Bold, Strong and Distinctive – Kitchen & Bath Design News

Bathroom Decoration

The sheer amount of surface space in the kitchen creates demand for solutions that are visually appealing, durable and distinctive. Islands can be used to create visual interest and offer more space for the work of the kitchen, leading to increased size and bolder choices on the island surface.

“There is a growing preference among homeowners for more extensive islands and countertops, which our jumbo-size slabs can accommodate,” says Lori Shapiro, public relations manager for Caesarstone, based in Charlotte, NC. “When there’s an abundance of surface area, speckled and veined patterns have the opportunity to make a bold statement. Even solid designs can serve as a versatile canvas, allowing homeowners to bring their design aspirations to life on a grander scale.”

In general, consumers are looking for new textures and patterns to help their surfaces stand out. “Recently, consumer expectations have been rising, and Calacatta quartz products, which are consistently used, are reaching a saturation point. As market demand for new patterns increases, the desire for next-generation luxury products, such as quartzite, is growing,” reports Taewoo Kim, director of product design at Atlanta, GA-based LX Hausys America.

Durability is also critical for these vigorously used surfaces, influencing material choice. “Now, more than ever, people live, work and play inside their homes, and it’s important to choose a surfacing material that will withstand the test of time,” comments Massimo Ballucchi, v.p. of Kitchen and Bath Business for Cosentino North America, based in Miami, FL. 

Warm tones, natural looks and understated edge treatments are other top surface trends according to manufacturers recently surveyed by Kitchen & Bath Design News.

Distinctive Surfaces

Countertops are a significant visual aspect of the kitchen design, leading to demand for unique and customized options, interesting patterns and texture, and versatile surfacing that can be used in a variety of applications. 

Shapiro says finishes for surfaces and countertops span a spectrum from a glossy polished appearance to a more natural or rugged stone-like texture, depending on the overall aesthetic of the room. “An intriguing development in the design community is the growing popularity of the rugged finish, particularly exemplified by our rough/concrete finish offerings. These unique finishes combine the durability of quartz with the rugged, concrete-like appearance, adding an unexpected tactile dimension to the surface,” she explains.

“Large movement patterns are preferred for island countertops,” notes Kim. The increased functional role of kitchens has led to larger islands, he adds.

Ballucchi agrees. “We are seeing that, as kitchen islands become larger and even more multi-functional, there is an opportunity to use more statement materials, like those with strong veining or metallics,” he reports.

Jessica McNaughton, president at Raleigh, NC-based CaraGreen, says veined patterns are still trending, but colors are shifting towards gold, blue and purple veins. 

Emily Holle, director of trend and design at MSI, headquartered in Orange, CA, reports that one of the newest developments in quartz is the ability to emulate quartzite. “Marble looks have dominated the quartz industry, but there is a thirst for something new. Looks like Azurmatte, Calacatta Viraldi and LumaTaj are exciting and fresh. We are seeing tremendous interest in these new styles and unique colorways,” she says. 

“Quartzite is also driving business,” Holle adds. “Consumers want something one-of-a-kind without the maintenance worry. Quartzite is the perfect choice. People love the unique tonalities and vein patterns that quartzites have. Bold and beautiful styles are the king of kitchens these days.”

“Walnut and white oak are extremely popular” when it comes to discussing wood offerings, adds Paul Grothouse, owner and president at Grothouse in Germanville, PA. “Both work particularly well with contemporary and traditional designs, and we are seeing many creative textured finishing options being employed.”

Natural Warmth

Muted and more neutral colors, warm tones and a natural appearance are key aesthetic trends, manufacturers say.  

“In the current design landscape, we are witnessing a shift away from the vibrant, post-pandemic colors toward more muted and desaturated tones for interior spaces,” observes Summer Kath, executive v.p. of design for Cambria, based in Le Sueur, MN. “Specifically, shades of green and blue, spanning various mid to dark hues, remain prevalent and enduring choices in interior color schemes. Additionally, we’re seeing a rising popularity in warm taupe and soft white shades, reflecting a growing preference for a cozy and welcoming ambiance. These trends are indicative of the evolving aesthetics in interior design.”

