10 Kitchen Trends Here to Stay

January 7, 2014

I have kitchens on my mind a lot these days and I’m pinning dozens as I round up ideas for the future and of all the spaces in a home, kitchens prove the most challenging because the cabinet, tile, and surface choices are far more permanent.

The kitchen is where we cook and bake, and spend time with family and friends. It must stand up to daily wear and tear, moisture, heat, and the march of time when it comes to design trends. In the past few years, many trends are proving they have staying power, here’s a glance at ten looks that are defining modern kitchen design.

Open Shelving.  This bistro style has surged in popularity over the past few years and while many have questioned whether it’s timeless (including me) it’s a look that so many of us embrace now and ranks high on many a homeowner’s list as an opportunity to showcase pretty dishes or glass containers within easy reach.

open shelves in kitchen bhg

open shelving wood countertops country living

 

open shelving brick backdrop

open shelving summer thornton

better homes & gardens / country livingurban grace interiors / summer thornton

 

Two Color Cabinetry.  It used to be two separate colors between the island and surrounding cabinets, but now the two color cabinetry look is different. Now the two tone look is above and below. Choosing lighter cabinets above gives the illusion of less weight while the darker color on the base cabinets feels grounded. This is a modern and stylish way to mix tones, and one way to give an older single color kitchen a new look.

bhg two color cabinets

 

two color cabinets bhg

 

black lowers white uppers in kitchen

better homes & gardens / better homes & gardens / chatelaine

     

Tile to the Ceiling. This is my favorite look in kitchens, those feature walls of tile that go straight up to the ceiling and/or wrap around windows. Yep, it’s an added expense and unnecessary for function beyond the back of a range and the few inches needed above the counter but wow, what a statement it makes, right?

tile to ceiling bhg

 

blue green tile to ceiling

 

marble chevron tile to ceiling

better homes & gardens / rejuvenation / croma design

 

Brass Fixtures. The warmth of brass is surging again and looks equally as appealing next to warm grays and wood surfaces as it does against cooler white or black tones.

brass kitchen faucet

brass fixtures black and white kitchen

brass knobs gray cabinetry

workstead / elle decor / munger interiors

 

Wood Countertops. They’re a higher maintenance surface, but offer a warmth that granite or marble can’t provide. Have your wood countertops custom made by a local maker, or consider butcher block versions are readily available from vendors like IKEA and easy to install without professional help.

open shelving wood countertops in kitchen

wood countertop glass front cabinets

wood countertop gray and white cabinets

butcher block island countertop

smitten studio / digs design co. / house beautiful / terra cotta properties

 

Recycled & Reclaimed Materials.  Compared to the generations of the past, we’re fortunate to have so many choices of eco-friendly materials including recycled glass tiles and countertops, cork and bamboo floors and reclaimed wood, all at the top of the list for many considering a remodel.

recycled glass tile backsplash

 

reclaimed wood in kitchen

better homes & gardens / kristina crestin design

  

Neutral Painted Cabinets. Gray, greige, taupe, and gray greens offer a nice change to the stark white kitchens we’ve love but have seen over and over – the slightly warmer yet neutral hues feel elegant and refined.

taupe kitchen cabinets nickel pulls

 

soft gray cabinets stone backsplash

style me pretty / better homes & gardens

  

Contemporary Wood Fronts. The warmth of wood is returning to the kitchen scene as many designers are including cherry, maple, and walnut woods. The door and drawer fronts are streamlined with no raised or beveled paneling and partnered with modern pulls for contemporary appeal.

contemporary wood cabinetry

 

cherry wood contemporary cabinets

better homes & gardens / casey design plan

 

Less or No Upper Cabinets. So many are now opting out of bulky upper cabinets and instead choosing the beauty of just windows or feature tile. What they sacrifice in storage they gain in an airy aesthetic, but often this look requires architectural consideration from the beginning of a kitchen’s design.

tall kitchen windows wettling architects

no upper cabinets around window

 

wettling architects / jessica helgerson design / this old house

 

IKEA Cabinets.  IKEA is giving every kitchen cabinet manufacturer serious competition with their streamlined styles and lower prices. Anyone who has ever walked through the IKEA kitchens in stores knows that there are several styles and finishes to choose from, all of them making a kitchen remodel that much more affordable.

ikea cabinets in kitchen

 

ikea kitchen cabinets

ikea x 2 / style at home

 

What are your thoughts on these kitchen trends? Do you agree they are here to stay or do you think they will fade away in a few years? What styles appeal to you most?

