If you’re planning on remodeling your kitchen, it’s important to stay ahead of trends. After all, renovations are expensive and you’ll end up living with them for years—so you don’t want get stuck with the tail end of a fad.
Looking at Pinterest boards and watching kitchen remodel shows on TV can help. But to find out what styles are going to transition from trendy to timeless, you have to go straight to the source and see what top designers have drawn up.
So the kitchen experts at Reviewed.com traveled to some of the world’s best-known kitchen design events—including the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Orlando, FL and LivingKitchen in Cologne, Germany—to find out what trends will be popular in 2017 and beyond.
Contrasting accents make minimalist designs pop
Lots of kitchen styles are popular these days: traditional all-white cabinets, a modern European look, or an industrial design. But nobody wants a kitchen that’s too matchy-matchy.
That’s why contrast is so important. Got a monochrome look? Add a splash of color! Does your kitchen look like it came out of a restaurant? Add some copper to warm things up.
For a more permanent contrast, consider a colorful oven, a black stainless refrigerator, or even copper handles on your cabinets.
Look, Ma: No handles!
If you’re installing new cabinetry and like a modern look, consider flat cabinet faces without handles or knobs. Handle-free kitchens have been popular in Europe for nearly a decade, but the sleek look is just catching on in the U.S.—where minimalist kitchens are no longer the province of high-end Europhiles.
It used to be that Americans only had two choices for modern cabinetry: Either upscale manufacturers like Bulthaup, Valcucine, and SieMatic—or more affordable designs from Ikea. But today, even Home Depot sells Euro-style cabinets.
If you truly want a hands-off design, you can order a Miele dishwasher that has no handle at all. The door looks just like a flat panel, but automatically opens when you knock on it.
Collaborative cooking spaces
Whether it’s a simple family dinner or you’re having guests over for a party, preparing a meal together is increasingly becoming part of entertaining. That’s why home chefs are no longer happy cooking with their backs to the room, facing burners and stoves that are pushed up against a wall.
Installing a range or cooktop in an island solves that issue. You can still participate in a conversation while you cook, and the openness of an island invites your guests to gather around.
Ditch the range hood for a better view
There’s only one problem with putting burners on top of an island: You’ll also need to install ventilation, and a hanging hood can obstruct sightlines.
To avoid that issue, more and more designers have turned to downdraft ventilation, which sits at the same level as a cooktop and pulls smoke and steam down into a vent instead of up into a hood.
The trend first took off in high-end homes with million-dollar views. But even if you’re just trying to see the game on the TV in the next room, unobstructed views can really open up a home.
Induction gets dinner on the table faster
Induction cooking, which uses magnets to heat a pan directly instead of indirectly, is already quite popular in Europe. High prices have kept induction from gaining a foothold in the U.S., but that might be about to change.
At the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Orlando, Frigidaire introduced new, low-cost induction cooktops and ranges that will sell for well below $1,000 when they go on sale later this year. Induction is great for precise temperature control and bringing water to a boil quickly, and it’s now more affordable than ever.
Modular appliances for new kinds of cooking
Most cooktops come with a set number of burners and force you to choose between gas or electric. But at the LivingKitchen design show in Cologne, Germany, nearly every major European manufacturer had modular cooktop separates that could be mixed and matched to create your perfect kitchen setup.
Miele’s new SmartLine cooktops offer your choice of wok burner, indoor griddle, or teppanyaki grill in addition to the usual gas and induction burners. That way, you can get the speed of induction and the feedback of gas, plus the taste of an indoor grill.
Because each separate piece is the same size, you can swap or replace them as your tastes change. If you want to buy one now, you can: While the Miele SmartLine isn’t yet available in the U.S., German manufacturer Gaggenau has sold the Vario series of high-end modular appliances for years.
Voice control is like hiring a sous chef
Last year, GE added Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant to its major appliances. Putting voice control on an oven might sound like another smart home gimmick, but we found it pretty useful during cooking.
For instance, you can tell your oven to preheat to 350ºF while you’re elbow-deep in stuffing a turkey. You can also tell the oven to change temperatures or turn off, even if your hands are full with another cooking task.
That’s why other manufacturers like Whirlpool and LG are following suit, adding Alexa compatibility to their smart appliances. We’re certain that voice control will be a must-have feature on ovens in the future, so keep that in mind if you’re planning a remodel today.
Turn to (engineered) stone
Granite countertops are so 2005. Today’s engineered stone comes in such a wide variety of colors, shades, and patterns that it’s possible to build almost any countertop you can imagine.
Fenix NTM, for instance, is a nanotech countertop that’s soft to the touch and fingerprint resistant. It’s even possible to “heal” scratches by applying a little bit of heat.
If you want a more traditional surface that’s still durable, Silestone Lyra looks like marble but is actually made up of a quartz composite that’s resistant to heat and stains.
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