2016 Top Trends that will Transform Our Homes
Today’s homes mean so much more to families than simply a place to keep our stuff or nod off to sleep each night. The home has become our primary entertainment venue, a place to nurture relationships with family and friends, the backdrop for cool, innovative gadgets, and an expression of our personality and vibe.
Nowhere does this come through so vibrantly than at the 2016 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS). As I walked the expanse of the Las Vegas Convention Center taking in the show’s sights, sounds, and innovations, I identified key trends we may see in our own homes by year’s end.
- Lights that sparkle and change colors will start appearing everywhere in the home. From lights above your shower to lights that make your shower water look like a disco, to mood lighting lining your cabinets, to changing the color of light in your gas fireplace – lighting becomes a true design element. This trend – which started with light bulbs that come with an app to change their hue – has exploded across every room of the house, even adding lighting where we never thought of it before, such as edging the ceiling molding of your bedroom.
- Who wants to make the trek to the kitchen? Forget the fitness tracker movement. Kitchen appliance manufacturers have all started showcasing under- the-counter fridges, so cold beverages of your choice or snacks await you in your bedroom, TV room, or anywhere else in your house where you sack out and can’t be bothered to work your way to the kitchen fridge from. Plus, the model homes display coffee makers right there in the master bathroom – much like a hotel – so espresso is simply a button push away as you crawl out of bed in the morning, or crave a soothing decaf to help you unwind before bed.
- Drawers have never been so organized. Where once our closets garnered endless attention for organizational solutions, that same intensity of focus and straighten-up wizardry in which every thing has its place has shifted to our kitchens. Forget silverware inserts or knife holders, the cabinets of the future feature everything cleverly built in – from cut outs for each specialty tool to built-in canisters for your sugar and flour to spice storage units and glide-out racks that house your pots and pans. Cupboards with a push of a button lower to give you easy access to upper shelves – no more reaching, no more kitchen stepladders – and cup holders for coffee simply lower down as needed. Drawers offer split levels, so when you open the drawer fully, you can push back the upper tray to reveal a second tray underneath.
- Wood-burning fireplaces? So yesterday. Gas fireplaces have turned artisan with warm fire lights dancing across clear glass stones in long and narrow bands that shimmer and take the place of wall art. However, you have to run a gas line to fuel them, and installation can prove tricky.
- Fantasy homes. As kitchen brands take innovation to the next level, our appliances have become more aspirational – fitting right in with the high-end homes of our dreams. The GE Monogram Pizza Oven resulted from research into the different temperatures pizza – in all its tantalizing varieties – requires and built these temperature settings into the oven. Moreover, Viking Range showcased its Professional TurboChef oven that allows the home cook to prepare foods faster than ever thought possible.
- Backyards become the new gathering spot. Summertime – or make that year-round for those in temperate climates – and the living is easy and outdoors. From textured, never fade wood-like decks to outdoor appliances that outshine the ones in our kitchens, the future will see us entertaining outdoors more and more. Built-in units have options for everything – including grills that turn into smokers, nugget ice makers, butane burners, and a beverage fridge.
- Retro rustic rules. From barn doors to farmhouse sinks – rustic retro emerged as a hot style trend at this year’s show. KBIS also showcased the intersection of rustic style and product innovation with Stikwood, a company that takes recycled wood – even recycled sports floors – and turns it into peel-and-stick natural wood siding to change up any wall in your home.
- Appliances turn pro. With today’s consumers so passionate about food and cooking, they’ve become more discerning about appliances, and as a result, we’ve seen a movement toward more professional kitchen equipment. Viking has designed professional-grade appliances and fit them into home settings. It even extends to the handles – kitchen manufacturers have replaced traditional ones with thick stainless bars – from ovens to fridges – so they resemble what you’d find in professional kitchens.
- Say goodbye to your current toilet! The new ones (with fairly affordable seat retrofits of your existing toilet) include heated seats, water-saving flushes, and rinsing that makes bidets look antiquated – we may never get up from them! And just to make sure you can find them, they have a nightlight built in that illuminates the water. Of course, for the latest top-of-the-line ones, you also need to be flush with lots of money to afford them, and some require an electrical outlet adjacent to the toilet, which most homes simply don’t have.
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