“Blue is the most repeated color we’re seeing in kitchens, and it crops up in many styles of kitchens,” says Elle H-Millard, industry relations manager for the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA).
Recent surveys, including the 2019 Kitchen Design Trends report from the NKBA and the 2019 Kitchen Trends study from the Houzz website, reveal subtle and not-so-subtle shifts in kitchen designs, including the new appetite for color.
Here are 10 kitchen trends for 2019:
1. Colorful cabinets and appliances: Painted cabinets, including the base of a center island, are brightening more kitchens today, as are appliances with bright exteriors. “Colorful cabinets or pops of color are very much in for kitchen design,” says Allie Mann, a senior designer-interiors specialist with Case Design/Remodeling in Falls Church, Va.
“While shades of blue remain a popular go-to color, we’re starting to see more and more green accents gaining interest,” she added. “When clients consider bringing in color with appliances or cabinetry, they want to tie into another element such as the tile backsplash or window treatments to add continuity to the design.”
Black stainless-steel — while not as colorful as an emerald-green refrigerator — now appears in 1 of every 10 upgraded kitchens, according to the Houzz survey, representing a move away from the ubiquitous traditional stainless-steel appliances.
2. Transitional and contemporary styles: The top three styles anticipated to be trendy for kitchens over the next three years are transitional, contemporary and farmhouse, according to the NKBA. Transitional style includes natural light, light-colored smooth cabinets, lots of drawers and integrated storage, while contemporary kitchens are more minimalistic.
“Transitional kitchens are particularly popular with baby boomers who are trying to be edgy but aren’t quite there,” H-Millard says.
While the top two kitchen styles are anticipated to be popular by 88 and 80 percent of those surveyed, farmhouse style comes in at a distant third with just 55 percent of those surveyed expecting it to be popular.
3. High-tech features: The top three tech innovations anticipated to dominate kitchens over the next three years include mobile-device accommodations, such as the ability to control appliances with your smartphone; voice-enabled home automation platforms; and safety technology that alerts a cellphone of an undesirable situation.
While refrigerators that provide inventory updates are available, they are far down the list of technology anticipated to be widely adopted in the next few years. More common items already adopted by homeowners include faucets, induction cooktops, and steam and convection ovens.
More than half (57 percent) of upgraded faucets are high-tech with water conservation features, no-fingerprint coating and touch-free activation, according to Houzz.
4. Quartz and white counters top the charts: Engineered quartz surpassed all natural stone materials for counters combined (48 percent to 43 percent), according to Houzz, and just 30 percent of homeowners opted for new granite counters in 2018. White counters were the choice of 31 percent of homeowners, up from 27 percent the previous year.
5. Engineered floors making headway: While hardwood floors are popular throughout the house, in the 2019 Houzz survey, just 24 percent of homeowners chose to install it in the kitchen.
Engineered flooring, such as engineered wood, vinyl and laminate, was the choice for 40 percent of homeowners. Industrial-style kitchens, anticipated to be popular in the next three years by 50 percent of designers, often have stained concrete floors.
6. Mismatched metal finishes for handles and fixtures: More than half (54 percent) of homeowners mix metal finishes in their hardware and fixtures in the kitchen, according to Houzz, such as nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, and brushed or satin black. Mixing metals is particularly popular in industrial-style kitchens.
7. Expanded kitchen islands with storage: While kitchen islands aren’t new, island sizes have increased over time. According to the NKBA study of 2019 kitchen trends, just 2 percent of designers surveyed created a kitchen without a center island in the past year.
The majority of kitchen islands (88 percent) range from 12 to 35 square feet, evenly split between islands that are 12 to 23 square feet and ones that are 24 to 35 square feet.
The waterfall-edge, which extends the island counter down the sides to the floor, is anticipated to remain popular in the next three years, says H-Millard, and is part of the growth in size of islands.
“Everyone wants a lot of natural light and big windows in their kitchen, but that means some of the upper cabinets are going away,” says Lita Dirks, owner of Lita Dirks & Co., a model home merchandising company in Greenwood Village, Colo. “One way to replace that missing storage is in the kitchen island. Islands are getting bigger all the time and have more storage now, too.”
8. Minimalist kitchens: People want a clean, clutter-free kitchen, so appliances like blenders and mixers are being placed in hidden yet accessible cabinets and drawers, Dirks says. Appliance lifts can be built into kitchen cabinets to make it easier to access small but heavy appliances such as mixers and blenders.
In addition, pantries and large appliances are hidden behind panels that mimic adjacent cabinets for a sleek look, she says. New appliances on display at the New American Remodel exhibit house at the 2019 International Builders Show are completely handle-less for a sleek look.
Refrigerators and dishwashers can be built into cabinets that completely disguise their function, and some look more like a dresser drawer or a dining room credenza than an appliance.
9. Secondary spaces for kitchen functions: Now that open kitchens have become the space for entertaining and gathering with the family, some homeowners want to reduce the clutter and move some activities out of the kitchen. Adding a “messy kitchen” space for prep work off the main kitchen or increasing the functions of a wet bar or butler’s pantry keeps the kitchen cleaner.
“Butler’s pantries with additional appliances, such as built-in coffee makers, microwaves and wine fridges, help to create separate areas dedicated to a specific task, away from the main kitchen traffic,” says Elena Eskandari, a designer-interiors specialist with Case Design/Remodeling.
10. New configurations for appliances: Among the most interesting new trends identified by designers in the NKBA survey are appliance options that change the way kitchens are configured.
For example, instead of a 30-to-36-inch-wide refrigerator, homeowners can install several customized refrigerator and freezer drawers and columns for greater flexibility in the layout. Dishwashers and microwaves can also be configured as drawers that can be installed in different locations.
Personalization is the buzzword for new home construction and remodeling projects, so feel free to convert these kitchen trends into whatever style and form meets your needs and budget.