Design Trends 2022 Millennials Flexing Their Muscles

The National Kitchen & Bath Association’s newly released Design Trends 2022 Report focuses on the key design drivers in the industry over the next three years.

Perhaps the top takeaway from NKBA’s 2022 Design Trends study is that the desires of millennials are increasingly being factored into K&B remodels. The survey included over 650 respondents, the majority of whom were designers. The goal was to determine likely trends over the next three years across all facets of kitchen and bath design.

Many of the findings do not come as a surprise. It’s no secret that millennials as a whole gravitate towards nature and enjoy conveying that look into their homes. One of the study’s findings is that the Organic/Natural look continues to gain in popularity. Just two years ago respondents rated it well down the list of popular kitchen styles at #9. In this latest study it is ranked #2, close behind Transitional. For millennials, it is top-rated, well ahead of the next most popular, Contemporary. For bathrooms, the natural look ranked #1 overall, but by a greater margin among millennials.

Bold colors are gaining in popularity. While whites and off-whites are expected to easily top the list of neutrals—although with warmer hues—the most popular color schemes are greens and blues. These colors will most likely find their way into backsplashes and cabinets within kitchens, and for wall paint/coverings, artwork and vanities in bathrooms, with greens leading the charge in line with the theme of nature. In the same vein, wood tones are expected to gain in popularity as well.

Other prominent trends identified and highlighted within the study include more flexible usage of space, cleanliness, sustainability, and integrated technology. In particular, multi-purposing of space is all the rage. For instance, while larger kitchen islands have been gaining in popularity for a while, the potential uses for them keep growing. Not only is it a space for eating and food preparation, but it is also being repurposed as an area of work and homework. This is especially true for millennials. Pantry usage as well is expected to expand beyond food storage and to multipurpose as a work area for small appliances and coffee makers. Bathrooms too are branching out, connecting to dressing areas or laundry facilities.

The pandemic-generated trend towards cleanliness and safety is not expected to fade away anytime soon. Quartz, as an easy-to-clean surface, is hotter than ever as a countertop preference, while larger format tiles that lessen the need for grout are expected to grow in popularity.Touchless faucets are also highly desirable in keeping with this theme.

Sustainable design is another buzz term that’s taking its cues from millennials. Energy efficient products will only 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.

Integrated technology is receiving greater scrutiny, with tech-savvy millennials leading the push. Smart controls for appliances using mobile devices or tablets, voice-activated lighting and products that activate water temperature, entertainment and communication top the near-term list. For bathrooms, touchpads for shower control, radiant heated floors, and smart toilets and bathroom mirrors are seen as growing in near-term popularity. Although the buzz is there, its usage is far from universal. Currently only 30% of kitchen and 21% of bathroom projects are incorporating integrated technology.

Finally, since along with Gen-X’rs, they continue to represent the lion’s share of remodeling projects, we can’t forget baby boomers. The trend for products geared towards living in place will only grow stronger both near-term and beyond. Universal design spaces that allow for homeowners to age in place, such as curbless showers, stylish grab bars, and hand-held shower heads, are the top features expected to be incorporated.

Key Takeaways:

  • Organic/Natural styles for both kitchens and bathrooms continue to surge in popularity.
  • Greens will lead the charge as bold accent colors gain in prominence to complement traditional whites and off-whites.
  • Near-term designs will involve more multipurposing and flexible usage of space.
  • The importance of integrated technology and sustainability to millennials will transform design concepts.

Learn More

See the entire NKBA Design Trends 2022 Report

National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) is a non-profit trade group that promotes professionalism in the kitchen and bath industry. Established in 1963 as a network of kitchen dealers, it has evolved into the premier association of designers, retailers, remodelers, manufacturers, distributors, fabricators, installers and other industry professionals.