Ground zero for food preparation, family meals, and social entertaining, the kitchen is a hub of activity. So, staying on trend with the right atmosphere, tools, and design is important. This year, modern kitchens are trending toward hidden elements, built-in features, high tech help, and playful color schemes, as detailed below. Whether big or small, a remodeled kitchen can improve convenience, aesthetics, value, and style.
1. Monochrome designs
Monochrome kitchens continue to surge in popularity, with homeowners choosing to pair various shades of one color to create a kitchen masterpiece. The walls, tiles, counters, cabinets, tables, chairs and floors all coordinate, showcasing the wonderful extremes of a hue. With everything one color, it’s the materials, textures, and design of the kitchen that stand out and become the star. So, avoid a blah kitchen by choosing a few items with distinctive shapes, patterns or textures, such as a rustic door or a raised wall covering that will draw the eye and not fade into the sea of color.
Popular colors for monochrome renovations range from the conservative charcoal, white and taupe to eye-catching risque colors, such as green or purple, which were popular in the 1970s but are making a strong return. Some decorators are opting for a soft blue hue or a delicate mauve. It’s all about reflecting the personality of the homeowner. Of course, the classic black and white monochrome kitchen is also a style option.
Monochrome does not have to mean monotony. Once you commit to a color for your monochrome renovation, be sure by play with contrast by juxtaposing dark and light versions of your chosen pigment. You can play with contrast via floor tiles and backsplash or rugs and vases.
2. Two-tone color scheme
For those who want more pizzazz than the one-note monochrome style, the two-tone kitchen is also trending this year in a playful way, with decorators pairing muted colors with vivid ones. Think navy and orange kitchens or bisque and crimson. The goal is to use the brighter or bolder color to define a space or call attention to a special feature.
This scheme can be executed in a number of ways. You can choose one color for walls and cabinets. Then, contrast with the stronger color to spotlight furnishings, the kitchen island or decorative pieces. Alternately, you could feature dueling colors in the same element or space: two-tone cabinets where the doors or drawers are a different color than the base or two-tone walls where a wall of one color faces a wall of a different color.
Combine the two colors to create an element of surprise. Place something bold in color in the midst of a conservative color scape to make a focal point pop.
3. Natural finishes and materials
Nature never goes out of style. Be on-trend this year by renovating your kitchen with natural materials, such as marble, granite, limestone and real hardwood. This will not only increase the value of your home and make it more attractive, but you will feel more connected to the earth. That means pulling up those vinyl floor planks and getting rid of that laminated kitchen counter. You might even consider wood ceilings with exposed beams, a copper sink, nickel hardware for the cabinets or a stone wall.
However, don’t stop there with just the foundational items. Even the accents can be natural if you include plants, an herb garden on the window sill, woven baskets, bamboo rugs, cotton table runners and more. Not only will you be surrounding yourself with natural beauty, but you can also feel good about utilizing sustainable materials.
4. Eclectic fixtures
Conventional is a bad word in many kitchens this year, with many opting to be non-traditional when it comes to basics like basins, tables and drawer handles. Instead, decorators are being creative by turning novel items into kitchen structures. For example, barrels might be used for bar seating or a large river rock might be cut into a sink. A barn door might be used to make a kitchen tabletop. This trend is about creativity, custom design and repurposing in order to create things with irregular and unique shapes.
If finding odd materials is not your thing, you can still be eclectic by using classic materials in a new form. A chrome kitchen faucet can be thin and wide to create a waterfall effect or it can be lit up with LED lights to create a colorful water flow. Just one or two objects that defy the ordinary can add personality to your kitchen.
5. Flexible or adjustable kitchen
In today’s world, different generations and types of people find themselves living together for convenience or to save money. Decorators are designing flexible kitchens to appeal to the blended needs, tastes, abilities, and even heights. This mixed accommodation design calls for creating elements that can be adjusted for different purposes and people or for creating certain areas for one type of dweller and other areas for a completely different type.
