Is Your Kitchen Keeping Up?
DESIGN TRENDS FOR THE MOST COMMON UPGRADES
Our kitchens see a lot of activity every day: Besides cooking and baking, there are school projects, coffee visits with neighbors, family game nights, working remotely and the constant coming and going of little hands snatching snacks. Kitchens are truly the hub of our homes, and for that reason, they see more upgrades than perhaps any other room.
Whether you opt for a subtle hardware switch-up, a cabinet facelift or new appliances to bring your kitchen into the 21st century, you’ll find today’s trends reflect both style and function
When most homeowners start thinking about upgrading their kitchens, cabinets are at the top of the list. Simplistic designs seem to be taking over, with many people choosing painted cabinets, shaker style, with less interest in the natural wood cabinets of the past. Hiring kitchen spray painting services will help you create a different look in your kitchen.
The National Kitchen + Bath Association’s (NKBA) 2023 Design Trends report states that bold colors are gaining ground. The designers surveyed said they are seeing a rise in richer colors, mainly blues and greens, while white/off-white is still expected to remain the most popular neutral color.
Local interior designer Amy Burczyk, a project manager with L.G. Flint General Contractors in Lynchburg, said she’s still seeing some area homeowners prefer natural wood, but they are drifting away from clean, blonde-color woods to darker, richer stains. Central Virginia seems to be catching on to the national trends in bold paint colors, though, shifting from gray to dark blue and warmer taupe colors.
“Urban bronze (an earthy deep brownish-gray) is a popular choice, but we’re starting to see black and warm wood stains, and I’m very excited,” Burczyk said. “The drama you can bring to the kitchen with darker wood stains is amazing. Black is extremely dramatic and really, really neat.”
She said she reminds homeowners that black is still a neutral, and that darker, deeper colors will certainly hide more dirt. Anyone with white cabinets knows what a chore it is to keep them clean, especially for a young family or an avid cook.
Burczyk doesn’t expect whites to ever go out of style, but you can add colors in different ways.
“Whites and off-whites stand the test of time, but for a little bit of a punch, I’m seeing various colors in other parts of the kitchen, whether in a butler’s pantry or an island.”
The NKBA says areas like a coffee bar — a trend in recent years — is being upgraded with new colors. Again, greens, blues, and mixed wood grains are being used to bring that extra pop to a neutral kitchen.
If you go neutral on the cabinets, then Burczyk suggests “jewel colors,” like deep turquoise or dark blues, for walls. She also expects to see more “rich plums” and warm pink tones coming in.
“I think people are starting to say, ‘We’re done with the gray thing, now we’re going to throw some color in our lives.’”
In appliances, Burczyk said stainless steel is dominating. But more people are asking for the harder-to-find black stainless, a traditional stainless but with a protective polymer coating that creates a black matte finish.
If you’re looking for other ideas to keep your kitchen neutral but add some pops of color, try switching up your décor, selecting colorful table linens, dinnerware, artwork or mixing in colorful patterns in a tile backsplash.
Countertop cooking appliances span a wider range today than ever before. If you’ve joined the craze in air fryers, electric pressure cookers, espresso machines and countertop ice makers, you know how handy they are to have around but also how they can start to clutter your kitchen.
According to the NKBA, more homeowners are preferring kitchens with an open look and feel with features to hide clutter. Some creative solutions for tucking away smaller appliances and kitchen gadgets are decorative counter boxes (larger versions of bread boxes) and appliance garages (yes, that’s a real term for under-cabinet cubbies). In existing cabinets, some are choosing to box in the area between the upper cabinet and counter and install rolltop doors to create an appliance hideaway, fashioned after the old rolltop desk.
Other storage ideas for making your cookware more accessible include installing roll-out drawers in the lower cabinets and special roll-out racks for pot lids and spices. You don’t have to get on your hands and knees and dig to the back of the cabinet anymore!
“There’s little they haven’t thought of. You can use almost any nook and cranny of your kitchen now,” Burczyk said.
Some easy upgrades you can do yourself are inserting shelf risers in your cabinets and open shelves on your walls.
Another idea to update the style of your kitchen without doing a major overhaul is changing the backsplash. White subway tile has taken kitchens by storm, mainly because it can go with whatever colors you use throughout your kitchen. However, durability is still key — you want a wipe-away surface for all those grease and water splashes. Burczyk said some homeowners are even installing vinyl tiles made specifically for kitchen backsplashes, which are as durable as today’s vinyl flooring and easier to keep clean than tile and grout. Some are even peel-and-stick, do-it-yourself jobs.
She said she’s also seeing more solid surface countertop backs (like quartz) to keep those splashes away from the walls. (Click here to see our article on countertops)
Other upgrades making their rounds are single basin sinks (especially useful for cleaning large pots and pans) and hands-free faucets. Burczyk said she’s getting requests for touchless faucets for almost every job she does. The faucets can either be equipped with smart sensors or turn on with the touch of an arm, proving especially useful when both of your hands are messy. The touchless faucets keep germs from spreading but also conserve water. Most of today’s models come with a pull-down sprayer. If you need help installing new faucets and other plumbing fixtures, you may consider hiring a professional plumber. Professional plumbers can also help with Emergency Residential Sewer Cleaning services if you need help with that.
Burczyk said popular finishes are black and brushed brass, with chrome starting to make a resurgence.
It’s hard to know how many upgrades it will take to bring our kitchen up to speed and meet all of our needs. But Burczyk suggests using a “whole kitchen perspective” versus just choosing to make an appliance upgrade.
“It’s called ‘economy of scale.’ You need to ask yourself if you will be happy with just a couple of upgrades, or in the end you may wish you had gone big with it. When people get to the point of changing out all the appliances, for example, they’ve probably had them long enough to update the cabinets, too.”
And with so much of our time spent in the kitchen, Burczyk said the main idea when considering small upgrades or a large-scale remodel is to make sure you love your space and that it works for you. Trends will come and go, and today’s popular designs may not match your family’s style in feel and functionality.
She calls this “being authentic.”
“Since COVID, we’ve learned to spend more time at home, and the kitchen has become that family space again. We’re cooking food, playing games, doing homework. You need to have a place to make your own. Colors trend in and out, but today, just about anything goes — you really need to put your own stamp on your house.” ✦
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