19 Wow-Worthy Kitchen & Bath Upgrades
When it comes to kitchens and baths, even the smallest changes can have a huge impact. This is especially great news when you consider that updates to those two rooms give you the highest return on your investment when it comes time to sell. To help you bring your kitchen and bath into 2022, and beyond, we’ve rounded up our top tips and tweaks for making these spaces shine.
1. Add a freestanding tub
Freestanding soaking tubs are a modern and elegant swap. There’s, of course, the classic clawfoot tub, but flat-bottom freestanding tubs add a modern twist to the trend. Generally easy to install, these tubs take up less space than a drop-in or deck-mounted tub—all while looking super stylish.
2. Install a self-lit vanity mirror
Good lighting is essential, especially if you get ready in the bathroom. Enter the self-lit vanity mirror, a popular choice for brightening bathrooms, especially those with little to no natural light. Consider using LED lighting for a more sustainable choice.
3. Pump up the greenery
Indoor-outdoor living is only becoming more popular, and there’s no better way to inject life into your kitchen or bath than by incorporating plants. No green thumb? Fake it with faux greenery that, when high-quality enough, looks just as lifelike as the real thing.
4. Upgrade your countertops
If anything’s worth the splurge, it’s countertops. Pay attention to 2022’s top countertop materials: engineered quartz and quartzite, which are natural, nonporous stones. Also trending: butcher block countertops, which add a sense of texture and contrast.
5. DIY fluted cabinetry
Give your existing bathroom cabinetry new life without replacing the entire vanity. Simply fake the look of fluted cabinetry with half-round molding (available at most hardware stores), wood glue and paint.
6. Integrated technology
When it comes to creating a modern kitchen, gadgets and gizmos are all the rage. Appliances like refrigerators and ovens with smartphone controls and wireless capabilities can help make your life easier. Some smart refrigerators even have built-in cameras inside, so you can check and see what you need to add to your grocery list remotely.
7. Slab backsplash
Not into tile? This update is for you. Implement a slab kitchen backsplash by continuing your countertop slab up the wall. The result is a modern look that’s seamless and easy to clean (no grout, no problem).
8. Pop in a beverage refrigerator
Renovating homeowners are increasingly adding refrigeration specifically for beverages. Unlike a mini-fridge, these coolers have shelves that are designed explicitly for beverages rather than food. They’re also compact in size and make entertaining a breeze.
9. Textured tiles
Subway tile isn’t going anywhere, but in 2022, expect a move towards textured, handmade tile finishes. Opt for white brick, stone or ceramic tiles for a sense of organic warmth.
10. Hide the outlets
Cleverly concealed outlets give kitchens a streamlined feel. Consider having pop-up outlets installed along the sides of your island or cabinetry. Or convert a drawer or cabinet into a charging station.
11. Wood applications
Warmth is in, particularly in the form of wood elements, like exposed beams and reclaimed wood. (Think upcycling a reclaimed table as a kitchen island.)
12. Heated flooring
Keep your feet toasty with the addition of radiant floor heating, which can be installed beneath flooring and controlled via a thermostat or switch.
13. Bring mood lighting into the shower
Sometimes long baths get all the glory, but who says showers can’t be just as relaxing? Up the luxury with color-changing LED shower lighting that can adapt to your every mood.
14. Add a pop of pattern
Smaller bathrooms or powder rooms are the perfect space for a fun burst of pattern. If you don’t want to commit to traditional wallpaper, opt for a playful peel-and-stick version, which is easy to use and removable.
From hardware to sinks, unlacquered finishes with a natural patina add a lived-in element that gives the impression of a time-honored space. It’s also an easy way to add depth and texture, keeping kitchens and baths from looking too sterile or utilitarian.
16. Go touchless
Something to consider for your bathroom upgrade: a touchless faucet. Not only does it help conserve water, it’s also easy to use and prevents the transmission of germs.
17. Cabinet contrast
Add a pop of contrast by using a different color, or wood tone, on the island cabinetry than what’s used in the rest of the kitchen. It’s an easy way to add interest without using patterns or bold colors.
18. Larger islands
Kitchen islands are no longer just for food prep. Since the pandemic, they’ve also become business and homework stations, as more people live, work and play from home. These days, it’s not uncommon for kitchen islands to be more than 7 feet long.
19. Find your color
Color can change the entire look and feel of your space. In the kitchen, consider painting the cabinetry a versatile, subtle green, like Sherwin-Williams’ color of the year, Evergreen Fog. Alternatively, cover cabinets with contact paper for a quick, nonpermanent fix.