While in the past mixed accommodation might have meant adding a children’s table in the corner or a new leaf to the dining table, today it means creating customized furniture of different widths and heights for baby, a preteen or grandma. It might even mean having different handles and knobs for people with disabilities. The adjustable kitchen might have varied counters, chairs or tables all integrated together in the same space for unique seating or utility. This is all about authenticity, increased comfort and reflecting the real nature of your family.
6. The zoned kitchen
Zoning is the practice of defining different spaces for different activities. Since today’s kitchen is used for cooking, eating, entertaining, chatting, doing homework and even just relaxing, builders are using decorative elements to divide the kitchen into different zones. Screens, different flooring or different types of furnishings might be used to create a distinct breakfast area, a cozy chat corner, an office or a place for daily tea time.
If you have a particular passion, you can even zone space for that, such as a pizza area with a brick oven and prep space, a wine-tasting area, or a baking area. Each separate space can have its own signature tools and fixtures to make each task efficient.
Even if you have a small kitchen without room for different areas, you can still zone by dedicating an end of a counter or island for something as simple as food prep, accentuating it with a set of cookbooks, a docked tablet for watching cooking videos and an oversized wood cutting board. Zoning is all about organizing kitchen life so you can enjoy it to the max.
7. Built-in utilities and furniture
Built-in elements are becoming chic, recalling the habit of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who was known for creating furniture that seamlessly blended into the structure of a home, creating visual oneness. Not your 1950s built-in bookcases, today’s modern built-ins include benches, desks or foldaway dining tables than can flip up into the wall.
Rather than free-standing appliances that jut out into kitchen space, elegant built-in wall ovens, wine coolers, cooktops, refrigerators and dishwaters encased in wood or chrome are de rigueur. While replacing or repairing built-in items can be expensive and cumbersome, the ergonomic design is worth it.
8. Hidden appliances and storage
Some are moving away from show kitchens to efficient kitchens. That means building in appliances isn’t the only trend. Concealing them completely is in, too! Rather than showing off the stainless steel of fridges, dishwashers and stoves, one sees wall panels or doors with appliances hidden in cubbies. Even small appliances are disappearing from countertops and being tucked away on shelves for clean and simple counters and islands.
Storage areas like slide-out pantries and spice shelves are also nicely hidden behind decorative facades. Some are even using sliding doors to hide preparation stations and washing stations, which might be nestled in their own adjacent rooms.
Hiding all work areas of the kitchen leaves only the dining and entertaining spaces. So, you can invite guests into the kitchen after cooking a meal, and it will still look tidy.
9. Aesthetic storage
If you don’t like hunting for where you stored your concealed kitchen items, don’t worry. Aesthetic storage is trending, with decorators creating extensive storage systems that are functional as well as pretty. Think built-in shelves with no covers that can showcase rows and rows of beautiful jars or bottles in the same style with decorative tops or ribbons. These might have nuts or raisins, flour or sugar.
Coordinated baskets or acrylic boxes might store supplies. Photo albums or notebooks might hold menus and recipes. The organizers might sit on custom shelves made of metal, wood or a material of your choice. It’s up to you as long as the visible storage looks organized and artistic in its design.
10. More technology
From digital assistants and automated lights to appliances with Wi-fi, technology is highly coveted for the kitchen this year. If you haven’t gone high-tech yet, it’s about time.
Stream music into your kitchen to keep you company while you slice and dice or to give your guests a lift. Have a digital catalog of your recipes and favorite cooking shows at a computer station in the corner. Otherwise, just get an Amazon Echo Show and use voice activation to order it to play whatever songs you want, look up the cooking videos you seek or tell you when the time is up for the pot roast. With a display screen, the Echo Show is very versatile, even able to let you video conference with a pal or relative while you cook.
Automation can allow you to raise the height of a kitchen island, open a cabinet or turn on all the lighting with a voice command or the push of a button. Robots can clean the floor for you. There are even trash cans with sensors that will open with a voice command or when a human approaches. This means you can throw away raw chicken skin or meat packages without transferring germs to the trash cover.
