Want a new kitchen that makes you happy? According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), keep it “clean, minimalist, and modern, with a touch of luxury.” That sounds great, but where do you start?
First, consider the scope of renovation. If this is your forever home, you can pretty much do whatever you want, depending on your budget. But if you’re planning to sell anytime in the future, a modest renovation will pay off more than a large-scale remodel. So forget about changing the layout—just focus on these trends to update.
Then, figure out the look you want. The NKBA says that Farmhouse, Transitional, and Contemporary styles are leading the pack. Pick a style that complements the rest of your house, or your kitchen will look like it belongs someplace else.
• Farmhouse doesn’t have to have shiplap on the walls (Sorry, Chip and Jo!), but it can include sliding barn doors, apron sinks, and wood beams.
• Transitional offers a mix of past and present. Both fresh and classic, often with black and white as the main colors, a transitional kitchen may have quartz countertops, a stainless sink, and hardwood flooring.
• Contemporary is sleek and streamlined, with clean lines. This style can have open shelving or flat panel cabinet doors, and contemporary kitchens may also include smart home technology.
No matter what style of kitchen you're going for, these are the big design trends you'll want to include.
1. Painted cabinetry
Paint is the most popular finish for cabinets, and lightly stained wood is up-and-coming. Flat front cabinets are currently beating out framed (Shaker-style) doors by a small margin, and they look especially good in very modern kitchens. If you’re using different colors for the upper and the lower cabinets or island, no matter what the style, the darker color always goes on the bottom. A kitchen with all dark cabinetry looks best when there's plenty of natural light.
2. Quartz countertops
Quartz is an engineered stone that is now more popular than granite. Because it’s not porous, quartz is low maintenance, and extremely durable. You can buy it in many colors, but you'll do better if you stick to a neutral that matches your kitchen's other finishes. Quartz is definitely a luxury item that costs more than natural stone. But, those aren't the only countertop choices. Keep an open mind: laminates cost a lot less than any kind of stone, and some of the newer ones look just like the real thing.
3. Subway tile backsplashes
Tile is the popular backsplash choice, whether you prefer ceramic or porcelain. Choose a tile color that relates to your counter and cabinets. Subway tile is a reliable choice in any style of kitchen, and it comes in a wide range of colors, sizes and materials to fit any kitchen.
4. Blue-gray everywhere
White and gray dominate the kitchen color palette. Zillow, the real estate listing site, did a paint color analysis last year that concluded that homes with pale gray-blue kitchens actually sold for an average of $1,800 more than other homes. No question: cool neutrals are the way to go—for now. But, seriously, paint is easy to change up, so feel free to choose a color you love for your new kitchen.
5. Mixed metals
Using silver and gold in the same room is a hot trend, and it will give any style kitchen a layered, sophisticated look. So, if you have a chrome faucet and stainless appliances, don't be shy about accenting with brass light fixtures or brass hardware on the cabinets.
6. Black stainless appliances
Black stainless steel is the latest appliance color trend for all kitchens. Though the high-end look of black stainless can really elevate your kitchen, each brand’s take on the finish is different, meaning it’s hard to mix and match. If you do choose black stainless appliances, coordinate them with other elements in your kitchen—a countertop in black or gray, or black lower cabinets, for example. Regular stainless will never go out of style, so you can use it on all your appliances if you prefer.
7. Smart devices
Planning to keep technology in the kitchen? That’s practical. Amazon Echo and Alexa are completely at home in a kitchen, helping you with recipes and meal prep, and controlling your appliances. And the best part: you don’t need to renovate your kitchen to get the benefits.