As French chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud said, “Kitchens should be designed according to what really matters – fun, food and life.”
Kitchens may not now be at the center of everything they did during the early days of the pandemic. But even if you spend more time away, you will likely become more connected and more invested in the kitchen than you were in 2019.
Some new features in kitchen design and equipment:
For a few years now, a drab all-white kitchen has been popular, with an Instagram feed filled with white and cream cabinets and pale woods. It looked clean, like it meant business—a culinary clinic, if you will, and a far cry from the mid-2000s collection of cherry cabinets and granite counters.
But there is a shift. Standard nickel-plated appliances in a white kitchen can now be replaced with matte black and brass, or knobs and faucets in bright colors.
Eggs become creamier and less cold. You’ll see woods, vegetable leather, and straw as textured elements to warm things up.
says Bob Beaks, co-founder and chief design officer for Bakes & Kropp, a custom kitchen and cabinetry design firm in New York City.
He’s recently used a sky blue, stone gray, and red called geranium in kitchen projects, and a glossy black in a butler’s pantry.
Betty Brandolino, founder and creative director of Fresh Twist Studio in Elmhurst, Illinois, sees a similar move toward color. “White isn’t outside, but we’re doing islands in painted or natural wood instead of an all-white kitchen,” she says.
Some customers order entire kitchens with painted cabinets, and she says, “Green was the color of choice, from sage to olive to a brighter green.”
“I’m excited to see that people are becoming more experienced with their design choices, from mixing metals to incorporating a variety of textures,” Backs says.
Lighting is one way to bring personality and modernity to kitchens. Hanging box lights are still with us, but now there’s plenty of great lighting too: a row of pendants or oversized fixtures atop an island, for example.
While subway tile still dominates backlines, some are tweaking how it’s used. “For example, apply them in unexpected patterns like portrait instead of horizontal, and stacked instead of staggered,” Erin Davis, a designer in Portland, Oregon, noted on real estate platform Homelight,
Large sections of ceramic tiles are also popular. New technology has allowed manufacturers to make slabs that are large, but thinner and lighter that are easier to work with. And fewer grout lines means easy cleaning.
Personalize the backsplash with textured and patterned tiles; There are florals, geometry, metallic, and wall tiles that make up the artistic backdrop. And you don’t need to buy a lot—create a feature wall on the back of an island, around a desk corner, or overlap custom art tiles with regular ones. Some designers carry tiles from the wall down across the floor for an eye-catching look.
Open plan, closed pans
The pandemic has made us pick sides when it comes to kitchen layouts. Either you adopted an open plan, where everyone could interact easily, or you were grateful for your kitchen in the locked room, where some could cook without disturbing others who were studying or on Zoom calls.
“We continue to see a desire for open floor plans,” says Bakes. “I don’t think the need to separate the kitchen is coming back yet.”
But there are modifications to the open plan. One example is the butler’s pantries – a space attached to the main kitchen where clutter can be made and equipment stored.
“We design more hidden storage for appliances like toaster ovens, blenders, and add-on dishes,” Brandolino notes. “This also allows us to incorporate more open shelving and fewer upper cabinets, a trend we’ll see more of next year.”
The streamlined islands are an inviting look, says Mary Meydan, director of Meydan Architects in Palo Alto, California.
“It’s not a new trend, but it has become more elegant. New technologies and appliances are enabling us to design islands that look exceptionally clean and elegant. With this new appliance, we can have large doors that conceal parts of the kitchen such as tables, appliances and even the kitchen island seating. The look is continuous and homogeneous.” ”
The Kitchen Trends 2022 report indicated that homeowners were willing to splurge on their countertops, with quartz and porcelain expected to be the materials of choice. Engineered quartz combines natural stone and resins to create a strong, impact-resistant material. Porcelain cannot be scratched, burned, or discolored. Both can be made to imitate marble, granite, onyx, and other stones.
We see lighter woods such as oak, maple, dark walnut and even plywood, used as complete cabinetry and as accents. Particularly new are the finishes (mostly matte) and the combination of materials: wood with painted glass, polished metal, ceramic.
New York designer Leyden Lewis paired elegant lacquered backsplashes with reclaimed rustic wood floors in a Manhattan kitchen countertop. Studio INC Design installed an all-steel kitchen cabinet range from Poliform in their Tribeca apartment, then softened the look with marble countertops.
Technology continues to move into the kitchen. For example, Samsung’s Family Hub puts a five-screen smart display in the refrigerator. There is a cooking screen for shopping lists and recipes, an entertainment screen, a smart home screen, a digital calendar/pin board and a single screen that you can customize.
LG’s Instaview feature lets you tap on the refrigerator door to see what’s inside.
Small appliances that support applications include slow cookers, mixers, and countertop ovens.
Motion-sensitive touchless faucets have been on the market for a few years now. If you want to score even higher, there are “smart” taps too.
With a Delta sound-activated faucet, for example, you can turn it on and fill it with a certain amount. Kohler’s voice-activated faucets are linked to an app that also monitors water usage and lets you know if you’ve left the taps running.
“You have to look at it with a little bit of humor,” says Maidan. “You consult with the tap about the temperature of the water and you discuss the ingredients of the food with the refrigerator. You sure have company when cooking in today’s kitchen!”