Kitchen Design Trends

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Most industry experts agree that they continue to see white shaker-style cabinets more than other choices, and that hardwood flooring in a variety of shades remains a popular kitchen floor. Beyond these findings, however, there are discrepancies about views of colors, appliances, and kitchen design itself.

Regarding kitchen design, Louise Frost of The Design Studio reports she’s seeing a growing interest in kitchen layouts and taking cabinets to the ceiling to maximize storage and expand the space. “”Our clients are cutting down raised bars and extending countertops into the living space, often adding bar stools,” says Frost.

Gail Adkins of Change Magic agrees that clients are interested in increased kitchen storage space. “And everyone seems to want to open their kitchen to the living space,” she says.

Open kitchens are embracing living space and are becoming larger, often taking in the formal dining room to enlarge the kitchen and providing a seating area in the kitchen—usually at the kitchen island,” says David Crane of Crane Builders LLC.

Crane adds that he’s seeing lots of white and gray shaker style cabinets with different colored cabinets and different countertops on islands. He also has noted the growing interest in quartz countertops.

Agreeing that open kitchens are with us for the foreseeable future is Sharon Hicks of Carriage House Custom Homes & Interiors. She also reports seeing white and gray cabinetry coupled with white, grey, and natural stone backsplashes.

Cabinet Makeovers’ Dan Zimmerle says, “Shaker style painted cabinet doors are the trend, and taking cabinets to the ceiling is very popular. Many of our customers are building a specific beverage area in their kitchen and they’re replacing walk-in or closet-style pantries with pantries with pullouts.”

Taking cabinets to the ceiling helps utilize space, according to Zimmerle, and it makes the room look taller. “We’re also putting a lot of drawers and pullouts in bottom cabinets. No one wants to get on their hands and knees to locate items in the bottom cabinets.

“These built in pantries take up less space in the kitchen and provide more storage space,” says Zimmerle. “We’re also cutting down two-tier islands to one level and adding seating at the island.”

Echoing others, Ginny Bishop of Ginny Bishop Marketing says she is seeing white as the dominant color in cabinetry with backsplashes in neutrals and black and white.

According to Brooke Talmage of Prestige Marble and Granite, quartz is the latest trend, giving kitchens the look of natural stone without the maintenance. “Cabinets tend to be white, gray, and navy, while backsplashes are white, gray, black, and taupe,” says Talmage. “And of course farmhouse style remains very popular.”

William Toungette of Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery reports he’s seeing white and gray cabinets in kitchens, but that dark grays and dark green colors are also showing up on cabinets and island as an accent color.

“Today’s modern farmhouse style incorporates neutral colors, living finishes, and natural materials blended with modern technology and luxurious details,” Toungette says. “Elegant and understated charm is displayed through products with opulent textures, rich finishes, or sparkling gems.”

Lighting for the kitchen is speaking to the new trends, Toungette says. “Illuminagles is the new lighting trend that describes fixtures that combine an open framework and vibrant light source to illuminate geometric shapes,” he adds.

Melinda Calvert of Dream Kitchen and Bath says she’s seeing cabinets in white, stained gray, light and dark painted gray, shades of blue, and a painted off-white shade. “Backsplashes are often metallic finishes mixed with natural tones, as well as washed-out weathered look in white, gray, or beige.

Wood and tile flooring materials are often espresso, blonde, honey, gray, whitewashed, and white, says Calvert. “Homeowners are seeking to bring natural elements back into their homes,” she says.

Builder Supply Source’s Eric Tudor reports he’s noticing a return to black and white kitchens—black and white cabinets, white tile backsplashes, and gold, matte black, and satin nickel hardware finishes.

Emily Yoakum of Jonathan Miller Architects says the biggest kitchen trend noticed by her company is dedicated cabinetry stations. “Instead of all dishes in one cabinet and all appliances in another cabinet, we are seeing a trend of all items for making drinks in one cabinet and all items needed for baking in another cabinet. This allows the user to stay in one place instead of moving around the kitchen pulling different items from scattered placed to collect them in one spot,” says Yoakum.

Echoing the position of others, Kimberly Schmunk of Focus Builders says transitional design is most popular with homeowners. “In transitional kitchens, we’re seeing plaster range hoods, backsplash marble ledges, marble slab backsplashes, and inset cabinetry with simple cabinet panel profiles.”

Contemporary kitchens generally feature frameless cabinets, full marble slab backsplashes, waterfall edges, cabinets without hardware, stacked rectangular tile, strip lighting accents, and linear oversized range hoods, says Schmunk.

She adds that she’s seeing dark paint colors or dark stain colors in contemporary kitchens and bleached wood with light stain or painted cabinets in shades of white in transitional kitchens.

Laura Bolen of OHM says she is seeing more stained cabinets becoming popular, although white is on trend. Bolen says her customers are asking for quartz countertops and natural stone in shades of blue.

