I have finally unpacked from my trip to KBIS, and distilled some of the ideas and new directions I saw, and what’s coming up for the future of design is nothing short of impressive! You can read about our sponsors to see some of the products that caught my eye, and a few more here. While this was my very first trip to KBIS, it is not my first time around the block (or second or third) when it comes to kitchen design. I may not be a show veteran, but I saw some trends I am pretty comfortable telling you about.

We have likely not ever seen as big a shift in lifestyle as we have over the past few years, with lockdowns and harbouring safe at home to wait out the health crisis, we seem to be emerging from. Excitement as well as attendance was high at KBIS last week and there are some great responses to the new demands, and I think these lifestyle changes are driving some of the new directions.

As our lifestyles change and new needs surface, products evolve to meet those shifts. Innovation, creativity, and technology rise to the occasion. Here are just a few things that caught my eye.

Trends I saw at the show

  1. Curves
  2. Ribbing and wood slat panelling
  3. Workstation sinks
  4. Technology on new fronts
  5. COLOUR!
  6. Opulence

Curved shapes

Curves are still going strong in furniture and furnishings and have entered the kitchen arena in design. We have seen blocky rectangular furniture surpassed by curved, sometimes amorphous forms for some time now, but we area also seeing the hard angles fade in preference for some softer new shapes in the kitchen and bathroom industry. The shapes I saw however, are still structured, likely owing to the rigidity inherent in construction materials (enamel sinks, quartz for countertops), but are picking up on an appeal for curves nonetheless.

Oblong is a shape showing up, like this kitchen island we saw at Compac Surfaces designed by Elisa Ossino, and also in sinks by quite a few suppliers. Neither round nor rectangular, the oblong is the shape we see emerging.

Ribbing and wood slat panelling still a big trend

Ribbing and wood slats are leading the trends for wall treatments and are being mimicked in other surfaces as well. Frankly, I wonder why we haven’t seen more wide-waled corduroy on the runway.

Here is a beautiful example from Monogram Appliance’s exhibit on the front of the cabinetry.

Workstation Sinks

As we spend more time in our homes, and entertain there rather than dining out, we are looking for more from a sink in an island than just a place to catch dirty dishes awaiting cleanup. This hideaway sink caught my attention and was one of my #designerfinds for the entire show. There when you want it, gone when you want it out of sight, this great sink clears off your countertop for easy set-up if you are hosting a buffet, ruling out any hesitation about putting a sink in your island once and for all!

The faucet retracts, and the sink comes with a template for your countertop supplier to cut out a cover to completely conceal the sink if you don’t want the cutting boards or draining racks out when hosting an event.

Technology making big strides

Innovations are coming to a kitchen near you through advanced technology. From dual fuel ranges with built in steam ovens and sous-vide cooking elements, to wine fridge columns that will catalogue your wine from a quick scan of the label to pairing it with food and suggesting optimal serving temperature. Refrigerators with colour change door panels to suit your mood and pair it with music, technology are coming to your kitchen, if you want it.

Built-in steam oven and sous vide element

Cook like a chef in your own kitchen. How do they cook a steak to a perfect internal temperature in a busy dining room every time? The answer lies in the sous vide technique. Now, you can have this option built-into your home range, and a steam oven too!

Smart wine fridge column (very smart!)

wine column


Citrus and Green

Colour was the big headline of the show. When fashion and design converge, we know this is going to be a big story. Nordstrom declared not just colour but “joyful colour” as a trend for spring. Bold, and yes, joyful colour on appliances, sinks, faucets, tubs, and of course, walls was seen at KBIS. After a bleak decade (or so) of grey and muted neutrals, we are seeing colour come back in a big way. It is joyful, and it is everywhere.

Here is just a bit of inspiration from the show focussing on colour as this was the most visibly evident change. Green was the most prolific, perhaps in response to a yearning for nurturing and all things organic, and a growing interest in biophilia. Green upholstery, green cabinetry, and most unexpectedly, green in appliances. The options for customization on appliances is growing, and I’m not mad about that!

Green stained cabinets are a lovely alternative to paint for an even more organic feel. They complemented this tropical kitchen vignette at Café Appliances showcasing their customizable appliances.

Opulence and rich

I noticed a leaning toward glam and elegance, perhaps even opulence, I can’t quite explain. As designers, our eye tends to travel to what we are interested in so we are perhaps not completely unbiased reporters of an event but this was difficult to miss!

I guess when staying in has become our ‘new going out to a fancy place’, as a necessary adaptation to our recent health crisis, it makes sense to see us craving elegance and an up-scale aesthetic in our homes.

You know what they say about hemlines and the economy. Well with continuing volatility, and unpredictability, I see a yearning for a richer life; a good life at home. Yes, we are ready to travel and embrace new experiences once again, but we also want to come home to a lovely place and see our hard-earned money invested in something tangible, lasting. I’m surmising here but I saw a lot of up-scale looks that surpass pure functionality and I think that is what we have come to expect. Renovating has become so expensive – why not expect a kick-ass result? White kitchens are classic but with imagination I see some stellar trends emerging showcasing heaps of personality.

Thank you European Kitchens for showing us around your showroom and serving a lovely luncheon.

bold opulent kitchen

Even in Vegas this sequinned wall treatment was over-the-top with glamour.

With opulence can come an extravagance with colour. This from Monogram’s exhibit.

If you want to see opulence, for example… just look at the digs they set us up with in Las Vegas! The design details, layers, and attention to detail seemed endless. I appreciated every bit of it!

Judith in Encore suites hotel suite

Joyful, Optimistic


Joy was another word we are hearing. …and what has been missing from our lives for the past three years? Joy. Hence the colour of sunshine I see appearing in interiors.


A final note on opulence

Thank you Modenus and KBIS, and all of our product sponsors: SKS Appliances, Compac Surfaces, Ballerina-Küchen , Westlake Royal Building Products, Mr. Steam. I could have spent the entire four days enjoying my beautiful room at the Encore, but the show beckoned!