Modern, clean, and conservative tend to rule the day in kitchen design, according to Dale Wigden of Louisville Tile. “Whites and greys continue to be popular choices due to the perception that they are timeless,” he says. “We are seeing a lot of Shaker-style or slab front cabinetry, as well as neutral painted colors with contrasting color for an island or butler’s pantry, in a natural or dark stained wood.”
Kate Gray of Beth Haley Design reports that kitchens are the least “trendy” room in the home because such a big investment is involved. “We do see more and more emphasis on fixtures, hardware, and easy to replace elements such as backsplashes and similar design elements. For fixtures, gold metallics have become popular and the trend remains strong. We’re also seeing a lot of dark, almost black, fixtures and we love the look,” she says.
Noting that hardware is one of the easiest items in a kitchen to replace/swap out, Gray adds, “We’re seeing a lot of people mixing and matching to create a custom look. Also, backsplashes are becoming more geometric. And almost all our clients are asking for open shelving.”
In agreement about finishes, Meredith Fingarson of PDI says, “A huge trend is the mixing of finishes when it comes to faucets and lighting. Brass, copper, and gold are being mixed to give a kitchen an eclectic style. And the classic white-on-white kitchen is here to stay. White mixed with pops of color from the hardware is perfect for creating a sleek, modern look.”
Saying that white and grey kitchens are still the most popular, Aaron Cook of Prestige Granite & Marble says, “Bright accent colors are taking a back burner to softer hues, such as muted blues, greens, and pale yellow. And everyone seems to love some modern components in the kitchen. Even in traditional homes, we’re seeing some contemporary elements incorporated into the design.”
Ferguson’s Stansell Dye says pops of color are showing up in a variety of ways in the kitchen—”from the exterior of appliances to the coordinating accents of faucets and fixtures. The newest trend we’re seeing is the emergence of subtle metallic colors in appliances. From rose gold to black stainless steel, appliances are available so that homeowners can express their personality without making a bold color statement that could date the overall aesthetic of the kitchen.”
Agreeing that white and grey are very popular, Jay Marlar of ProCraft Cabinetry says, “White cabinetry is a perfect option to lighten and brighten a kitchen. And while grey has become the hot new color on its own or paired with white, many homeowners are opting add weathered or reclaimed wood looks in grey.”
While transitional kitchens remain popular, Sue Wadden of Sherwin-Williams says there have been an uptick in cleaner, more contemporary looks. “The natural look is really trending right now—homeowners like the raw-edged, unfinished look of reclaimed wood, and also favor other natural materials such as cork, stone, and earthy tiles. Natural neutral colors such as ecru, camel, tan, taupe, and grey are accented with soft, warmer neutrals in blue, sienna, pink, and browns,” she says.
Krislyn Wellborn of Welborn Cabinet, Inc. says the strongest design trend today is transitional. “With transitional, you go from no more than one stack of molding to possibly no molding at all. It is a very clean look with fewer accessories,” Wellborn says. “It has sleek tiles, countertops, and appliances. Transitional styling pulls together the warmth of traditional with the crispness of contemporary making for a good median. This allows the homeowner to choose a simple door style, often a Shaker style, and pair it with a beautiful stained wood. Neutral paints are also very popular among transitional cabinetry.”
On the other hand, Wellborn reports, contemporary kitchens are characterized by distinctive hard and sleek horizontal lines. A full overlay slab door style is typically the norm for these kitchens.
Combining transitional and contemporary styles has created a style many designers and consumers request, Wellborn, says, which is the frameless design. “With frameless cabinetry, you can get a smoother look and a more contemporary appearance,” she says, as well as more storage space. “With the rise in smaller homes more storage space is becoming an essential design element. The frameless cabinet opens to provide easier access to dishes and kitchen items.” Wellborn reports homeowners are also mixing transitional and traditional kitchen styles in an eclectic way.
Jennifer Jones says trends don’t play a role in decision making for kitchens due to the expense of renovating the space. “My younger clients are very drawn to a cleaner aesthetic. Contemporary styling can be derived from cabinet design and the use of less traditional countertop materials, as well as the use of color.”
The popularity of open shelving, according to Carolyn Campbell of Carolyn Campbell Interiors goes hand-in-hand with the growing demand for large and all-encompassing pantries. “Open shelving or shelves on brackets to hold often-used items is a favorite trend of mine,” she says, as is the elimination of all upper cabinets. “Banquette areas are also very prized for dining and homework.”
Pantries have become an important aspect of today’s kitchens, as homeowners gravitate to more open, uncluttered spaces, according to Kurt Schusterman of California Closets, which offers a variety of pantry styles. Schusterman says he sees people branching away from plain white. Homeowners often view the pantry as the central hub of the kitchen, incorporating magnetic market boards for messages and shopping lists.