“I think beautiful wood—walnut, cherry, and exotics—are going to make a great resurgence for kitchen cabinets,” says Jennifer Jones of Jennifer Jones Design.

Hermitage Lighting Gallery’s Carla Taylor says she is still seeing lots of shades of white in cabinetry. “The use of shades of gray and slowed down, as has the interest in navy,” she says. Recently one client chose a hexagon tile in a vivid blue for an entire wall as a backsplash—”It was stunning,” Taylor says.

Reporting that homeowners are embracing color in their kitchens, from tile to cabinets and from flooring to appliances is Marcelle Guilbeau of Marcelle Guilbeau Interior Design. “Pops of bold color from red hot stoves to cobalt blue hexagon backsplash tiles are exotic, dramatic color choices that we’re seeing in all styles of homes,” she says.

In cabinetry, Guilbeau is finding increased interest in medium wood tones for flooring and earthy tiles that ground the kitchen and contrast with brightly colored backsplashes and tile. “We’re also seeing soft blue grey incorporated in cabinets for a hint of color in the kitchen,” Guilbeau says.

“Shades of white are still the favorite for many clients,” says Chesney Ford of Ford Classic Homes and Bella Vita Interiors. “However it’s been refreshing to see a lot of darker colors making a bold statement on kitchen cabinets including deep blue-gray tones, dark grays, and warmer greige colors.” She adds that the excitement in backsplashes is in patterns, textures, shapes, and mosaics.”

Debbie Hovspian of Crye-Leike says she’s seeing a trend toward large islands without sinks or cooktops.

“We’re on the front end of the trend to bring vibrant jewel tones into the kitchen—emerald greens and navy blues, paired with classics like white,” says Dana Tucker of Bella Tucker Decorative Finishes. “White kitchens remain very popular. We’re also doing about 95 percent of kitchen counters in quartz, and we’re adding some granite composite sinks.”

“I am seeing more clean-lined modern looks emerging. It started with the move to more Shaker styles, flat panels versus raised panels, then wider stiles,” says Bohnne Jones of Decorating Den Interiors. “Now I’m seeing more flat panels and laminates. I’m very excited about the use of easy care materials in the kitchen. And the new looks work with the mid-century trends in home furnishings.”

Echoing others about the desire of homeowners for a personal look in their kitchens, Jones says she’s seeing a lot of color in backsplashes. “Color is personal, of course, and strikes an emotional chord. Color is hot in design at the moment. Reporting that hardwood flooring is popular in kitchens, Jones says she recently saw an opalescent teal stain treatment—”wow!”

Streamlined kitchens are the trend according to Kate Fudim of Beth Haley Design. “Think flat front cabinets without hardware, hidden appliances and fewer—if any—upper cabinets. And floating shelves, that have been around for a while, are here to stay,” she says.

Elite Installation & Design, Inc.’s Dena Brown says countertops are also following the path to cleaner lines. “Most of our customers are opting for an eased edge profile combined with grey/white countertop materials, cabinetry, and tile flooring,” says Brown. “Backsplashes are predominantly white.”

Floating shelves and butcher block countertops are popular among her clients, according to Superior Custom Homes & Remodeling. “We’re seeing white, white, and more white” in cabinets she says, with backsplashes in white or neutral “greige.”

Justin Brady of Walnut Wood Works is also noticing an increased interest in floating and open shelves in the kitchen. He also reports white and light neutral cabinetry and light blue backsplashes are popular among his customers.

Supporting the view that fewer clients want upper cabinetry is Kim Elkins of Southern Honey Workshop. She adds that she’s seeing strong color accents in islands or on a portion of lower cabinets—glossy black, blues, and deep greens. “It’s a time for eclectic kitchens,” Elkins says. “It seems there are fewer rules you have to follow. You don’t even have to have all your appliances the same color.”

Today’s homeowners are seeking modern cabinetry, according to Jessica Johnson of Kole Custom Home Builders, and many favor a large working pantry to serve as a second kitchen.

“We’re seeing the kitchen become a showplace while the prep kitchen in the pantry becomes the workhorse,” says Johnson.

Erin Hurst of French’s Cabinet Gallery LLC says that white, light gray, and driftwood stained cabinetry are being paired with white, neutral gray, and taupe backsplashes. In larger homes, the trend is going back to two kitchens—the show kitchen is in the home’s main living area, and the auxiliary kitchen might be combined with a pantry/laundry room for a catering prep area.

In agreement is Yoakum who reports seeing smaller kitchens that feel more intimate. “But the pantry is becoming larger and housing most of the equipment for cooking. This keeps the kitchen feeling clean and allows the cooking area to not be seen by friends and guests,” she says.

Michelle Arnold of Parks Realty’s LCT Team says grey-tone hardwoods are a big hit in kitchens at the moment,. “Also popular are clean white cabinets and creative herringbone or subway tile backsplashes, especially in the farmhouse style kitchens,” she says

Regarding the growth of technology in kitchens, Richard Friesen of Absolute AV Consulting says he’s seeing integration of voice activated interfaces such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa into the work area “for control of lights, temperature, televisions, music, etc., as well a virtual recipe concierge.”