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57 Responses to “10 Kitchen Trends Here to Stay”

  1. Celina says:

    I think they are trends for a reason, I’m sure we’ll see something fresh and different again in the coming years. I wouldn’t mind the tile to the ceiling look to stick around. I’d love to do this in my kitchen. I’d also like to paint my cabinets a neutral tone.

  2. Vel says:

    I am a fan of the 2 color cabinetry, tile to the ceiling and brass fixtures and I incorporated them when I renovated my kitchen. Definitely all your suggestions are here to stay, but will just depend on the person’s taste and style. Open shelving is super trendy and pretty but it’s not for me because I would ‘die’ trying to dust it out every so often, LOL! Less cabinets I would love, if I live in a huge house with a huge kitchen, practicality considered, I would still want a lot of them. :-) Wood countertops definitely is beautiful but upkeep and voiding countertop warranty shunned me away from them, but for the island, I think it’s here to stay!

  3. Heidi says:

    My husband and I just demoed our kitchen this past weekend! We’re including more tile than a standard backsplash, antique brass pendant lights, and maybe adding in some open shelving when we’re done. I guess we’re more trendy than we thought! I love the look of white cabinets, but alas he wasn’t game so we’re going with very dark maple cabinets.

  4. Kelly says:

    Two color cabinets? Oh yes. Eco-friendly? Sure. I can even, partially, stomach the contemporary wood fronts for some tastes, but BRASS!? Oh no. For me, brass is an ugly scar that won’t heal in design history. Oh I just can’t stomach it. Ever. No way Jose. ;)

  5. I’ve been wanting to paint my kitchen cabinets…this post just clinched the deal!

  6. Kathy says:

    Great post! I’m in love with open shelving and want to do it so bad!! And I feel like it would be easy to add cabinets back if you grow tired of it! Thanks for giving us some many inspirations! Love your blog too!!

  7. I really like to paint our kitchen white, everything stands out and looks more spacious! All pictures look great!

  8. Ashley says:

    Oh my goodness – the picture the fourth from the bottom with the white lower cabinets, a wall of windows and farmhouse sink has me in love!!! My husband and I live in a small town with plans to someday move to a farm like he grew up on and that would without a doubt be my DREAM kitchen!!!

  9. Tonya says:

    I just discovered your blog and love it! I like many of these kitchen trends except for the no upper cupboards and I think the open shelving looks lovely, but I’d be concerned about dust and the shelves getting cluttered.

  10. We have a kitchen reno planned for (at least to start) for this year, so good timing as I’m beginning to mull things over.

    1 – definitely in love with a large wall of windows behind the sink and tile around it up to the ceiling. Luckily we have a house this works aesthetically for inside and out and it is a DEFINITE.

    2 – 2 tone cabinets… we’re thinking our full wall ( the “L) will be all white and the island/peninsula will be a dark espresso wood tone. The darker cabinets seem like they’ll hold up better to swinging feet from bar stools during meal times!

    3 – I have a huge question about cabinets if anyone has ANY feedback. We are definitely in the stock or semi-stock budget category. Does anyone have any feedback on Ikea cabinets that you’ve had for maybe a year + and not just newly installed? What about Shenandoah or other special order semi-custom types you can get at Lowes?

    Thanks!!

  11. Michelle says:

    @Michelle…I’ve had ikea kitchen cupboards for 5 years in my kitchen in Paris. When we moved back to North America we took them with us and put them in the laundry room. They have held up wonderfully over the 8 years in total. They are sturdy and still look new. HTH.

  12. carol fun says:

    I just finished a kitchen remodel about 3 months ago and went with IKEA cabinets. So far I LOVE them. I got lots of the extras – pull out drawers and corner units – so I have tons of storage packed into a small 10 X 12 kitchen. As for counters I thought about lots of options and went with a very colorful solid surface by Formica. For my taste I like the glass front cabinets instead of open shelving.