“Warm tones are trending, and natural looking veined materials are extremely popular in quartz surfacing,” states Ed Rogers, executive v.p. of Vadara Quartz, located in Sun Valley, CA. “Some 70% of what we see in countertops are neutral combinations and patterns, and a growing percentage of those contain warm tones.”

Holle agrees. “Warm veined marble looks and all-over warm colors are popular. As consumers move away from the all-white kitchen and introduce wood tones and more painted finishes into their cabinetry, they are loving these warmer styles,” she remarks. “Colors with hints of green, burgundy and navy are trending, while taupes and creams continue to stay steady in demand.”

“As consumers look for a calm feeling in their living spaces, their preference for warm colors, which began last year, continues,” concurs Kim. “Reflecting this, organic colors with neutral earthy tones are gaining popularity. In particular, the number of wood cabinets with calm tones is increasing, and white cabinets, which have always been used steadily, are also gradually changing from stark white to off-white. In addition, due to the increase in the size of kitchen islands, there is a tendency to use relatively soft colors and patterns in the main kitchen compared to using large movements with subtle tones in kitchen islands.”

Grothouse says shades of brown, like dark chocolate and mocha, are trending. “Gray stains with driftwood, wire brushing and hand planing incorporated for extra texture are also extremely popular,” he points out. The Bianca shade of our Pigmented oil finish provides a washed-out, bleached aesthetic while showcasing the intricacies of the natural wood underneath. We’re seeing a lot of this finish in the shop; it’s very on-trend.”

Shapiro says the demand for materials inspired by nature is an ongoing trend, with this inclination mirrored in color choices. “Homeowners are drawn to colors that resonate with the natural world, whether they lean towards light, dark or shades in between. The goal is to create a soothing atmosphere within their living spaces,” she offers.

Material Things

Many factors impact material choice, and there’s room in the market for a wide range of countertop materials that cater to individual homeowners lifestyle and preferences. Materials that are durable and easy to maintain top the list, manufacturers say.

“Durability and maintenance influence material selection rather than color trends,” says Kim. “The reason why the ratio of materials used in the past has shifted from natural stones such as granite and marble to quartz is because it is superior in terms of durability and maintenance. Porcelain, which has been gradually emerging recently, is also connected to this and can be expected to spread.”

“Today, in kitchen and bath design, durability and ease of maintenance are significant factors influencing design trends. Modern homeowners often have limited time for surface upkeep. Our research indicates that product performance closely follows aesthetics in the decision-making process, highlighting the growing importance of surfaces that not only look great but also require minimal maintenance,” explains Kath. “Quartz continues to be at the forefront in terms of demand, and this can be attributed to its ever-evolving styles and designs.”

“Durability and maintenance still remain strong influences on buying decisions,” says Holle. “Oftentimes homeowners dream of having marble in their kitchens, but once they do the research they opt for quartz or quartzite. Of course there is a small camp that absolutely wants marble no matter what, but that number is nowhere near the size of the ‘maintenance-plus-beauty’ buyers.”

Shapiro notes, “There’s a growing desire for materials that are both robust and environmentally responsible, designed for long-lasting use. Over time, quartz and porcelain have emerged as highly favored choices for countertops, solidifying their status as top preferences.”

“Natural stone has the most maintenance as it needs to be sealed,” McNaughton explains. “The move toward manufactured surfaces is partially due to that trend. That said, each piece of natural stone is unique and has inherent beauty to it that is hard to recreate with man-made stone. There will always be a place for both of these materials, but the manufactured surfaces tend to be more durable and easily maintained.” 

“Quartz is the most popular still, but mineral surfaces and sintered stone are starting to take market share as awareness of the dangers of processing engineered quartz become more prevalent and talked about,” she adds. “Solid surface is seeing a resurgence due to its seamlessness, making it easily cleaned as it is non porous and has no grout lines or visible seams.”

“Consumers are looking for surfacing materials that are sustainable, but won’t sacrifice design or durability. Additionally, they are also seeking materials that can provide a cohesive look both inside and out. Silestone and Dekton provide homeowners and designers with all of these qualities and more,” stresses Ballucchi. “Both are sustainable and created using a premium mix of materials that allow them to be used in a wide variety of applications.”

