Kitchen Design Trends

Like clothing fashion and car models, kitchen design trends change at blazing speed these days.

What was popular in the 90’s (light maple or oak cabinetry, lots of granite, ornate crown molding and other trim) can seem stale if you walk into a kitchen showroom or 21st century designer show house!

Modern or country styles have become very popular recently, with sleek appliances, bold accent colors and cleaner lines that simplify and un-clutter the look in today’s designer kitchens.

Cabinetry blends materials, colors and finishes to add interest, separate individual work stations and give cabinets the look of fine furniture.

Cabinetry looks more like handcrafted furniture, with materials and textures showing more variety in kitchen designs, adding interest and bringing focus to a center piece island or backsplash for example.

The kitchen you designed even a few years ago could seem dated already and you might want to consider a minor facelift.

And, if your home was built in the 70’s or 80’s you are probably thinking about a complete makeover for your kitchen remodeling project.

From the traditional country farmhouse style kitchen, to an ultra-modern, ultra-sleek kitchen, you have options galore when it comes to every thing from the kitchen sink to designer lighting, kitchen island shapes. There is a dizzying array of kitchen design ideas to consider.

Since the kitchen plays an important role in our daily lives and the resale value of your home, you want to love and enjoy your kitchen, but you also should consider what will appeal potential buyers in case you sell your home down the road.

So, if you want to learn the latest trends in kitchen design, kitchen sinks, appliances, colors and kitchen furniture, then read on.

Trend #1 – A Kitchen for the Entire Family

One trend that has remained popular over the past 20 years or so has been larger, more open kitchen designs with adjoining dining and great room or family room spaces.

The modern floor plan is not likely to be so chopped up into small spaces as older floor plans once did. This helps take maximum advantage of the available square footage. The kitchen and great room area has become the hub of family activities and entertaining friends.

This trend is only logical since today’s busy family life demands juggling food preparation and meal times to meet the hectic schedules of work, school, sports and so many daily activities. Often, meal preparation and eating time offers a rare opportunity for the family to spend time together, so nobody wants to be slaving away alone in the kitchen.

Cooking and kitchen duties are often a shared responsibility in today’s family, so amenities like a well planned Kitchen Island with a larger sink and dedicated work stations for food prep, cooking, baking, and clean up are popular.

Designed to accommodate more than one person working in the kitchen, today’s kitchen design must be more fluid in terms of traffic patterns and space planning, whereas older, smaller kitchens were often designed to be most efficient for a single chef.

The trend in kitchen cabinetry is toward enhanced attention to detail, hardwood materials and quality craftsmanship. Here, the center island is a distinctive piece of furniture, rather than simply another cabinet.

Trend # 2 – Cabinetry that Looks Like Fine Furniture

Furniture-style cabinets continue to be a hot kitchen design trend, according to data published by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA).

Kitchen islands in particular no longer have to blend in with other cabinets; they may have legs, feet, decorative moldings, unique drawer and cabinet pulls and other design elements that make them more pieces of fine furniture than mere kitchen cabinets.

Specific cabinets may be left open or use glass-fronted doors to add interest and introduce additional design elements into the kitchen cabinetry.

Cabinet frames and doors are also being made with higher quality hardwoods and darker, richer natural finishes that bring out the natural beauty and grain of the wood. Greater emphasis on craftsmanship and attention to detail is expected.

Hardwood cabinets with natural finishes can go toward a more formal look, or may have clean, simple lines in a more modern style. Maple continues to be popular, but woods like cherry, walnut or alder are increasingly being used in upscale designer kitchens.

These materials and finishes offer versatility, and can be decorated with corbels, on-lays, and moldings for a formal look, or built with clean, sleek lines for a modern kitchen decor.

Trend #3 – More Stylish Professional Grade Appliances

As we have become more contentious about eating healthy and preparing ever more exotic cuisine at home, the trend toward commercial or professional grade appliances has continued.

However, these days the built-in Sub Zero fridge will be more likely to feature custom door fronts to blend in with the rest of the cabinetry than to sport a huge face of stainless steel!

Range hoods also can get a designer look, with copper or other antiqued metal finishes giving them more character than the traditional commercial grade stainless steel finish.

In a more modern kitchen design, where stainless steel fits in nicely, a splash of highlight color can be nice in your over-the-range hood, dishwasher or other appliances.

For a truly bold theme like a retro kitchen, you can even find appliances in bold colors like fire engine red, electric blue or spa yellow!

Pull outs, tilt outs, drawer dividers and rotating racks of all types keep cooking utensils organized and accessible.Trend #4 – Kitchen Storage and Organization

Pull outs, tilt outs, rotating racks, you name it; kitchen organization is a huge part of kitchen design these days.

For people who love to cook, utensils and specialty cooking items need to be easily accessible and easy to locate. So setting up separate stations for prep, baking, etc. is the best way to organize the kitchen for efficiency.

Cabinet and drawer dividers keep things in their place. Racks to hang pots and pans from, a tilt out spice rack will be near the range and another for sponges and scrubbers by the sink.

A pull out center for storing recyclables and trash is a must have these days, with easy to clean plastic bins and lids to prevent unwanted odors.

If space allows, a walk-in pantry is a great way to keep food and other important kitchen supplies organized and out of site. In smaller kitchens, a full-size pantry or block of larger cabinets will work fine.

A butcher block built into the island for food prep or a slap of marble for rolling out bread dough adds functionality and a nice design element to help break things up rather than all counter tops being alike.

Trend #5 – Unique Kitchen Sink and Faucet Applications

Under-mounted sinks are very fashionable these days, featuring a smoother, cleaner look that blends especially well in a modern design decor. The bowl is installed underneath the counter top, with no rim showing above. Cleaning the counter top is much easier since there is no lip to collect food crumbs and grime.

Various sink shapes are available these days. Using an asymmetrical, oval or rounded sink can make a very unique look, some with a large main bowl and adjoining smaller bowl for rinsing fruits or vegetables. In many cases, a second sink will be installed for this purpose at the prep station.

And then there are faucet choices. You’ll find a faucet with the style, finish and features that meet your needs and matches your kitchen design, regardless whether you select modern, country, retro or any theme.

Complete kitchen themes such as this ultra-modern design with its creative use of bold shapes and colors are setting new and innovative custom kitchen design standards!

Other Kitchen Design Trends:

Countertops – natural stone like granite, limestone and marble are still the most popular material for counter tops. Using different materials for specific work areas is very popular today. For example a butcher’s block surface for food prep on your Kitchen Island adds contract and added utility.

Themes – ever more elaborate, unique and complete kitchen design themes are being created. Instead of just country style, now we may have a French country or Tuscan Style kitchen. Instead of just “modern decor”, now you see more complete themes such as a 1950s retro or ultra-modern themed kitchens.

Appliances – commercial grade appliances are hot; especially kitchen ranges, built in refrigerators and ovens with convection microwave and warming drawer options.

Cabinet Doors – door thicknesses are going from 3/4-inch to 1-inch and overall higher cabinet quality is in higher demand. Hardwood cabinetry that looks like fine furniture is the real trend in styles.

Organization and Utility – specialized work stations are expected in today’s Kitchen design;  multi-level islands, full-size pantries, cabinet pull outs and tilt outs are no longer considered “nice to have” but more an essential component of kitchen design that works!

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