    I think the trends of two tone cabinetry and tile walls will age well. However I have serious doubts that brass will make a return. Most realtors in this area of the country (Midwest) suggest repainting or replacing it before you list a house built in the 80’s to get a better price. I do think that the all white kitchens are going to fade, but they could easily be updated with the addtion of another color.

  13. Amy says:

    I love the open shelving! I continue to take doors off in different houses we have lived in because i love it so much. And honestly, since I use the stuff on the shelves I don’t have to dust very much. I like the neutral cabinets, but my first love is still white. Beachy, cottagy, sparkling white!

  14. Other than wood floors and painted cabinets, I don’t believe anything is a trend. The popularity of things like marble countertops and farm style sinks comes and goes, but those old standbys will always be there.

  15. CentsationalGirl says:

    Thanks Michelle, I was curious too!
    Well said Carol Fun! I agree, the new laminate countertop patterns that mimic marble make it a great option for solid surface countertops.

  16. Ashley says:

    We recently updated our 80’s-tastic kitchen with several of these “trends.” We painted our upper cabinets white, removed the upper cabinets over the kitchen peninsula to open it up, and painted our lower cabinets BM Amherst Gray. We sanded, stained, and installed ikea butcher block countertops and ADORE them. We stained horitzontal tongue and groove planks in gray for the front of the island. Some fabulous knobs and pulls finished off the look. It was a very affordable and satisfying renovation and has made our kitchen more liveable for our friends and family.

    Fantastic round up, Kate!

  17. Gina Melton says:

    Hey Kate! Happy New Year! What’s your tale on appliance finishes. Is stainless really on the way out?!

  18. RB says:

    After recently switching out all of my brass hardware for nickle because “brass is out” (something I have always loved) I’ve come to the conclusion that you should ignore the trends and make your home your own. Gray is the “it” color in home design but I have had gray carpet throughout the two homes I’ve owned over the past 30 years. I’ve always considered it a neutral and have loved the color. In due time out will be in again which will confirm that you’ve always had good taste regardless of what the pros think. Just do you!

  19. Jessica says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE two color cabinetry, wood countertops, and open shelving. @Ashley – your new kitchen sounds exactly like what I want to have one day. I’m having kitchen envy.

    Also, I think it’s so funny that you (@Kate) listed “No Uppers”. I really hadn’t come across that idea yet, but strangely enough, my boyfriend mentioned that he loved the concept the other day. I think we are going to have a kitchen compromise on our hands when we buy our first home! =)

  20. Talitha says:

    After watching countless house programs, I couldn’t stand another ‘I want granite countertops and stainless steel appliances’. Taste and preferences are personal and I love to come into a kitchen where I can see people have made up their own mind on what’s nice or beautiful! The more personal, the better, be it brass, stainless steel, wood, colors or white!

  21. Christina says:

    This post could not of come at a better time. We are in the beginning stages of building a home, and trying to convince my hubby that not everything needs to be matchy matchy! I am loving the look of mixing countertops and cabinetry finishes, but also don’t want to be too trendy. I’m hoping if I stick with the classics but give it a twist I will be ok……RIGHT??

  22. Kate says:

    IKEA cabinets – I have had mine for 5 years. I have three kids and a dog. I am not terribly careful. And we regularly have cooking parties with several friends cooking together, kids doing crafts, and animals underfoot. In short, this is no show kitchen used only to warm up the take-out dinner. The IKEA cabinets are great! They still look new. Still work like new!!

    Open shelves – Luv ‘em in the homes of tidy, design savvy friends. Too much curating for me. I have frosted glass doors from IKEA. It breaks up the bland expanse of cabinets and makes even messy interiors look charming, interesting and colorful.

  23. CentsationalGirl says:

    great to read your IKEA cabinets are holding up Kate with such an active household !

  24. CentsationalGirl says:

    I’d love the idea of “less uppers” in a kitchen remodel too Jessica, especially in a smaller space where one might crave more storage but restraint makes the space feel less cramped. :)
    I nixed the upper cabinets around the window in the shelter kitchen (see it here: http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2012/10/shelter-kitchen-remodel-complete/) and it made ALL the difference.

