In Kitchens, the Design May Trump Cooking

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Home owners continue to invest in their kitchens but cooking appears to be coming in secondary to the design of the space, according to the latest American Institute of Architects’ Home Design Trends Survey which focused on kitchen and bath design trends.

“The major point of emphasis in kitchen design nowadays revolves less around actual cooking activities,” says AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. ”Rather, home owners are looking for kitchens that are gathering spots for family and entertaining, as well as serving as a hub for electronic devices and recharging stations.”

Many of the architect respondents surveyed by AIA noted the revival of kitchen as the “hearth” of the home in the traditional sense: for family gathering, for entertaining, and for daily activities.

Indeed, the kitchen has become the “activator” – the main space in a residence and a center of operations in a home, says James Walbridge, chair of AIA’s custom residential architects network.

“The design requirements often include high functionality to accommodate multiple activities,” Walbridge says. “The aesthetics of the kitchen have also changed as the composition and material selections have elevated the space to become an essential focal point of the total design.”



The following are some of the most popular kitchen products and features identified by architects in the latest AIA survey:

  • LED lighting
  • Computer area/recharging station
  • Larger pantry space
  • Upper-end appliances
  • Double island
  • Adaptability/universal design
  • Drinking water filtration systems

As for bathroom remodeling, accessibility requirements and energy efficiency are driving more household redesigns. The survey identified the following popular bathroom products and features:

  • LED lighting
  • Doorless showers
  • Adaptability/universal design
  • Large walk-in showers
  • Stall shower without tub
  • Water saving toilets
  • Radiant heated floors