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A Comparison of the NKBA Survey & the Houzz Bathroom Trends Study

By Jakemontgomery @LTDOnlineStores

The best way to keep up to date with the latest bathroom trends is to keep an eye on industry surveys. The National Kitchen & Bath Association has been around for some time now and has solidified their role as a primary source for quantitative and qualitative information.

Houzz is a fairly recent organization that has popped on the scene and garnered a following from interior designers, professional landscapers, and architects alike. Each of these organizations have released the results of independent surveys. Let’s take a look at what was the same and different in these reports.

Zen Bathroom with Budhha Wall Paper

Zen bathroom with custom Buddha Wall. The wall features a series of 3 waterproof panels created by artist Alex Turco. What you can’t see is the texture on the surface that gives the impression that the wall is we. Courtesy Élan Designs International

What Can We Expect in 2014

This article stems off of the posts I wrote below. I suggest reading them to become familiar with each survey before reading this comparative study. This post will note the similarities and differences so read up first:

NKBA Mentioned These Trends

  • Accessible Design that is ADA compliant.
  • Zen Bathrooms are in.  The Principles of Japanese Bathroom Design is one of my best posts if you haven’t already read it.
  • 68% of new bathrooms feature contemporary styling.
  • Gray is projected to be the fastest growing color choice in 2014.
  • Average cost of a bathroom remodel is between $5,000-$30,000.

Houzz Noted these Trends

  • 80% of homeowners are installing glass shower enclosures.
  • 40% will integrate a bathroom layout without a tub.
  • There is a generational gap manifested in contrasting sense of style and features. The younger generation likes more options while older homeowners favor functionality.
  • 68% of homeowners are remodeling either to make their bathroom more practical or increase the value of their home.

Commonalities Between the Studies

Curbless Glass Showers

Curbless Shower with Glass Doors

No threshold makes getting in—and out—of this frameless shower-tub suite pure pleasure. Textured floor tile, grab bars, hand shower, and an extra-wide bath deck complete the clean, seamless design. Courtesty Carnemark design +build. Photo by Anice Hoachlander

One finding that both of these studies highlighted are the growing popularity of no-threshold showers and glass enclosures. A few months ago, I explained some of the key benefits of curbless showers here. It seems that many are eliminating the raised curb and opting for full length shower enclosures. No-threshold showers are great because they are expansive and create a airy feeling in tight spaces.

The Bathtub is here to Stay…for now

While there is often a debate about whether or not you should remove the bathtub in your master bedroom, most homeowners are keeping theirs. 64% of NKBA respondents will use a layout that has a bathtub and 60% of Houzz respondents also said this. These numbers are pretty dang close so it gives you an idea of just how accurate these studies can be in predicting future bathroom trends.

Undermount Sinks

Another point of agreement is the preference for undermount sinks. 45% of Houzzers are installing an undermount sink. This was also a noted “What’s Hot” trend from the NKBA Study. This should affirm the fact that undermount sinks are going to be popular this year. Manufacturer JWH Imports has shown privy to this trend with the introduction of a new line of undermount sinks earlier this year.

What’s Going Out of Style

  • Tuscan Designs are not as popular as they once were. View examples of Tuscan Design.
  • While I don’t want to say they’re gone for good, vessel sinks weren’t quite as popular. Undermount sinks are in but this isn’t to say that vessel sinks won’t resurface in the near future.
  • Provincial bathrooms & country bathrooms. This may be subjective to the location of bathroom projects surveyed. Certain geographic areas may be more inclined to these locally inspired features and can relate to a number of new constructions in metropolitan areas vs rural or historically recognized neighborhoods.

Comparing the Studies

The Houzz study tended to focus on the features of a bathroom while the NKBA study focused primarily on design aspects. Combining the two sheds light even greater detail. In this way, the two do not overlap in the types of questions posed. Rather, they complement one another well and reveal different types of information that can be useful.

Contemporary Personal Spa Bath

A tantalizing personal spa bath layout designed by Ashley Cambell.

How we Can Apply This

There was a time when colonial revival was in. This may still hold true in older Victorian homes but in general, the bathroom is headed in the direction of exotic and edgy aesthetics. Contemporary and Zen bathrooms are to be clear winners in 2014. If you’re remodeling, no-threshold glass showers are a must to stay up to date.

In general, there seems to be a move away from antiquated styles and toward more modern and contemporary styles. Yes, there is a difference between the two. We may have seen this coming with the advent of transitional styles that shifted away the fine detailing of traditional furnishings. Now, wall-hung vanities like these are becoming more commonplace.

Further Reading:

  1. Bathroom Behavior: The Ideal Standard Study
  2. Robern’s Digital Wood Collection Uses Latest in Printing Technology
  3. No You’re Not Dreaming-The Touchless Toilet is Finally Here

About the Author
Cheryl Khan is a contributing author to the Tradewinds Imports Blog. Designer by trade and writer by nature, she enjoys keeping up to date with the latest trends, designs, products, and color palettes of the year.

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