  25. CentsationalGirl says:

    RIGHT Christina and Amen Talitha !
    Ashley, your kitchen sounds FAB, send pics!
    “Just Do You” – words to live by RB!

  26. CentsationalGirl says:

    Gina, I still believe stainless appliances look good, to me stainless feels clean in a kitchen. I’m also a huge fan of paneling an appliance if you can…. I know it’s pricey but a paneled fridge or dishwasher breaks up all the stainless, that’s one solution, although it often requires a custom order. I’m a lover of white appliances too, I think they’re clean and timeless, how can you go wrong with white ?

  27. Paula says:

    Perfect timing for two reasons: We’ve been planning a kitchen remodel (we, meaning I’ve been planning it!) for about a year and then 2 weeks ago we suffered water damage in our kitchen through the range hood vent during a rain storm. The insurance adjuster was at our home today and said EVERY CABINET needs to go, the walls need to come out down to the studs, the bulkhead needs to go, lighting needs to be replaced, the flooring probably needs to be replaced because we have hardwood and it buckled where it got wet, and more. We thought it was going to be about $500 damage which is our deductible and weren’t even going to call in the claim!!

    So now, I’m COMPLETELY overwhelmed with decisions. Gah!!!

  28. Indeed the kitchen is my favorite place at home.
    Unfortunately we live in a rented apartment so i can only dream now of a kitchen with my own taste
    but accessorize it helps and i do have a nice functional kitchen now
    I love the kitchen in the second photo with the white and wood and the big baskets , so warm and inviting

  29. Michelle says:

    Hi Kate Happy New Year. I love the first pic under your header “Tile to the Ceiling” but cannot find the source to pin that pic for future reference. Can you provide the source? Thanks for always inspiring

  30. Technicolor says:

    A very personal take on trends and u-turn on the subject.. I think trends are going to head into another direction, meaning we will not be attached to them as we are now. The ideas will bring our decor together, but believe we will begin to do more of what works for us and incorporate who we are along with creative concepts. So many of the trends are designer concepts and yes we need them for beginnings to a kitchen of dreams. concepts which work individually, definitely workings of new appliance builds. But trends bring so many stories pf those buying homes with expectations of the latest trends, only to gut a wonderful new kitchen for the direction of said trends..

    Taking a chance on the above comment….I do love the kitchens and would be thrilled to have any one of them. There are some great concepts to work with. One trend which I am tired of is tiled backsplashes. Without an answer as to other options. Although I do like the board/batten on long. Which says a bit about my decor choices.

  31. Deidre says:

    I love the look of all of these kitchens (except the brass fittings – not a fan of brass!). I particularly love the kitchen in the photo, fourth from the bottom, with the gorgeous farmhouse sink!

    Personally, as much as I like the look of no upper cabinets and open shelving – neither of these options would work for me. I need the storage and I don’t think my kitchen could possibly remain tidy enough to look good without hiding a few things behind closed doors. At the moment, I do have upper cabinets and I have made a little addition to my kitchen, above which I do have some open shelving to display some of my teapot collection.

    I love the look of butcher-block countertops but, am unsure how long they will look nice in my kitchen.

  32. I love this post Kate and I couldn’t agree more with majority of this list. I immediately fell in love with the two color cabinetry look about two years ago when I decided to paint my own and I’m so glad it’s having a lasting presence. I’m also so happy to see people getting rid of uppers all together. I’m a huge fan of open shelving and I think once people embraced the notion that a kitchen doesn’t really have to have them it made it more comfortable to be acceptable. When we embarked on our kitchen revamp I wanted so badly to completely get rid of my uppers but couldn’t due to ventilation issues so I removed the doors and it was the best decision I ever made. I’ll never have a kitchen without open shelving ever again! You know what else I’d really love to see more of, too? I know it sounds weird and a little old school but I’d love to see more people embracing smaller kitchens and preferring them over large expansive ones. I love small, efficient, well designed kitchens with even hope to see more eat in style kitchens again.

  33. Leanne says:

    I love how people personalize their kitchens. Our kitchen is separated from the great room by a 17 foot counter where everyone gathers. It forces me to keep the kitchen clean all the time! (Well, most days.)
    I look forward to a similar post about master bath trends that are here to stay. Please?

