HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. – Granite is still the overwhelming choice of North American designers for bathrooms, but quartz surfaces are still cutting into that lead, according to a “Top 11 Trends” survey from the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA).

The survey of 100+ NKBA-member designers, in their work during 2010’s last quarter, showed that 83 percent of them incorporated granite in designs, compared to 54 percent using quartz surfaces. That’s a perceptible change from the 2009 NKBA survey, where 85 percent used granite and 48 percent worked quartz into a job.

Solid-surface materials, meanwhile, made a small gain – from 23 percent in 2009 to 25 percent last year. No other material made it past the 20-percent approval line.

The NKBA survey also showed one area of near-total agreement among designers – 97 percent of them specified an undermount bathroom sink at the end of 2010, up from 95 percent in 2009. For those stone fabricators and installers grumbling about fitting vessel sinks, be prepared for more; the survey showed 51 percent of designers using them, up from 39 percent in 2009.

Drop-in bathroom sinks, meanwhile, also improved in designer selection last year, but run far behind other types. Only 27 percent of the designers specified a drop-in.

Other design trends noted in the survey didn’t have much impact on countertop or vanity surfaces, save one: the color palettes used by designers for bathrooms. White and off-white colors remain are the most-popular with 60 percent of the designers in 2010, overtaking beiges (which sunk from 66 percent in 2009 to 57 percent last year). Browns also took a hit, dropping from 48 percent to 38 percent.

Green – as in the color, not the sustainability factor – made a big gain, moving to 24 percent from 2009’s 14 percent. Other popular colors with designers at the end of last year included blues (22 percent), grays (21 percent) and bronzes/terracottas (17 percent).

Original publication ©2011 Western Business Media Inc. Use licensed to the author, Emerson Schwartzkopf.

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