Report from KBIS: What’s New in Kitchens and Baths

This is a guest post from interior designer Sharon Sherman.

A few weeks ago, I attended the combined KBIS/IBS (Kitchen & Bath Industry Show/International Building Show) in Orlando. Here are my top takeaways:

Blue, white and gray are here to stay:

Artistic Tile

I simply love blue, white and gray. These colors were everywhere, letting us know this color trend has staying power. Artistic Tile combined color with luxury in its amazing Art Deco inspired design. Blue, white and gray mosaic tiles accented with a soft bronze detail is a classic with a modern twist. Soft bronze was also featured in faucets, hardware and accessories. The combination really creates a sense of luxury.

Pops of color:


Bright, cheery colors are reserved not just for tiles and hardware; they’re showing up on appliances as well. In the Smeg booth, bright, primary colors on their ranges reinforced this design trend. While white and soft gray still dominate color schemes, brighter color accents are coming on strong. These colors are also appearing in the small-appliance field. The limited-edition hand-painted refrigerator by Dolce & Gabbana (below) created quite a buzz.

Smeg and Dolce & Gabbana refrigerator

Luxury finishes are trending:

Top Knobs

Warm bronze, black stainless and matte black dominated the finishes for fittings and hardware. Hardware manufacturer Top Knobs showed this trend with their Ash Gray and Honey Bronze hardware collections. Brizo, Delta and just about everyone else showcased their new soft bronze finishes along with matte black and black stainless, which is a newcomer. Warmer than their brushed stainless and nickel cousins, they look beautiful in both traditional and contemporary settings with sleek, sophisticated materials and finishes you just have to feel for yourself.

Showers are HOT:


All things water took center stage this year. Kohler presented a shower system that combines color, smart technology and lighting to create an exceptional shower environment. Water has a unique effect, especially with the addition of light and sound. You can control everything from the water source to the color therapy and musical inspiration with a touch of the finger.

Technology comes home:


Integrated smart controls from shower systems to kitchen appliances were featured in nearly every booth. Panasonic presented a condensation sensor for its bath fans. This sensor helps to control excess moisture, which can lead to mold and mildew. Another great innovation is Home Connect, a home automation system. Thermador showed me how Home Connect can send recipes right to the oven and start the cooking process for you. Forgot to run the dishwasher? Simply turn it on from the app. No need to stop for coffee on the way home—the app can have it ready for you when you arrive.

Don’t forget the Great Outdoors:


Envision showed its composite decking material. Proudly made in the USA and offering a 25-year guarantee, this product looks so real I had to touch it. Almost every client I work with requests design solutions for outdoor kitchens and backyard living environments. Low maintenance and great-looking products are important additions to the design process. Nothing else says luxury like your own backyard oasis.

Sharon makes a call in the Rockwool “phone booth” at the KBIS/IBS show. Rockwool is a manufacturer of stone wool insulation

Sharon Sherman is the owner of Wyckoff, NJ-based Thyme & Place Design. She is a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD), a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designs (ASID) and a state–certified interior designer (CID). The article first appeared on her blog