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NKBA Finds Transitional Style Bathrooms Among Most Popular in North America According to Survey

Jan 19, 2016

Members of the National Kitchen & Bath Association specify modern design, built-in storage and hand showers among top bathroom trends of 2016

Clean, modern style and neutral colors dominate North American bathroom design, according to the 2016 Design Trends Survey conducted by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). Here are the top 10 overall bathroom trends NKBA expects for 2016:

  1. Clean, modern, transitional designs.
  2. Universal design features.
  3. Neutral colors.
  4. Open shelving, floating vanities and wall-hung toilets.
  5. Built-in storage.
  6. Undermount sinks.
  7. Freestanding tubs.
  8. Shower amenities like hand showers and shower lighting.
  9. Polished chrome faucet finish.
  10. Other popular bathroom amenities, specified by at least 25% of respondents in 2015 include:

    1. Electric radiant floor heating
    2. Easy maintenance features
    3. One-piece toilet
    4. Electric towel-warmer
    5. Humidity-sensing fans
    6. Steam showers
    7. Smart toilet seats with integrated bidet features
    8. WaterSense® listed toilets and faucets

Transitional is by far the most popular bathroom style, outpacing 2015’s top contemporary style trend by 10 percentage points. Nearly 70 percent of NKBA designers surveyed expect to specify transitional style bathrooms in 2016.

Neutral colors dominate the bathroom, with white being the most popular fixture color and whites and grays being the most popular overall color schemes. Seventy-nine percent of members surveyed indicated grays as the most popular color scheme, with whites/off-whites trailing close behind at 77 percent. Keeping with the popular neutral-tone theme, beiges/bones were specified by 65 percent of NKBA members surveyed.

Increasingly popular are bathroom amenities including electric heated floors, easy maintenance features, one-piece toilets, towel warmers, humidity-sensing fans, steam showers, smart toilets/bidets and WaterSense® toilets and faucets.

“More steam showers, more radiant heat in bathroom floors,” said Jeanette Coulter, AKBD, a kitchen and bath designer from New Jersey.

“Clients want easy-to-clean and use,” said Skyler Donaldson, a kitchen and bath designer from Alabama.

Other survey respondents mentioned roll-out shelves for storage, frameless glass enclosures for the shower, and an increased use of aging-in-place or universal design elements. Over half of respondents reported having installed accessible and/or universal design features, with

82 percent installing comfort-height toilets and 75 percent installing comfort-height vanities.

“More homeowners will allow us to install handrails in shower,” said Cynthia White, CKD, a remodeler from Ohio. “It’s an easier sell!”

Undermount sinks remain the most popular sink style, specified by 92 percent of respondents. Vessel sinks are the second most popular, with over half of NKBA designers installing the style. Wood vanities and wall-mount vanities are also trends to look for in 2016.

NKBA survey respondents report an increase in no-threshold showers and the elimination of tubs, especially in master baths. However, freestanding standard tubs and soaker tubs remain popular, with nearly 70 percent specifying each style.

Members specialize in full bathroom projects, both remodels and new construction. More than half do bathroom projects in the $10,000 – $29,000 price range while another 31 percent report that their average bathroom price is more than $30,000 for design, materials and labor.

“Our Design Trends Survey serves as the industry forecast when it comes to kitchen and bath design trends, giving us a comprehensive look at what to expect in the coming year,” said Bill Darcy, NKBA CEO. “Our members know first-hand what’s trending, because they create beautiful and functional bathrooms every day. It’s only natural we look to them for insight into the industry.”

The National Kitchen & Bath Association has tracked kitchen and bath design trends throughout its 53-year existence. A version of this NKBA Design Trends Survey has been in existence since the 1980s and this iteration has tracked trends since 2010. More than 450 designers from around the country participated in this study conducted online in late 2015.

More details, including product trends, are included in the full 2016 NKBA Kitchen & Bath Design Trends report, available free to NKBA members on

To find NKBA members near you for kitchen and bathroom projects, please visit

About the National Kitchen & Bath Association

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) is the not-for-profit trade association that owns the KBIS®. With nearly 14,000 member companies representing tens of thousands of members in segments of the kitchen and bath industry, the NKBA has educated and led the industry since the association’s founding in 1963. The mission of the NKBA is to enhance member success and excellence, promote professionalism and ethical business practices, and provide leadership and direction for the kitchen and bath industry worldwide. For more information, visit or call 1-800-THE-NKBA (843-6522).

KBIS® and NKBA® are registered trademarks of the National Kitchen & Bath Association.

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, including photography, contact John O’Reilly c/o O’Reilly DePalma: 815-469-9100 or