“Maintenance and durability factors are always front of mind for our design partners and consumers,” Grothouse says. “We work hand in hand with designers and clients to ensure that they are receiving the most appropriate wood, finish and design for their specific project needs and lifestyle.”

Low Profile

Edge treatments are trending toward a smaller profile, with interest in a personalized look that blends well with the rest of the room, manufacturers report.

“It all starts with the overall design of the kitchen,” offers Rogers. “Simple edge details are still the most popular. Eased edges are elegant and go with really any kitchen design.”

“Edges continue to be sleek and not fussy,” Holle reports. “We are seeing a movement towards rounded tops with soft curves, continued popularity of running the slab up the splash and 4″ built-up edges on the rise.”

“For a classic and timeless aesthetic, both the pencil edge and eased edge are popular options,” notes Shapiro. “The pencil edge features gentle rounding and rounded corners, while the eased edge maintains sharper corners with less rounding.”

In addition to clean, straight edges or reverse angular styles that minimize the edge, McNaughton reports that slightly rounded edges are trending as new materials like mineral surfaces, porcelain and sintered materials need an eased edge to prevent chipping.

“Consumers are increasingly gravitating toward understated edge treatments in their design preferences,” Shapiro explains. “One of the more favored choices is the shark nose edge profile, which can be applied to various materials. This contemporary edge style is particularly well-
suited for modern kitchens, lending them a streamlined and sophisticated appearance.”

Ballucchi notes that they have also seen some shark nose edges growing in popularity, to create a more sophisticated look. He adds, “Eased bullnose edges continue to be a popular choice. It’s a timeless look and fits any design – from traditional to modern.”

Grothouse reports that most designers are using minimal edge treatments such as small round overs or chamfers. “We have seen an increase in large undercut edge treatments on the undersides of the counters,” he states. “These are usually large chamfers or coves. This tends to create a more minimal edge or thinner top appearance, similar to what we’ve seen coming out of the European designers.”

Waterfall edges continue to be in demand, manufacturers say. “Within the design community, there’s been a notable uptick in the use of waterfall edges, especially in indoor and outdoor kitchens, as well as desks and workstations,” Shapiro offers. “Caesarstone anticipates this trend will continue to gain momentum in the coming years, with ongoing waterfall edge projects in the pipeline.”

McNaughton agrees that waterfall edges are still quite popular. “This can pose a challenge to fabricators, who have to match veining from the top of the slab to the waterfall edge,” she says.

Kim adds that, while it can be difficult to define trends for edge treatments because it depends on the style of the kitchen, “I can assume that eased edge is more popular than round edge or ogee edge because transitional and contemporary kitchen styles occupy a higher market share than traditional styles.”

“The miter edge profile maintains its enduring popularity,” offers Kath. Additionally, there is a growing interest in customized and unique edge profiles, allowing individuals to add a personal touch and create a distinctive final look for their projects,” she adds.

Abet Laminati offers solutions for kitchen worktops, including Print HPL, Stratificato HPL and Lamishield. The high-pressure laminates provide resistance to wear, heat, scratches, impact and humidity, notes the company, and are available in a wide range of decors and colors.

Allstone has added the Legacy of the Rockies collection to its surface offering. The line showcases the look of Colorado stone in options such as Calacatta Golden, Calacatta Lincoln, Lincoln Zebrino and Statuario Colorado.

Cristallo Vitrum by Antolini – which produces high-end natural stone slabs – is part of the company’s Natural Quartz line. Due to its translucency and brightness, it appears as if it were a perennial ice sheet, notes the company.

Fantasy Black Satin marble is a metamorphic stone that evolved from a limestone due to extreme heat and pressure. Sourced in India and available from Arizona Tile, this black marble has white veining and hints of gold scattered throughout. It is suited for interior and exterior kitchen countertops as well as cladding, baths and more.

Giallo Siena is a renowned marble quarried in the town of Sienna in northern Italy. Available from Artistic Tile, the quintessential stone of the Italian Renaissance features bold swathes of deep vanilla, intense saffron and burnished, tawny bronze. The slab is available in 2cm with a polished finish.

