Clean, clean, clean. Sleek, uncluttered, peaceful and open. Those are the adjectives that best describe the trends in kitchen design these days. And did I mention clean?
The clean and open look, which has been gathering steam for many years, is now going as far as sacrificing cabinet storage for new windows that offer views of nature and give household chefs a feeling of peaceful relief. That single window over the sink? No more. Homeowners tell us that they want sunlight and more sunlight.
“Our clients want their kitchens to be centerpieces in their open layouts. They ask us to take down walls between rooms so that when the chef is hard at work in the kitchen, they don’t feel isolated,” says Richard Dickson
That’s not to say that storage isn’t important. More than half of homeowners believe that adequate storage is the most important feature in the kitchen. So if we’re removing cabinets in favor of windows, where do we find storage? One growing trend is to build separate walk in pantries, which can hold much more dry goods, appliances and kitchenware than cramped cabinets.
Creating Storage in Creative Ways
Another popular place to hide storage is under the ever-growing kitchen island. In addition to cabinetry, homeowners are also placing microwave ovens and even second refrigerators under the kitchen island.Particularly popular are refrigerated drawers that can be installed next to the sink in an island. Why? You can keep items like fresh produce within easy reach of the sink while saving space in the main refrigerator.
Hiding that microwave is particularly important for the vast majority of people who are trying to keep their counters as uncluttered as humanly possible. And the ever-important electrical outlets and charging stations tend to be recessed or otherwise hidden. Many homeowners today are subtly planting home assistants from Amazon or Google to go along with their voice-controlled appliances.
Quartz vs. Granite: And the Winner Is?
Speaking of those countertops, homeowners today want a sleek, engineered look. And while granite is still popular, increasingly owners are turning to engineered quartz, which is impervious to bacteria and germs and unlikely to be stained by oil, tomatoes, coffee and other common kitchen items. Most importantly, engineered quartz comes in a richer range of color options than can be found in natural stone, including bright greens, blues and yellows.
But even though they can get those richer colors, homeowners tend to be sticking with the white or grey kitchen, particularly for backsplashes, countertops and wall finishes. Some designers are even recommending the same materials for the countertops and the backsplash for an even more minimalist and cleaner aesthetic.
Standing out amongst all the white is jewel-like cabinet hardware that needs to be as functional as it beautiful. Some popular finishes are chrome, polished chrome, nickel, matte stain nickel, lacquered aluminum, gold and coffee. Bright colored cabinetry and warm wood finishes are also emerging as new trends.
Everything Minimalist … Except the Kitchen Sink
Those finishings, however, do not seem to be transitioning to the sink, where most people still prefer a large under-mounted single bowl in stainless steel. While the farm house sink is still somewhat popular, the stainless steel bowl wins the day, particularly since some manufacturers are adding on items such as fitted cutting boards, drying racks and a bottom grid.
Today’s kitchen has emerged as the center of activity in many homes. At the center of many new kitchens is a large island where people gather, prepare food and eat. Many homeowners are even eliminating a traditional kitchen table completely. This is a significant shift in the way we live, and in the way we design kitchens.