The 2022 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show will return to Orlando on February 8, after going virtual last year. Given the links between home and health spotlighted by the pandemic – especially for these two crucial living spaces – wellness design will be a hot topic in its 450 exhibitor booths, educational programs and the show’s special features, like its Design Bites (short manufacturer pitches), Kickstarter Zone and Best of KBIS Awards.
Since residential remodeling roared back to life last year, pandemic-inspired kitchen and bath trends have included increased pantry space and separate freezers to accommodate bulk shopping; more organizational accessories to address new tasks, pets and hobbies; hands-free, voice control and updated ventilation technologies to reduce viral spread; low maintenance finishes to simplify home hygiene, and bidet functionality to support personal hygiene. All of those improvements help support the five facets of wellness design and will be on display for the show’s three days and anticipated 60,000-plus attendees.
That figure is down from 2020’s pre-pandemic 90,000-plus visitors (with its successful eight year old International Builder’s Show co-location). Numerous attendees that year reported feeling like they had the worst flu of their lives when they got home after the late January expo. It’s likely that the massive event was a super-spreader before most Americans knew that term, or that a deadly virus was heading our way.
After 2021’s virtual KBIS and IBS expos had to be cancelled on the first day because of insurmountable technological failures, the show’s owners were eager to resume live events this year. They’re doing so with precautions. Exhibitors and attendees will be asked to show proof of vaccine or a negative COVID test to enter the halls and meeting rooms, and masks will be required throughout the show.
The designers, architects, builders and contractors who work on residential projects will be looking for the latest products – especially those speaking to enhanced wellness potential – on KBIS’ 380,500 square foot show floor.
If their clients are among the three out of four responding in a November 2021 Zillow homeowner survey, they’re working on: “adding or improving a home office space (31%), finishing a basement or attic (23%), adding another room (23%) and putting in another dwelling unit, such as a backyard cottage or guest house (21%).”
Many of these new spaces will have kitchen and bath-related features, such as an kitchenette and full bathroom in a guest house, coffee center in a home office, basement bar, new attic bathroom or casita with pool bath. KBIS is where thousands of industry pros flock for the latest trends and releases. While their mouths and noses will be masked next month, their enthusiasm for new gear and suppliers likely won’t be.