Investment by Homeowners in Kitchen and Bath Design Continues

April 20, 2015

As the housing recovery continues, homeowners’ investment in their kitchens and bathrooms remains a key focus. Kitchens in particular have solidified their standing as the center of operations within the home. These are among the major findings from the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the fourth quarter of 2014, which focused on kitchen and bath design trends.

The survey notes that residential architects are reporting strong business conditions at their firms. Energy efficiency, water conservation and healthy home concerns are prevalent in the homeowner product choices in kitchens and baths. Likewise, accessibility considerations are often reflected in the planning for these areas of the home.

“The major point of emphasis in kitchen design nowadays revolves less around actual cooking activities,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. ”Rather, homeowners are looking for kitchens that are gathering spots for family and entertaining, as well as serving as a hub for electronic devices and recharging stations.”

“The kitchen has become what we call the ‘activator,’ the main space in the residence, and the design requirements often include high functionality to accommodate multiple activities,” said James Walbridge, AIA, chair of the AIA’s Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN). “The aesthetics of the kitchen have also changed as the composition and material selections have elevated the space to become an essential focal point of the total design. Another important trend we see appearing more, not only in kitchens but the entire project, is specifying healthier construction components such as paint, caulking, glues, grout and other potentially high VOC (volatile organic compounds) products, that may contain harmful ingredients and off-gas noxious fumes or vapors over time as they are curing.”

According to the survey, popular kitchen features continue to include LED lighting, a computer or recharging area, larger pantry space, high-end appliances and a double island. Popular bath features include LED lighting, doorless showers, adaptability, walk-in showers, stall showers without tubs and water-saving toilets.