Kitchen and Bathroom Design Trends with Interior Design Expert Sarah Babbitt

Are you looking to update your kitchen and/or bathroom, but aren’t sure of the latest trends or how you can make your space more functional to fit your needs and your family’s needs as well? Renowned Chicago based interior design expert Sarah Babbitt joined me recently to discuss the latest design trends, ideas on how to get your kids more involved in the kitchen, the latest accessories in kitchen and bath and much more!


Sarah Babbitt in her retro designed kitchen

Interior design expert, Sarah Babbitt in her retro designed kitchen

Candace Rose: What are some design ideas to get kids more involved in the kitchen?

Sarah Babbitt: “A step stool is always handy, so maybe you can design a cabinet that has a little open portion to house that in there, so they can easily slide that out.

I think if you have room for a desk area in the kitchen for a couple different reasons- for the desk area to be a little lower (in terms of countertop height) so it’s easy for kids to access. But then also if they’re doing homework they can be in the kitchen if you’re in the kitchen to create a more communal space too. Otherwise you could make the countertop lower if you wanted them to actually do work in the kitchen, but then it’s lower for you. That desk area could be a good place where it can be lower and they can work a little bit more helping you, but then also do their homework there per say.”

Candace Rose: The kitchen is always one of the most important rooms when it comes to remodeling a house. How do you design a kitchen that won’t become dated?

Sarah Babbitt: “It’s making a layout that makes sense, and that of course depends on the kitchen. It’s making sure you have enough drawer space or counter space, and some of that is just figuring out from the client how they use the kitchen and how they live.

When it comes to finishes, if you go with more of a neutral palette…no bright orange cabinets, that could be cool in a setting but certainly wouldn’t be ‘timeless’. I’ve done a lot more white paint cabinetry, that seems to always be in style, and certainly the dark cabinetry. But maybe for the flooring and other fixtures just go with neutral tiles or neutral colors, and stainless steel appliances as opposed to any white or black appliances.”

Sarah designed this sleek and modern kitchen in Andersonville

Sarah designed this sleek and modern kitchen in Andersonville, Illinois.


Candace Rose: What kitchen and bathroom accessories should homeowners invest in?

Sarah Babbitt: “For the kitchen, the kitchen sink and and faucet, that’s really the workhorse of your kitchen.

For the bathroom I would say a really good toilet. You want it to work well, that’s really the one place you don’t want to have issues. And maybe a taller height toilet.

If we’re talking about a guest bath or maybe a kids bath, a lot of times a hand shower on a bar instead of a fixed shower head, that way it’ll slide up and down so it’ll sort of grow with the kids. And even the simple thing of cleaning your shower or your bath tub- just take that down and rinse the tub as opposed to get a cup and sort of splash it, right? The handheld on a bar, probably for a guest bath, I do more handles on a bar than a fixed wall shower head because I think functionally it just makes a ton of sense.”

A lovely bathroom designed by Sarah Babbitt.

A lovely bathroom designed by Sarah Babbitt.

Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?

Sarah Babbitt: “I think the main thing is just sort of thinking about how you use the bathroom and the kitchen just in a functional sense. I look at what I do as taking more of the function and then combining it with the aesthetic and giving it more of a beautiful design, but also something that functionally makes sense. Think about how you live, the stuff you have and the storage you want, and then you can create a good design. Just thinking functional, you can start taking all the beautiful ideas you have and start channeling that to a great overall design.”

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