“We’re finding that since the pantry is such a visible part of the home, people are selecting our higher end textured wood grains with five-part shaker doors,” he says. “We’re also seeing open air drawers so you can see what’s inside, as well as wine storage areas, canvas and wire baskets, and glass inserts in the doors.”
Reporting that she is seeing color in kitchen cabinets—red, green, and blue—is Bohnne Jones of Decorating Den Interiors. Mixing materials, wood and metal with metal on both cabinets and countertops, is giving a fresh new look to many kitchens.”
Jones adds that lighting is the “it” element for the kitchen at the moment. “Under cabinet lighting is not negotiable—that’s your task lighting and can lighting is waning. In its place, we are seeing linear LED—above the cabinet, below the cabinet, below the counter, at the toe kick. LED lighting can take us to new places.” She adds that white kitchens require careful attention to the color temperature of lighting for the best effect.
Transitional design remains the main kitchen trend, according to Victoria Highfill of Hermitage Kitchen Design Gallery. “We are seeing a rise in the more contemporary style, but it is generally remixed with organic or industrial accents like live edge wood countertops or the application of reclaimed lumber. White and grey are still commonly requested, especially in the more urban areas,” she says.
Highfill adds that the natural look is in, “with ‘greige’ continuing to be popular. Pops of color are being paired with neutrals such as white, beige, wood tones, and brick. An accent color is being used in multiple locations, depending on how much color is wanted. This might range from a small touch in the backsplash tile or the veining in the countertop all the way to an entire island cabinet being a bold accent color.”
Mari-Kate Hopper of Van Mol Restoration says every client is unique, “but all have a common thread: they need a more functional kitchen. Everyone wants an open floor plan for working and entertaining and the kitchen is the entertainment center.” Like others, she reports that white cabinets are popular and the color is part of backsplashes and islands. “Farm sinks and simple fixtures are a must for all,” she says.
People are choosing to stay in their existing homes in many cases, according to Melinda Dupree of Dream Kitchen and Bath. “They’re removing walls for a spacious view, fusing a laid-back atmosphere and making the entire kitchen a conversation piece. Notable trends are open reclaimed wood shelving with wrought iron supports, white or light blue subway tiles, white Shaker cabinetry, various shades of grey and cobalt or navy blue on islands or accents, and use of industrial and nature-inspired elements.”
Jessica Lambert of Stratton Exteriors reports the kitchen designs her company is seeing today “give a nod to the past, but are clearly looking into the future. Some designs focus on the bold, clean lines that are common in the styles that were popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s, while others are experimenting with texture on texture contrast through alternative patterns in tile, wood flooring, and backsplashes that were popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
“Keep in mind though, these designs have a contemporary twist and this is especially prevalent in the color palates that are being selected,” says Lambert. “Grey and other natural tones have become quite popular and look especially nice in the farmhouse style kitchens that we have seen much of lately. Another design trend that we are seeing is smart spaces in kitchens that offer hidden storage and charging docks for phones, tablets, and laptops.”
Pointing to the freedom in design being experienced today, Anna Berry of Anna Berry Design, Inc., says, “Kitchens can be anything we can imagine them to be. No longer is every kitchen the same or even similar. With a mix of color through paint, pattern, shine, and texture we’re able to create individual spaces for our clients.” In one recent kitchen renovation, she says she painted cabinets French Linen Gray and added a marble arabesque backsplash and white quartz countertops. “The ship-lapped island was painted white with a honed marble top. I used a barn wood tile backsplash In the butler’s pantry. Mixing the different materials created a beautiful complimentary space.”
In agreement with others about the popularity of white and grey cabinets, with painted cabinets, the number one choice, is Tammy McKinney of Superior Custom Homes & Remodeling. “The most popular door style continues to be a Craftsman door with clean lines that can read modern or timeless. The primary trend is the largest island a kitchen can hold. A 9-foot or 10-foot island is becoming the norm and often replaces a casual eating area,” she says.
Modern conveniences are also important in today’s kitchens according to Mary Forsythe of Forsythe Home Styling. “The latest in appliances focus on healthy living, incorporating the use of fast cooking methods such as induction cooktops or steam/convection ovens for healthy cooking,” she says.
There are a number of sources for kitchen design in the Nashville area including:
Anna Berry Design LLC
Beth Haley Design
Carolyn Campbell Inteirors
Closets by Design
Decorating Den Interiors
Dream Kitchen & Bath
Forsythe Home Styling
French’s Cabinet Gallery
Hantel Kitchens & Baths
Hermitage Kitchen Design Gallery
Jennifer Jones Designs
Natural Stone Distributors
Prestige Granite & Marble
ProCraft Cabinetry Inc.
Superior Custom Homes & Remodeling
Tennesseee Stone Care
Traditions in Tile
Van Mol Restoration