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Stars of KBIS 2018- Six New Trends for Your Kitchen & Bath

I always love to attend the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) each year.  It’s so much fun to spot the patterns and trends that are always evident.  Somethings have an extremely long shelf life such as white cabinets and stainless steel appliances. I continue to see those items but then there are some new things that just blew me away! This year’s show was held in Orlando, Florida in conjunction with the International Builders’ Show (IBS) January 9-11.  I was not only on the spot but I have been spot on in my recent observations and blog posts. Read on to see what I found!


                                                                     Photo by Sabrina Brunk

Our first stop on day one was the Champagne and Cupcakes event hosted by Modenus and sponsored by LG Home Appliances and Signature Kitchens. This unofficial kickoff event of KBIS has become an annual institution for social media influencers, designers and media to celebrate the beginning of KBIS with champagne, cupcakes and buzz! We were honored to be included in this invitation-only event.


Back to Black

I called it! Remember this post? It was all about black, the new neutral and go-to for everything including countertops, appliances and plumbing fixtures. Matte finishes, in particular, are hot. It’s definitely the new neutral.  What about grey?  Don’t panic, grey is still strong but it’s morphing into a warmer version, closer to taupe.

The Galley, black faucet
The Galley faucet and sink workstation

Natural Wood

Those taupier greys are a beautiful complement to all the natural stained wood which, I think is a  reaction to so many years of white and dark espresso finishes.  The hot stain colors are browner and less red.  Think walnut as opposed to cherry.  The finishes are light to medium allowing you to appreciate the beautiful movement and visual texture of the wood grains. The only exception to this was seen at mid-ranged Wellborn Cabinets.  They state that 70% of their business is still in painted finishes, but not just white.  With their Be Inspired option, you can go crazy with color and create a very personalized space. The example below was designed by Joanna Gaines.

natural wood, kitchen, black accents

Are You Feeling Blue?

Speaking of color, if you’re feeling blue you’re on trend.  If there’s an accent color I noticed in the kitchen it’s a deep rich blue.  A blue island can be the perfect accent but don’t do it unless you love the color and it blends seamlessly with your space.  That way it’ll be timeless and not just a passing fancy.


Mixed Metals

Never have I seen so many metal finish choices for plumbing fixtures and hardware.  The bronzes and brushed brasses that came out last year are stronger than ever.  The best thing is you can mix more than one metal in your kitchen and bath, just make sure you tie it into another element in the room.  For example, you could have stainless steel appliances but a brushed brass faucet and matching brass cabinet hardware.  Kohler definitely took this trend to the next level with their Vibrant Ombré faucets!



                                                                                                Photo by Sabrina Brunk


The New Traditional

Even though I wrote about this a year ago, right here, I was amazed at how many displays I saw that were definitely leaning towards traditional.  Today’s traditional is fresh and updated but still classical. In addition to this sort of “new farmhouse” example below, I saw detailed door styles with moldings and raised panels. I was surprised to see that!




Not Your Grandma’s Formica

Formica’s new surfaces feature the most updated technologies in laminate materials.  At the show, they were touting writable surfaces and new patterns to rival the beauty of marble.  Maybe this material, which has always had a big following in Europe, is worth another look.  It’s being used on vertical surfaces too, not just countertops.  They also showed a shower in all Formica, not sure I’m into that though.

Formica looks like marble

In addition to these big stars of the show, I saw so many great accessories and organizational inserts for your kitchen and bath, sleek and sculptural freestanding tubs and did I mention black? 

freestanding bath tub, matte black
                                               Photo by Sabrina Brunk

There’s no way I can leave you without sharing one of the most memorable moments of that show for me.  It was attending Modenus’ Design Milk Talk on Business Marketing featuring (left to right) Claire Jefferd, Maria Killam, Laurel Bern and Leslie Carothers superstars in our industry. Following last summer’s series The Big Move, I was the winner of Claire Jefferd’s video training course.  Now I’ll really know what I’m doing in the next video venture! 😉


If you haven’t done so already, follow my Facebook page where I am posting my finds every day.  I’m on Instagram too!  If you’re in the beginning stages of planning a new kitchen this is a good way to start the process. I am enthusiastically available for in-home consultations in South Florida from Boca Raton to Jupiter if you’re ready to take that next step.  A big THANK YOU to my beautiful daughter Sabrina Brunk for assisting me on this trip and helping me spot the trends at  KBIS 2018 and sharing her photographs. Cheers!!

 Photo by Sabrina Brunk




Gloria Graham-Sollecito

Gloria is a kitchen and bath cabinetry designer with AKBD certification from the National Kitchen & Bath Association. She has also served on the Florida Treasure Coast Chapter's Board of Directors as the VP of Communications. Her work has appeared on This Old House as well as in Florida Design Magazine, K+BB Magazine and the Palm Beach Post. She is co-author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Remodeling Your Kitchen, Illustrated, as well as a freelanced writer contributing occasionally to the Sun Sentinel in the area of kitchen design. She is a proud member of the Blanco Design Council and the illustrious Brizo Blogger 19.

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