  34. Frankie says:

    I love wood counters, painted cabinetry, and open shelving. I even love some tilework. But brass fixtures? Never. Nope. Never, ever, ever. I never care what’s trendy or hot at the moment and only decorate with what I love. I can guarantee that will never be brass fixtures! :D

  35. CentsationalGirl says:

    Ha Frankie, you’re not alone! Others have mentioned their hatred of brass fixtures too, I believe it dates back to those shiny shellacked versions from the late 80s and early 90s, we had those in my house when I was younger ~

    Shavonda you’re right, smaller, simpler & more efficient can be wonderful :)

  36. Ms. Lizzy says:

    Hi Kate! Happy New Year!
    I L.O.V.E. K.I.T.C.H.E.N.S!! With my tastes changing so rapidly (right around 50~hmmm…) I LOVE the BH&G rejuvenation/ croma design. So clean, fresh and elegant!

    I see soap stone in photo #6. EVERYONE talked me out of it. We live REALLY hard, and in the long run I’m probably grateful. They all told me I’d had the ‘scratches’. So we chose granite, but we do have a butcher block island! I really don’t find it hard to maintain at all. I oil it about every 6 months, and just use a squirt bottle with a tablespoon of bleach in it to wipe it down. Only thing I lay a plastic cutting board down for are onions/garlic and meat. I love the more rustic and ‘cuts’ it is getting.

    Still laughing with you Michelle about brass…not so much….

    White Kitchens ADORE. Have had a white kitchen my entire homeowners experience, and would do it again! SO glad we went with thermafoil! It is shrink-wrapped around (probably) MDF. But NOTHING sticks to them, they are as beautiful as the day we put them in, and they NEVER have to be painted! Love thermafoil!

    Lastly ~ no to open shelves. To me they look cluttered and we really cook ~ A LOT! I have a hard time keeping my hood and the spices and stuff I do keep out, clean! I can’t imagine the collection of grease my dishes would have!

  37. Great post Kate! The images are beautiful! I agree that kitchens are tough because of the permanency of the materials. I have not remodeled our 1990’s kitchen, but this post gives me lots of inspiration for the future!!
    xo,
    Jennifer

  38. Shelley says:

    Love the kitchens in the blog – beautiful design ideas. On the trends: I love open shelving…in someone else’s kitchen. I think it is beautiful, but it requires a lot of time and effort to keep up with the organization and presentation. I also question how it will age. For me, it works best in combination with cabinets, especially in nook areas that are otherwise unusuable, and when what is stored on them is only occasionally used or is decorative. In my job, work with realtors. They cringe when they go into a kitchen with “open shelving”. Few of us have both the time and inclination to keep the items on the shelves well organized and artfully displayed. Disorganized shelves don’t show well – a real consideration if you are planning to sell in the next 1-3 years.

    I like the painted cabinets, especially the two-toned. And I love white cabinets and appliances. It always looks so fresh. Butcherblock countertops (they add so much warmth to a kitchen) are a wonderful (and budget friendly) alternative to stone. There is no doubt Ikea has been a game changer in the furniture world, especially cabinets. They have brought great, modern style for a minimal investment – very moderate budgets can produce great results. I have a friend who has had her Ikea kitchen for 6 years and it has held up beautifully. Great way to start out the new year – thinking about a kitchen update.

  39. elaine says:

    What a beautiful lot of inspiration photos! I feel the same as when I’m browsing through the seed catalogs — lost in beauty.

  40. Dayna says:

    Great post! I work for a company that custom makes wood countertops in Michigan and I love that you’ve shared the fact that they are way warmer than stone options – Truth is, they are a lot quieter too. We have these special finishes at our shop that make the tops zero maintenance. You don’t even have to rub oil on them regularly! They are water and stain resistant too!

  41. Love this! So many of these elements are exactly what I am planning for our upcoming kitchen revamp -thanks for sharing the gorgeous images!!

  42. meg says:

    I love the wooden counter tops! Looks great against the white cabinets.

