Since kitchens and baths remain the top home improvement projects among homeowners, the trends at the Kitchen/Bath
Industry Show (K/BIS) are highly relevant to lighting showrooms whose customers are renovating those key rooms.

lCean white décor is all the rage in shelter magazines, but it’s not for everyone. For those who find the ultra-Contemporary look too austere, bright pops of color and pattern are making their way into the kitchen in unexpected ways — on appliances, cabinets, and countertops.

Other noticeable trends at January’s show in Orlando include how technologically advanced appliances have gotten (i.e. refrigerators with built-in cameras) and the increasing role that lighting plays from an aesthetic perspective. For example, the single incandescent appliance bulb inside the refrigerator has been replaced by LED illumination on three walls or outlining each shelf. Some appliance manufacturers choose linear LED strips while others opt for tiny puck lights, but the effect is the same: crisp, bright light that clearly and evenly illuminates every corner and drawer.

From the aesthetic angle, vivid cobalt LED lighting highlighted a mountain of ice inside Marvel’s Ice Machine behind a front panel of transparent glass, as well as illuminated the interior of wine refrigerators with a clear glass panel. Häfele also displayed a glass-fronted beverage cabinet with color-changing RGB LEDs (accomplished by either the company’s ribbon or light strips).  Similarly, Valley Acrylic – a Canadian manufacturer of bathtubs, sinks, and shower basins, faucets and more – featured LED-illuminated products. And of course Kohler – which has long offered color-changing lighting for its chromatherapy shower feature – continued the offering. Kohler’s new Real Rain water droplet formation for the shower also drew a crowd.

If there is one thing K/BIS 2017 demonstrated besides the growth of LED illumination in nearly every product category, it’s that the days of just three or four choices for plumbing finishes are over. In addition to bold colors, there are plenty of variations in bronzes, soft brasses, warm golds, and dark nickels. This makes it even easier for lighting showroom professionals to coordinate homeowners’ lighting fixtures with the plumbing fittings and hardware they’ve already chosen for their home.