In agreement is Linda Stevenson of Kijiji Realty who says, “changing appliances are making kitchens more efficient and kitchens are changing as the appliances become smarter.”

Diane Chastain of Siano Appliances notes a contemporary trend in kitchens and a preponderance of stainless in kitchen hardware. The latest in appliances? Black stainless, she says.

Fudim says many of her clients opt to hide appliances in remodels or new construction to create a more custom look.

“Kitchen design in 2018 has seen a major shift in the way these spaces are being looked at and designed,” says Sebastian Bielski of Ultimate Finishes. “Kitchens are becoming more technology oriented and smarter. In addition, homeowners are choosing bolder color choices in their kitchens to showcase their personalities.” In that direction, he says backsplashes are utilizing patterns, finishes, textures, and color for an artful look.

According to Bielski, the market is turning toward contemporary design which is influencing the absence of upper cabinets, simpler design, quartz countertops, and a mix of materials and textures. He adds that he sees clients pursuing bolder colors in cabinetry, including black to replace gray. “Island cabinets are usually stained and finished to be an accent piece.”

Reporting that she sees a preference for black/slate stainless steel appliances, Rachel Rojas of Interior Creations by Rachel adds that today’s homeowners are making their kitchen spaces more personal and less traditional. “They want kitchens that fit their personalities and they aren’t worried about resale as much as function.”

Taylor says all the new sizes and types of appliances available have forced designers to expand how they think about the “work triangle. There can be extra fresh food prep areas with a second sink and undercounter refrigerator. Clients can pick how much refrigerator and freezer space they want by using separate units.”

Accessible design and universal design components are trends in new kitchen design, according to Sara Beth Warne of Aging in Place Services, LLC. “Kitchens are changing to adapt to new technologies and to consider universal design for all ages and users,” she says, pointing to smart appliances and smaller appliances for small spaces.”

Kitchens are still the heart of the home, Guilbeau says. “We’re seeing multi-purpose kitchens with large islands and seating that also serves as a great spot for doing homework, working from home, or gathering with friends for wine and cheese. We’re also seeing rustic touches throughout, including exposed beams and natural elements.”

There are a number of sources for kitchen design including:

Absolute AV Consulting LLC, Brentwood , 615/ 6565-8900

Aging In Place Services LLC, Nashville ,629/ 999-2477

Bella Tucker Decorative Finishes, Franklin, 615/ 500-1517

Beth Haley Design, Nashville, 726/ 228-3664

Builder Supply Source, Nashville, 615/ 557-5284

By George! Designs, Hendersonville, 615/ 977-4377

Cabinet Makeovers, Nashville, 615/ 331-7010

Carriage House Custom Homes & Interiors, Franklin, 615/ 224-3545

Change Magic, Spring Hill, 615/ 275-9514

Crane Builders, LLC,  Nashville,  615/ 383-0300

Crye-Leike Real Estate Services, Franklin ,310/ 701-7477

Decorating Den Interiors,  Nashville, 615/ 469-7334

Dream Kitchen & Bath,  Hendersonville, 615/ 445-0087

Elite Installation & Design Inc., Hendersonville, 615/ 668-9959

Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Clarksville ,931/ 647-0276,  Lebanon 615/ 444-2111 , Murfreesboro , 615/ 890-5599,  Nashville 615/ 385-3054

Focus Builders, Nashville, 615/ 517-5685

Ford Classic Homes & Bella Vita Interiors,  Franklin, 865/ 405-9927

French’s Cabinet Gallery LLC,  Brentwood, 615/ 371-8385

Ginny Bishop Marketing, Nashville, 678/ 616-7590

Hermitage Lighting Gallery, Nashville, 615/ 843-3310

Holmes by Design, Murfreesboro, 615/ 456-1296

Honest Abe Log Homes, Pulaski, 931/ 310-6733

Interior Creations by Rachel, Spring Hill, 630/ 631-9027

Jennifer Jones Design, Inc,. Nashville, 615/ 354-8907

Jonathan Miller Architects, Knoxville, 865/ 602-2435

,Kijiji Realty, Nashville, 615/ 506-9007

Kole Custom Home Builders, Franklin, 615/ 653-5787

Marcelle Guilbeau Interior Design, Nashville, 615/ 574-8711

OHM, Nashville ,615/ 331-9440

Prestige Marble and Granite, Columbia, 615/ 525-5051

Siano Appliances, Brentwood, 615/ 771-5666,

Southern Honey Workshop, Nashville, 615/ 668-7115

Superior Custom Homes, Brentwood, 615/ 224-9771

The Design Studio, Nashville, 615/ 662-9773

Ultimate Finishes, Brentwood, 630/ 918-9985

Walnut Wood Works, Bell Buckle, 931/ 607-9622



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