the space during the daylight hours, installing a skylight so that it’s possible to get clean without even having to flip a switch, or even considering some solar panels for outdoors to heat water for bathing, green energy can manifest itself in a stunning variety of ways for a bathroom.

2012 Most Popular Kitchen Renovation Trends

You’ve made up your mind — it’s time to give that old kitchen of yours a makeover, and you’ve already saved up enough money to pay for the renovations.

Now, you just need to decide exactly how you’re going to make your kitchen more modern!

Luckily, the National Kitchen and Bath Association just released the findings of their annual trends survey. Each year, the NKBA polls more than 350 designers about the popular trends in kitchen renovations.

Some of this year’s findings are interesting, and show a shift from tradition materials and designs, like:

- A change in cabinets

For decades, the woods of choice for cabinetry have been cherry and maple.

While cherry still has a strong hold as the top choice (69% of new cabinets built in 2012 so far have been cherry), other woods are being used for cabinets more than in the past.

Oak and bamboo usage have doubled since 2010 (oak is up from 11% to 22%, and bamboo is up from 5% to 10%), while walnut and birch are being used three times as often as they were two years ago. In fact, designers now report that birch is being used for cabinetry in 15% of homes, with walnut coming in at 13%.

- Darker is better

When it comes to kitchen cabinetry finishes, it seems darker is better. At least, the designers surveyed (and the homeowners they worked with) seem to think so.

The survey shows dark natural finishes were used 58% of the time in 2012, while medium finishes came in at a similar percentage (55%).

Light wood finishes did not fare so well, but when it comes to painted cabinets, white is still the color of choice.

In fact, white fared better in the survey than all other colors combined.

So, if you want your house to match current trends, either stain your cabinets a dark wood finish color, or paint them white.

- You need to upgrade that old faucet

You may not consider a faucet replacement as much of a kitchen renovation, but two new trends have taken over.

First, more designers are using pull-out faucets that serve a two-in-one purpose, instead of the traditional standard faucet with a detached side spray.

Also, it seems brushed medal finishes are out, and polished chrome is back in style. In the survey, 52% of designers say they have installed chrome faucets and fixtures this year. That’s up from 34% a year ago.

- Out with the white, in with the gray

In society, a man with gray hair has long been considered distinguished, and now in home design, it seems the same is true.

A properly-balanced shade of gray can act as an alternative to the traditional white and off-white color schemes for homes without being overpowering.

While the two whites still dominate the market, the use of gray in homes has increased from only 9% in 2010 to 33% this year.

Brown continues to also be a popular color scheme choice in both the kitchen and the bathroom.

The survey states that bronzes, greens, and blue have also been used more recently than they were in the past.

- Solid surfaces

In 2010, the designers polled for this survey reported that the only used solid surfaces in 11% of kitchens.

That number has almost tripled in two years, up to 30% this year.

If solid surfaces aren’t for you, don’t worry. Trends show that granite and quartz still dominate the market.

- Glass backsplashes

Stone tile and ceramic tile (including porcelain) are still the clear-cut choices for backsplashes, but glass is slowly on the rise. In fact, 52% of home designers have reported using glass for backsplashes in 2012.

Hopefully now you can decide what fits best in your kitchen!