The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) released its 2019 Kitchen Design Trends report. The report coincided with its annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), celebrating the best in kitchen and bathroom design trends.
The report and the show reveal the most popular styles and features. They also provide indicators of what’s trending for the next three years. This includes information gleaned from professional designers, dealers, specialists, manufacturers, remodelers, general contractors and architects.
Freshome asked Elle H-Millard, Certified Kitchen Designer and Industry Relations Manager at the NKBA, for photos from the designers, and insights regarding the key U.S. kitchen design trends.
The most popular kitchen design styles
“Transitional kitchens have dominated kitchen design and 65% of respondents said they were the most-often preferred kitchen style,” says H-Millard. “That makes them more than twice as popular as traditional, contemporary or farmhouse kitchen styles.” She expects transitional kitchens to remain popular for a while.
Regarding island size, H-Millard says medium- and large-sized islands were tied for first place. “Small and extra-small islands are not popular, and not having an island at all doesn’t appear to be an option, garnering only 2% of the vote.” Also, L-shaped kitchen layouts were three times as popular as the second choice, U-shaped layouts.
Another trend is mixing metals. “Wood and quartz are being combined to create a seamless look from the kitchen to the island to the living/family room space,” H-Millard says. “And, in order to achieve that seamlessness, appliances are hidden, messes are out of sight and there is a cleanliness/minimalist feel to the space.”
Above is an example of hiding major appliances and combining wood and stone to blend in and create an extension of living spaces. “This is not your mother’s kitchen,” H-Millard explains.
Cabinets and appliances
White appliances are popular, as well as black stainless and brightly colored appliances. Other trends include alternate sizing/placement (undercabinet/drawer dishwashers and narrow fridges, for example), refrigerator columns allowing for flexibility in spreading out cold zones, and microwave drawers.
Designers and homeowners are also mixing cabinet colors and finishes. “For example, they’re mixing two or three cabinet colors and/or styles: one for base cabinets, another for the island and still another for upper cabinets.”
Another trend is creating contrast by mixing dark countertops with light cabinets and vice versa.
Countertop and storage space
Whether you think the kitchen work triangle is an outdated design rule or not, space and functionality are always issues that designers have to tackle. “When you walk into the kitchen with a bag of groceries, you need somewhere to put them,” H-Millard explains. “These spaces are designed so you have a place for your groceries when you walk through the door.”
Open shelving is used as a way to display both curated collectibles as well as utilitarian dishes. Shelves may be wood, metal or glass and tend to be floating.
Above are examples of custom storage. “We’re seeing contemporary European-style cabinets with hidden handles and LED/interior lighting,” H-Millard says. “In addition, cabinets include vertical-lift doors in wall cabinets and motorized opening and closing with the touch of a button or knee activation.”
Backsplashes, countertops and lighting
Backsplashes are getting taller and taking up the entire wall. Long, narrow rectangular tile, subway tile, and small tile/mosaic backsplashes provide visual impact. “Also, regarding countertops, matte finishes and new materials like large-format porcelain slabs are popular.” H-Millard says there has also been a resurgence of laminate, soapstone and Corian. “Concrete looks, quartzite, a high level of texture and exotic granites with a lot of movement are trending.” And she says there are changes in thickness and color options.
Kitchen lighting is more modern with more options, too. “Improvements in LED technology include better color rendering and the ability to dim,” H-Millard says. Other trends include integrated LED fixtures and LED strips for all kinds of applications.
Should you use hardwood floors in kitchens? It appears that debate has been settled. Hardwood or engineered wood plank were popular in many of the winning kitchen designs. Other popular options include large-format ceramic, porcelain and stone tile.
Innovations continue to make life in the kitchen much easier. Above, GE’s Café French door refrigerator has a Keurig K-Cup single cup brewer. With the cooktop shown in the photo on the right, GE’s Café app allows users to automatically adjust the pan temperature and monitor cook time as they proceed through each recipe step. Also, by selecting the Control Mode feature, the burners are set to the best temperature for whatever is being cooked.
Regarding the latest faucet trends, stainless steel continues to be the most popular kitchen sink material. Other trends include pull-down kitchen and bar prep faucets and faucets that are touch or motion controlled. Pot fillers are also trendy. Delta’s Broderick Kitchen Collection, for example, features a pull-down bridge faucet. The ShieldSpray technology uses a concentrated jet within a protective sphere of water. This powers away stubborn messes but results in 90% less splatter compared to a standard spray.