As in the fashion industry, new interior design trends and predictions appear every fall for the following year. As a matter of fact, fashion and interior design are intimately intertwined. Many of the same colors and themes overlap. However, unlike buying a pair of pants that are fashionable for one year and trash the next, redoing your kitchen is an expensive endeavor. That is why it is so important to sort through all of the trendy elements of design and look for those that will stand the test of time – like the next twenty years.
One of the best ways to work through what current trends to embrace, and what to reject, is to think in terms of the way you live. What are your goals for the kitchen? How will you use your kitchen? What kind of time do you have to keep it clean? Do you love to cook? What is your style? And most important, what is your budget?
In some homes, the kitchen is family central. In others, it is where the party gets started. For the gourmet, it is all about food prep. While others rarely even cook. The function of a kitchen is the most important factor. If a kitchen isn’t functional, it’s a pain.
There are five basic kitchen layouts, and within those layouts, it is all about where the sink, range, and refrigerator are located in order to make it most useful to the cook. The layouts are the “L,” the “U,” the “G,” the galley, and the ‘I.” In each of these layouts, except the “I,” there is a functional triangle between the three work areas. If an island is added, the kitchen still needs to flow well.
With islands being one of the hottest trends, as part of a big open floor plan, homeowners need to make sure that designers, architects, and builders keep the flow. Sometimes, in the desire to be trendy and new, the function gets lost in translation.
For the last several years it has been all about white kitchens. This trend is changing. Ever tried to keep an all-white kitchen clean? Colorful backsplashes, natural wood, and colored cabinets, as well as warm countertops, are classic and finding their way back into style because they are much more inviting and livable.
For the last five years, subway tiles have been huge. But they are losing ground. To stay relevant, manufacturers are moving away from plain old white subway tiles and doing things like changing the size, offering more colors, and even laying the tiles in unique patterns.
What is taking the place of subway tiles is large format tiles, gray tiles, glass glazed tiles, metallic tiles, and patterned tiles. The hot new tiles are patterns borrowed from Spanish and Middle-Eastern influenced tiles with colorful patterns. They are being used for backsplashes making statement floors.
With the all-white kitchen fading away toward one that is inviting and timeless, wood cabinets are coming back, as are painted cabinets. Painting the bottom cabinet a darker color, and choosing a lighter shade of the same color for the top cabinets is becoming more popular, as is putting in open shelving instead of upper cabinets.
If you are not obsessive about keeping your open shelving scrupulously clean and organized, then opt for upper cabinets. Unorganized open shelving can quickly look cluttered, and it can actually make the room feel smaller.
Wood cabinetry brings warmth and a sense of earthiness. It is like bringing in part of the great outdoors.
Colored cabinets are often done in gray, blue, or green. These are cool colors that are calming, relaxing, and reserved, great to come home to after a long day. Green has become one of the most popular kitchen colors because it brings thoughts of health and growth.
Countertops Go from Cold to Warm
Wood and Quartz countertops are taking over granite. Soapstone, marble, butcher block, and poured cement are other options, with new materials being discovered each year.
It is best to pick a style that fits how you will live. Quartz is the easiest to maintain. It is sturdy, and just a wipe keeps it tidy. Wood, like wood floors, can be damaged by water. A hot saucepan will char a wood countertop. And a knife can gouge it. Each material has its strengths and weaknesses.
Choosing a more classic design in cabinets and lighting design, with an easy maintenance countertop is the most enduring of designs.
Make a flooring choice that is durable and compatible with your kitchen’s usage. If you have children, it might be good to go for a wood-look tile or luxury vinyl floor instead of engineered hardwood in case there are an overabundance of accidents with water.
Splurge on a statement backsplash, which can be replaced when it is time to update or choose trendy accessories and décor to keep the look totally modern.
Just remember to choose materials that enhance function, add beauty, and agree with your lifestyle. To learn more about material options, read our blogs Naturally Eco-Friendly Flooring, How to Bring Natural Light Into Your Home, and 6 Kitchen Backsplash Ideas.