Smart appliances abound, like stoves with knobs that will seek their own burner levels or Wi-fi refrigerators with cameras that show you what’s inside while you’re at the store observing on your smartphone. Never again do you have to wonder if you need eggs or milk. Just get the appliance to show you.
11. Decorative lighting
The kitchen is a space where lighting is important for reading instructions, package labels or lists of ingredients. You also want to see appliance panels clearly and look into the illuminated faces of those you love while you dine. Lighting creates ambiance, too. So, the trend this year is to pepper the kitchen with various decorative lights, even mixing various styles like single or island pendant lights with sky panels, track lighting, chandeliers or recessed lights. Ensure all the zones or areas in your kitchen have their own unique lighting option.
12. Concrete elements
The rugged and textured effect of concrete can make your island, countertop, shelves, floors or sink stand out. Concrete backsplashes and walls are also options. None of the features has to be dull and gray like a basement floor. Today`s concrete kitchen additions are being finished and glossed in an array of colors from cream to beige to pink. However, if you like gray, kitchen concrete elements look good in that hue, too.
Concrete looks wonderful when paired with chrome, stainless steel, copper, brass or wood. It is especially great for the homeowner looking to add a modern or industrial look to their kitchen. Concrete gives a pleasing contrast to the gloss of shinier materials in the kitchen. Its hard feel can also emphasize the softness of nearby cushions, drapes or cloth placemats. It can take on different shapes to give a sculptural effect. With the right color, concrete can look cozy, not cold. Another benefit is that it gives you a seamless look with no grout lines to scrub.
Whether A-line or traditional, ladders in today`s kitchen are not just functional but attractive, made in materials from steel to wood. Stylish ladders can help you reach high shelves, hanging pots or cabinets, yet do not have to be hidden when not in use.
Rolling wall ladders that hang on rails attached high around the circumference of the kitchen can be easily moved and painted to blend in with the room.
However, ladders are not just for climbing. They can also be kitchen decor if repurposed to create art, vertical gardens, shelving or even seating. They can be adorned with lights and other decorative effects to give a weathered or sophisticated look. Hang ladders horizontally at the top of a wall or even on the ceiling; then add hooks to hang plants, lanterns, pans, potholders or something else to your liking.
Affix glass or wood to the top of a short ladder to make a side table or display block. Decorators are using an array of tricks to make ladders the next hot furniture item.
14. Modern Shaker-style cabinets
Not just for Quakers, the classic look of Shaker cabinets, with their large, plain, recessed square panels, are being used extensively in kitchen remodeling to create a timeless, simple impression. Made of hardwood ranging from cherry to pine, Shaker style is about the appreciation of craftsmanship. The wood cabinets can be stained and oiled in any color, although black, green, white and gray are popular. They can be inset with glass panels if the wood is not preferred. They can also be adorned with hardware in simple black, brass or chrome, but keep in mind that simple accents, like wood knobs, are best for true Shaker design.
Pair your Shaker cabinets with other angular or rustic touches, like a square sink, barn door or square granite island. The look can deliver a country-style or utilitarian kitchen.
15. Green and sustainable elements
Caring for the environment is a principle at the center of many renovations now. Eco-friendly materials, organic milk paint, energy-efficient appliances, and sustainable everything are on the minds of many homeowners.
This may mean using recycled materials in your remodeling, adding solar panels or skylights, opting for electrical appliances over gas, and even using shorter pipes to deliver more modest amounts of water. Garbage disposals to reduce waste or composting stations to get rid of food scraps are being used to reduce landfill contributions.
Instant hot water taps for soups, tea or coffee are being employed to reduce the amount of energy used for boiling. Water filtration systems are being added to kitchens to avoid having to buy plastic bottles with purified water. Reusable storage bags and dish covers are helping people avoid excess plastic. Some homes are even forgoing paper towels to create shelves with scores of washable small cotton towels to be used for wiping hands, dabbing mouths and cleaning up.
Whether your kitchen renovation is high-end or low-end, expensive or frugal, choose a few of the above trends to give you an updated look and lifestyle. Think beyond just changing a countertop or cabinet doors because the small details can really elevate your space.