Dreamy Carrara from Caesarstone’s new Time Collection, part of the new Caesarstone Mineral Surfaces, is inspired by the classic pure white of Carrara marble. It features a silky white, light-reflective base overlaid with irregular fine veins in earthy greys. Slightly darker veins, varying in intensity, bring movement to the overall slab.

Hardwood countertops from CafeCountertops are available in a range of wood species and finishes. The company’s Hand-Rubbed Oil Finish adds a rich, natural look that is food-prep safe and can be used in sink areas. Shown is the firm’s new AngloWood offering.

Cambria has added six new surfaces to its quartz design palette. The offering includes three new Windsor designs: Windsor Brass, Windsor Steel Satin Ridge and Windsor Brass Satin Ridge, shown, which features chocolate brown hues and warm honey shading against inverness veins.

Marble, cement, metallic and monosleek colors are showcased in Corian Design’s Endura collection. The surfaces are durable and nonporous, and UV-, heat-, scratch- and stain-
resistant. They are 100% natural porcelain and are available in a range of shades in two thicknesses and satin, mineral and glossy finishes.

Two new collections have been added to the Silestone from Cosentino portfolio: Le Chic and Urban Crush. They are created using the company’s HybriQ+ Technology, which uses 99% recycled water, 100% renewable electric energy, zero water discharge and at least 20% recycled raw materials. Shown is Parisian Bleu.

Crossville Porcelain Slabs and Countertops are 12mm porcelain suitable for use indoors and outside. They deliver strength, durability, low maintenance, weather resistance, UV stability and stain resistance, notes the firm. The styles capture realistic visuals and nuanced tones, and each comes in unpolished or polished finishes.

Daltile’s Arctic Arabescato presents a white background with spider veining that evenly flows throughout the quartz slab. The design boasts cluster vein patterns made up of crisp contrasting colors, with flecks of a rust hue. The 130″x65″ Super Jumbo-sized quartz slab is available in both 2 cm and 3 cm thicknesses with a polished surface.

Diamond is Durasein’s newest addition to its marble-inspired Dreamy Collection. The solid surfacing features the look of marble classic patterns that are crafted with its proprietary robotic color dispensing tech. The antimicrobial surfaces are composed of two-thirds natural minerals and one-third 100% acrylic resin and pigments.

Durat is a recycled solid surface material that can be used to create seamless surfaces for groutless countertops. Made with up to 28% recycled content, the surfacing from Durat, is 100% recyclable. Durat is available in endless color combinations, notes the firm.

FENIX was created for interior design by Arpa Industriale and is now available as a surfacing option from Formica Corp. The timeless palette is offered in an extremely matte finish that is soft to the touch, anti-fingerprint and is highly resistant to scratches, abrasion and cleaning solvents, notes Formica.

Sustainable surfacing created with recycled glass is offered by Gilasi in a range of standard colors as well as custom colors and sizes of glass. Made and sourced in Chicago, the material is a combination of aeronautics-grade, VOC-free epoxy resin and recycled glass for a surface with 77-85% recycled content.

Surfacing from glass2 is engineered to be nearly 100% recycled glass while remaining durable and easy to fabricate, notes the firm. The resulting surface is made of 99% recycled glass fused together, requiring no resins or binders. It is suitable for interiors and exteriors.

Handcrafted with precision, this bespoke butcher block table from Grothouse embodies the company’s custom random pattern End Grain construction. The table was built using walnut with sapwood and placed on top of a custom stained contrasting cherry base, accented with custom-designed hardware. Design by Vincere Limited.

IceStone is a manufacturer of countertops and surfaces made from 100% recycled glass and cement. Colors range from bold jewel tones to classic neutrals, including six colors that contain mother of pearl. Shown is Amber Pearl.

J. Aaron produces wood countertops using a range of species, including hickory, weathered white oak, cherry, sapele, walnut and hard maple. All of the company’s wood tops are engineered specifically for the use with a sink without compromising the natural look and feel of the wood.

