The average bathroom selling price is rising nationally, according to results of the 1992 kitchen/bath industry trends survey, released recently by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA).

The selling price reflects the total cost charged to retail customers or builders for complete kitchen and bathroom projects in newly constructed or remodeled homes.

Included in the selling price are all or most of the following items: labor, cabinets, fixtures/fittings, countertops, flooring, lighting and appliances.

The average bathroom selling price at this time is $9,215, and the average kitchen selling price is $16,491, according to Paul L. Kelley, NKBA vice president of industry relations and marketing.

Survey data indicates that small kitchen jobs (less than 150 square feet) presently represent a larger portion of all kitchen projects installed when compared with previous years. Interestingly, small-sized (less than 35 square feet) bathroom projects now account for 17 percent of the total, up from just one percent reported in the 1990 survey.

Kitchen Highlights

The gap between the popularity of wood cabinets (75 percent) and laminate cabinets (22 percent) is narrowing. The 1990 figures were 87 and 11.5 percent, respectively. Oak is the most popular wood for cabinetry (54 percent), but maple (15 percent) has increased in popularity dramatically since the 1990 survey. Laminate leads all other countertop materials (54 percent), followed most closely by solid surfacing (30 percent).

Bathroom Highlights

Wood cabinets are installed most often (68 percent) in bathrooms. Oak (59 percent) leads all other woods in popularity, followed by cherry (24 percent) and maple (12 percent). Both cherry and maple have gained in popularity since 1990.

Paint (30 percent), wallpaper (28 percent) and tile (16 percent) continue to be the wall-covering materials of choice, although the order of preference has changed since 1990, when wallpaper topped the list at 66 percent.


White remains the most important color in kitchens (48 percent) and bathrooms (62 percent). These figures represent an increase of almost 13 percent in white kitchens installed since the 1990 survey. White baths have risen a corresponding 19 percent.

Wood-toned kitchen and pastel baths are the second-most popular choices. Almond is the third most popular color for kitchens and baths.

Kitchen Designs Changing

During the past 40 years, no room in the house has changed more than the kitchen.

The walls have come down, more appliances have been installed, and what we cook with bears little resemblance to the appliances used years ago.

Today, many families are comprised of two working parents, creating a need for shared cooking and clean-up responsibilities. The walled-off space of the past has opened into other rooms, and families and guests are gathering in the kitchen to socialize and conduct activities other than cooking.

Surveys indicate more than 700 utensils and food items are kept in the kitchen – 400 more items than 40 years ago.

Bathroom as Family Room

The bathroom is no longer reserved for personal hygiene, says Annette DePaepe, NKBA director of societies.

“Today, people spend more time in the space. Some use the bathroom as a secluded spot away from hectic family and job responsibilities.”

As a result, bathroom designers are beginning to plan the rooms around the people who will use them, rather than the fixtures that will be installed in the rooms, Depaepe says.

Among the rules associated with good bathroom design:

  • A clear walkway of at least 32 inches must be provided at all entrances to the bathroom.
  • No doors should interfere with fixtures.
  • At least 21 inches of clear walkway space should exist in front of the lavatory.
  • The toilet paper holder should be installed within reach of a person seated on the toilet. Ideal location is slightly in front of the edge of the toilet bowl, the center of which is 26 inches above the finished floor.
  • A step to the tub should be at least 10 inches deep and must not exceed 7.25 inches in height.
  • Bathtub faucets should be acessible from outside the tub.
  • The shower door should swing into the bathroom.