Millennial Pros' Favorite Products Signal Hot 2019 Kitchen And Bath Design Trends

Dated: 07/07/2019

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The National Kitchen & Bath Association names 30 industry professionals younger than 30 every year to its “30 Under 30” leaders group, and sends them to the association’s massive Kitchen & Bath Industry Show every year with homework to complete. This year, the group was tasked with naming its own product favorites for a 30s Choice Awards, separate from the show's official Best of KBIS Awards.

The idea was to distill what this emerging generation of designers and allied professionals from across the country and Canada sees as not only the top products at the industry’s top North American show, but notable trends and innovations for the year ahead. Their choices did just that. Here are some of the most revealing:


The group chose Ann Sacks’ Crackle Collection by Kohler WasteLab. These glossy tiles, made from recycled factory waste from the fixtures giant, show that sustainable materials can be colorful and current, as well as earth-friendly. Color was a major trend at KBIS this year, in surfacing materials like tile, as well as in appliances, fixtures and cabinetry.

Vibrant tile made from recycled bathroom fixtures unites glamour and sustainability.

Vibrant tile made from recycled bathroom fixtures unites glamour and sustainability.


Smart Home Integration

It’s no secret that technology has made its way into building products at a rapid pace. The group's choice of Signature Kitchen Suite’s Wine Column with Wine Cave Technology speaks to this connectivity trend. Manufacturers – especially at the higher end – have been incorporating wifi capability into their appliances for several years now. These tech features perform a variety of roles, from convenience for users, to product performance, to monitoring for maintenance issues. Signature Kitchen Suites, LG’s luxury appliance brand, even has a name for the food and wine aficionados embracing this connected trend: Technicureans.  The company’s first line of wine refrigerators will help pair food and wine for those buyers who are more technological than epicurean savvy, as well as help preserve their collections with three zone capability.

HIgh tech wine columns suggest food pairings.

HIgh tech wine columns suggest food pairings.


Customization Capabilities

Customization was a major trend at this year’s KBIS, with designers and homeowners able to create unique looks in fixtures, appliances and cabinetry. This is not a new trend, but it is one that is growing steadily with homeowners increasingly interested in personalizing their living spaces. The choice of RangeCraft, an American-based range hood company, shows how a crucially-important kitchen component can be highly decorative and individualized. (This year also marked a trend toward more traditional design styles, which suits a crafts-oriented brand like this one.)

Being able to customize appliances and other kitchen features is a major design trend.

Being able to customize appliances and other kitchen features is a major design trend.


Universal Design

With the aging of America’s population, products that make it easier to remain independently at home are showing up on just about every professional residential design survey. The challenge for designers and manufacturers is to create them to the same aesthetic standards as the rest of the home. The winner of the 30 Under 30 award in this category went to Ponte Giulio, an Italian manufacturer of designer-friendly grab bars. Imagine having styles for master suites more evocative of resort spas than rehab hospital rooms. Now you do.

Three of the Italian-designed grab bars snapped at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show.

Three of the Italian-designed grab bars snapped at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show.



Wellness is another major trend in the design world, with companies coming up with new products every year to enhance buyers’ physical and emotional health. Wellness encompasses appliances that incorporate healthy cooking features like steam and sous vide, as well as fixtures that enhance hygiene or relaxation, including bidet style toilets, steam showers and feature-rich tubs. This latter category is where you’ll find the 30 Under 30 Wellness winner: Toto’s Flotation Tub with Zero Dimension.   Flotation enthusiasts point to its stress, pain and anxiety reduction benefits. With a $19,269 MSRP, clients will need to have a healthy budget for this tub, but it’s not uncommon for popular innovations to “democratize” into affordable price points with time. (We’re already seeing that in the bidet-style toilet category – making that benefit available in bidet seats for less than $1,000 debuting at this show.)

New bathtub features zero gravity flotation for the home.

New bathtub features zero gravity flotation for the home.



With so many kitchen and bath businesses owned by Baby Boomers getting ready to retire, it’s this next generation of young designers who will be taking over the industry, and likely working with you on your next remodeling or new construction project. It’s also younger adults who are increasingly moving into the home buying market and remodeling their starter houses. Knowing what excites them is a valuable lesson for home sellers and the industry alike.

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Cynthia Minnick

A Pennsylvania native, Cindy moved to Florida with an extensive background in Accounting and Payroll. Her transition into Real Estate came naturally and her diverse background takes the stress out of....

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