See what's in and what's out
Designing a new kitchen involves more than selecting cabinets and countertops. How the kitchen fits and functions within the home and the impacts of technology and sustainability options are as integral to a successful design as selecting the perfect color palette. To jump-start your thinking regarding the options, we’ve gathered information on the latest trends.
Designing a layout for flow and function
For many families, the kitchen is the hub of the home, so it is important to acknowledge how the space impacts adjacent rooms and traffic flow. New design features help to customize your space, including the ability to accommodate varying levels of mobility. Technology also comes to the kitchen, bringing energy saving strategies with it.
The home of the future
Current trends indicate that, by 2015, new homes will be smaller, greener and offer more casual living space. Open floor plans satisfy a desire for gathering and connecting, and these spaces transition easily for multi-purpose uses – integrating kitchen, dining and living functions.
- Dedicated rooms are now devoted to specialized needs such as office, exercise or crafts
- Transforming an existing space with the removal of a wall or other open-floor plan strategy may be preferred over significant additions
- Trends toward eco-friendly architecture are blending outdoor spaces with the overall home design
- Glass walls, sliding doors, and other transparent features open the home to "patio" or "garden" rooms
- Home management is facilitated by utilizing a service entry that features a message center with key racks, mail slots and individual lockers for each family member
Making your home accessible
It is expected that by 2015, Inclusive Design features including zero-step entries and showers, widened door and hallways, multi-level cabinets and non-slip flooring will be commonplace in the average home. These features will be very important for people who choose to “age in place,” preferring to remain at home rather than move to a nursing or retirement community, as well as for families that blend multiple generations under one roof.
What's new for today's kitchen?
Many new kitchens feature a streamlined look, with large window expanses with fewer wall cabinets.
- Open shelving is popular for those who want items within reach
- Professional-style appliances such as free-standing stainless steel gas ranges, the trend for years, are being swapped for sleek induction cook tops paired with double wall ovens
- Under-counter options are increasingly prominent, with drawers that double as refrigerators, wine storage and even a pullout microwave
- For faucets, the convenience of a pullout model is a desired feature, as are pot fillers
- Brushed nickel is the leading finish option, followed by pewter, polished chrome and oil-rubbed bronze
- French door and bottom freezer drawer refrigerator models continue to dominate the market
- Healthy living is also a strong trend, with more kitchens featuring steam ovens, induction cooking and warming drawers to keep nutritious dinners ready for active family members
Going green and integrating technology
Energy Star rated appliances are key - compare the operational cost savings that these appliances offer to traditional models for a true picture of how going green can save you money. Today’s smart home features Wi-Fi enabled appliances that relay maintenance information to both the home owner and the manufacturer and green technologies throughout the home design including low-E windows, dual flush toilets and low-flow faucets.
Select styling you'll love today...and tomorrow
Today’s style trends favor “less is more” aesthetics, emphasizing clean lines and simpler mouldings with carefully selected accents offering personalization. Common ways to accomplish this style include:
- Flat-panel, Shaker-style door treatments are a strong design theme and are easy to maintain due to their lack of ornamentation
- Granite countertops continue to be in demand and are now partnered with butcher block, stainless steel and other surfaces in a variety of thicknesses, each selected for a specific task
- Backsplashes are generally comprised of glossy ceramic, porcelain or glass tile in either subtle or bold color combinations — sometimes even a combination of both
- Natural flooring materials such as ceramic, stone, hardwood and cork are favored, along with reclaimed and distressed wood finishes in wider, hand scraped planks
Using colors to tie the kitchen to the rest of your home
Color trends are soft, moving away from stark whites in favor of creamy neutral palettes with just a hint of color such as gold, lavender, blue and green. Painted, stained and matte finishes are being used usually in earth tones including muted greens, chiffon yellows and deep blues, as well as browns, reds, blacks and grays. When selecting a color palette, look to the world around you - Mother Nature has a great eye. Be sure to integrate some of the same color tones throughout your home to have a flow from room to room, especially in open floor plan designs.