  43. Helen Peterson says:

    Love your round-up. We are in the process of doing our kitchen, and I love transitional/traditional, so when we designed it, I chose a wood cabinet stained a pecan color – which I have in other built-ins -on one wall with the fridge, ovens and pantry, then the bottom cabinets throughout, and the top cabinets on the other walls are white. Oiled bronze handles on all looks wonderful, with a dark oak floor. Look on HOUZZ ladies. There are literally millions of pictures and some are labeled as to supplier or color. You can compile your own scrapbooks. I am a good and frequent cook, and the though of open shelving makes me itch, so with some cabinet fronts, we used glass.

  44. Kelly says:

    I love the open shelves, contrasting colors, and natural materials!

    xx Kelly

  45. Karli says:

    So fun looking at these. Two years ago I wanted wood countertops and every contractor I talked to looked at me like I was nuts…go figure!

  46. Kathy says:

    So love all your thoughts, I even think these trends can cross over into bathrooms as well to some degree.
    Most warning “trend”–the bistro open shelves, it just looks like you ran out of money or ideas. I wouldn’t.t demo any perfectly good cabinet for this idea.

    Trends that need to go-desks in the kitchen and all those words on the walls. I’m bored by both.

  47. Monique says:

    I love all these trends and that we have so many choices! Brass faucets are so pretty, especially if they are bridge ones! My kitchen has two colored cabinets and bronze fixtures. I just posted some photos to my blog today if you’d like to see. :)

  48. I definitely think that the warmth timber can bring to a kitchen is an enduring trend. The only one out of this great list you’ve put together that I would be wary to use is the open shelving. I think in small kitchens it can make the space look cluttered and messy.

  49. Carolyn says:

    Thanks for this list! We are planning a kitchen remodel right now. Do you have any suggestions for timeless bathroom trends?? (Planning two bathroom remodels and those are harder than the kitchen!)

  50. sandyc says:

    Agree about the timeliness of this post! Think all of these “trends” listed can very well be “timeless” if you incorporate what you like and you’re happy in the end. My now project is to change my fairly small 1986 medium oak cabinet kitchen to a white French country kitchen on no or very few bucks. No big remodel or renovation – no change possible in footprint so why pay for new cabinets when current can be painted. Didn’t care much for open shelving and would never do it all over but just saw a pic with my setup of corner sink below window with dishwasher to the right and then a patio door. Cabinet over dishwasher had been removed and open shelving in its place – made it all look very open and airy and further brightened a relatively bright area. Thinking I might start out by just removing doors/hinges on current cabinet and painting all inside and out. Will add hardware and might even consider two-tone cabinets (or not). And, of course, a new countertop – butcher block grabs me for a country kitchen but otherwise a high-def laminate (no granite or even quartz or other upscale – don’t want it to scream new countertop in an old kitchen). Thanks for all the inspiration ideas.

  51. Hannah Wolf says:

    this is a great list! I unfortunately just moved into a house that had JUST redone the kitchen, but not totally to my liking. Oh well, it’s not old! One other thing I’ve notice – not a SINGLE window treatment in any of these photos??? Is that a new trend? I’ve been searching high and low for good options for kitchen window treatments, but it seems so many designers are leaving windows bare these days. My windows have no casing, so they are begging for a shade or SOMETHING.

  52. I also like the way that more people are using large bottom drawers instead of traditional lower cabinets. You made a great list of what is popular in kitchens these days and most likely here to stay. Now I’m dreaming of an updated kitchen. :-)

    ~Sarah

  53. Sunny says:

    I love the look of butcher block, but I’m concerned about the wood harboring bacteria. Thoughts, anyone?

  54. Deidre says:

    Speaking of brass faucets and fixtures, and slightly off-topic – I have fallen in deeply in love with this gorgeous white faucet: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/440930619738431000/

    Does anyone have experience with this type of faucet? How does it hold up over time? Does the colour yellow or change etc.?

  55. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Hannah, I used to have a window treatment in my kitchen but removed it, I’m a fan of a lot of natural light in a kitchen, but you’re right, so many are not using them now. I think if privacy is an issue then of course add them, take a peek at this article with several options for kitchen window treatments:

    http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2013/02/6-ways-to-dress-a-kitchen-window/

    Kate

  56. Jenny says:

    Do you have any more information on the This Old House kitchen with the brass fixtures in the No Uppers category? I’m trying to find out the color used on the cabinets and have been unable to find out any information on the picture.

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