Trends and Challenges Addressed at ’22 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show

By Terry Mohler, Sales & Marketing Manager

I recently attended the 2022 Kitchen and Bath Show (KBIS), North America’s premier event for kitchen and bath design. Held in Orlando this year, KBIS combined their show with the International Builders Show (IBS), expanding the opportunities to see new trends in the industry, as well as network with friends and colleagues after a long stretch of COVID related cancellations.

Average Cost of a Kitchen or Bath Increased 15-20% in 2021

After talking to many people in various facets of the Kitchen and Bath industry, I gathered some insights and general opinions to keep in mind as we move forward. Most of the colleagues I spoke with reported significant increases in the average cost of a kitchen or bath in 2021. Some shared increases as high as 15% – 20% over 2020 costs. Most predict that these costs will plateau but continue to be strong for the next several years. Of course, given current events, there was much discussion regarding the situation in Eastern Europe and how that will impact the economy, our industry, and our businesses.

Production and Supply Chain Challenges for the Kitchen and Bath Industry

Most everyone agrees that supply chain challenges will continue throughout 2022. While regular MDF inventories are available, high grade MDF inventories appear non-existent and manufacturers will be shipping out this item as soon as it is produced.

Until the construction boom slows, high grade plywood will continue to be the afterthought of the sheet good industry. As one representative shared, “There is just too much profit to be made in the builder grade to change over to the labor and material-intensive finish grade.”

Availability of undermount slides will also be a major challenge, with all of the largest suppliers in North America reporting that slides are shipping as soon as they are produced. They’re finding it difficult to keep up with current demand and see no end in sight. Of course, there are no inventory issues with side mount slides, which we all know are in less demand in the high-end marketplace.

New High Gloss and Matte Trends for Kitchen and Bath

Several trends were evident in this year’s show. High gloss and matte edge banded slab doors appeared to be trending high. Meridian Products is excited to launch our own matte program in the coming months, with high gloss options available before the end of the year. Like many others, we continue to experience supply chain challenges and increased work load, which has slowed the development of the edge banding material.

Painted Cabinet Trends Continue

Paint remains king, but with MDF in short supply there was only a handful of booths displaying red or white oak painted doors. Some believe with the current MDF supply challenges, this could be an alternative for the high-demand painted products market. Personally, I had gray painted cabinets installed in my home last summer and really like the look of the kitchen. I do believe that stain will come back at some point, especially as architects and designers continue to “try” to push home owners away from popular painted kitchens and towards more unique, high-end kitchen designs.

New Trends in Stain Shades

Many companies are now developing new warm earth tones as it appears customer demand for those stain shades are increasing. Meridian Products is expanding its stain options to include more warm and neutral tones. We developed the colors Braun, Cinnamon, Dusk, and Russet in 2021 and will be introducing our newest colors Shadow, Mocha, Dove, and Peanut in the summer of 2022.

For continued updates on trends and happenings at Meridian Products, be sure to visit our new website often and check out “Shop Talk,” our blog where the team at Meridian shares their insights and expertise in the kitchen and bath industry.