With the growing popularity of a thin, non-mitred surface edge, Laminam has invested in its slab core colors, ensuring they are a direct representation of the dominant surface color, states the company. A non-mitred edge on a Laminam surface looks natural and clean, adds the firm, giving designers flexibility when designing.

Silica-Free Sintered Stone from Lapitec is now 100% crystalline silica free, according to the firm. The colors and patterns are not printed by rather created with 100% minerals and persist throughout the entire slab. The stone is UV-, stain- and scratch-resistant, notes the company.

Inspired by the Earth’s natural beauty and the sounds of harmonious music, TERACANTO Porcelain Surface from LX Hausys delivers luxurious looks and organic Earth-based ingredients, states the firm. Calacatta Gold, Calacatta Extreme and Statuario Blanco can also be bookmatched for a custom look.

Maer Charme’s semi-precious stone slab collection includes Obsidian Black with Gold, shown. All of the products are handmade and the company allows clients to supervise the building process. Some of the standards include dimension, color/shine, crystallization and no impurities. Slabs are available in custom sizes up to 320x190x2cm.

Meganite has launched its new collection – Nature Series – with four new colors now available. The collection embraces design elements that replicate the organic beauty of nature, complemented by a minimalistic and earthy color palette.

With a striking off-white background and subtle gold veins, LumaTaj evokes the look of Taj Mahal quartzite. Available from MSI, the quartz surfacing uses the company’s LumaLuxe formulation, giving it depth and realism, notes the firm.

Recycled Paper Composite Surfaces from PaperStone are non-porous panels created from 100% recycled paper and resins made at the firm’s Washington state facility. A silica-free surfacing alternative to quartz and granite, it can be worked like wood. The panels come in a variety of warm tones.

XTONE’s Blue Roma sintered stone, offered by Porcelanosa, intertwines coppery veins with a distinctive and elegant grayish-blue canvas. The collection offers a natural aesthetic with character reminiscent of a blue quartzite, states the company. Blue Roma is available in two thicknesses as well as two finishes: Silk and Polished.

Surfalite from Santamargherita is an engineered stone surface that is produced to be 7mm thick, made from a mixture of minerals, quartz and recycled materials. Its thinness and subsequent lightness allow it to be used for a variety of applications, including covering existing countertops, backsplashes and cabinet door cladding.

SapienStone’s collection of 4D ceramic surfacing delivers sustainable characteristics and full-body technology, which allows veins and patterns to run through the thickness. Emulating natural stone, the Italian porcelain countertops provide durability. Grand Antique, shown, has a deep black marble look with graphic white veining.

‘Stainless on the 45′ by incorporates a handmade stainless steel sink that is integrally welded and polished into a custom formed 16-gauge stainless countertop. The undercabinet lighting provides reflectivity from the #4 satin finished top. The surface provides natural antimicrobial properties.

ThinkGlass creates exclusive glass pieces that include hand-applied textures, giving each piece its own personality and uniqueness, notes the firm. Glass, according to the company, has multiple advantageous properties as well, including timelessness and versatility. It is easy to maintain, hygienic, 100% recyclable and VOC-free.

Inspired by Ijen Blue Quartzite, Sakura from Vadara Quartz Surfaces showcases a soft off-white background with blue-gray and warm brown. The dominant veins on the artisan-crafted surfaces are blue-gray, complemented with thin gray and rust accents.

VT Industries has expanded its Stretta laminate surfacing color portfolio with the addition of Alabaster Slate. With a large-scale, milky-white pattern, Alabaster Slate provides a subtle, natural look with a blend of pearly white undertones and beige accents throughout the linear design.

The striking line on the Perpetua Quartz slab adds depth and emulates the look of marble or granite. The surfacing, from Walker Zanger, has many visual similarities to these natural stones but, as a man-made material, it requires less maintenance, and is resistant to scratches and scuffs, states the firm.

The newest introductions from Wilsonart include new designs to its THINSCAPE Performance Tops. Recognizing the trend for its European-style, ultra-thin countertops, the company has added three stone designs – Soluna, Sea Line Mist and Pietra Noir – to the collection. The new tones range from neutral hues to dark stone looks.