9 Kitchen Design Trends That Are Worth Every Penny

The kitchen is arguably the most important room in the home, and it’s condition carries massive weight in terms of resale value.

So, if you haven’t locked in on your particular design style and don’t have a firm understanding of how your design choices work with the vernacular of your home as well as the potential buyers’ market, chasing kitchen trends could be time-consuming and expensive–especially if you have to do a total renovation every time the trend pendulum swings.

That’s why making sure your kitchen selections are “on trend” isn’t enough.

Without understand trends within context, you could fall into the trap of choosing elements that are too trendy–and this could ultimately hurt your bottom line!

This month, thousands of design professionals, distributors and manufacturers descended upon Orlando for the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS).

KBIS is the largest kitchen and bath show in the country where industry designers get their first look at the innovative new products we can use in our clients’ kitchen and bath design projects.

The three-day event is also a good place to spot recurring themes that we believe are “trends” to watch.

Gorgeous, brass embellished kitchen island found in the Thermador booth

If you follow me or other designers on Instagram, you’ve likely seen tons of gorgeous photos of new products and hints at our predictions of the big trends for this year.

While trend spotting is an important part of our job as design professionals, where we bring the most value to our clients is in our knowledge of which trends have staying power and which trends make the most sense for our clients.

Although kitchen trends shift and change each year with the introduction of new products, “it” colors and backsplash/hardware/lighting eye-candy, my recommendation to anyone embarking on a custom home build or kitchen renovation project is to carefully consider which investments are the right ones for your space and for the long run.

Fabuwood vignette blends warm wood finishes with brass detailing

So today, instead of writing a typical “trend report,” I’m going sift through the huge inspiration overload (and the hundreds of photos I took with my iPhone) to share with you the current trends that I believe are smart investments.

Here are nine 2018 kitchen design trends that are worth every penny because they will stand the test of time.


TREND #1: INTEGRATED LED LIGHTING


LED lighting takes this WilsonArt kitchen vignette to the next level

“Aging-in-place” is a term that has gained a lot of buzz in the interior design industry.

Essentially this means, designing spaces thoughtfully so that as the occupant changes life stages (or takes on the care of an elderly or disabled loved one) the home rises to the occasion to support the needs of that person.

Features like wider door ways, barrier-free curbless showers, and within-reach storage options fall within the scope of these design considerations.

Optimal ambient and task lighting, particularly integrated LED lighting, is ideal not only for aging-in-place, but really for all homes.

Task Lighting shows how LED lighting can enhance the kitchen island

Close up of the LED lighting strip on the top of the Task Lighting kitchen countertop

Why is this trend such a good investment?

Not only does it add to the visual appeal of the space, for practical purposes this feature makes SEEING things like clothes in a closet of the food prep area in a kitchen much easier.

It’s also an element you can add post-construction, so if you’re not planning a major kitchen renovation, there are some companies that have products that you can retrofit to current cabinetry, etc.


TREND #2: MOLDING EMBELLISHMENTS AND ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS


In many cases, “spec” homes lack the architectural details that really make and interior space shine.

Crown molding, baseboard, fireplace surrounds and window mullions are just a few of the details that make the difference between a “cookie-cutter” home versus one that feels like it was custom-built and tailored to your tastes.

Furniture-like detailing on cabinets found in the Fabuwood booth

Since trim molding is relatively inexpensive it packs a whopper of a return on investment, and with so many styles and options, the creative possibilities are endless!

Consider using this design element in the traditional areas mentioned above, but also as embellishments on cabinetry or to create a focal point on a wall or ceiling!

Architectural embellishments and molding details by Art For Everyday Living


TREND #3: LIVING FINISHES


For decades, chrome and nickel finishes have been the standard in kitchen and bathroom fixture finishes.

A few years ago, un-lacquered brass/gold tones became all the rage, partly because of the beauty and warmth this tone adds to a space but also because brass is a more livable–read that as FORGIVABLE–finish!

I believe we’ll continue to see brass trend for a while.

Beautiful brass pot filler by Brizo

The term “living finish” refers to the natural patina that develops over time. The color and characteristics of the finish evolve as the home evolves meaning the fixture itself isn’t intended to look brand new forever!

Have no fear, though! If you DO want the brand new look, it’s as simple as using a bit of polish and elbow grease to bring the fixture its original glory!

Stunning brushed bronze Monolith unit by Liebherr

Copper is another living finish that has gained in popularity as is clear by the number of introductions we saw in this finish at this year’s show.

Stunning, copper, hand-crafted sink by Thompson Traders


TREND #4: OPEN SHELVING


So we’ve all seen tons of pictures of kitchens featuring open shelving.

Why is this trend so popular?

For one, choosing this option saves money in your cabinet budget line item because you don’t have to pay for as many upper cabinets.

Clean and contemporary take on the open shelf found in the Dacor booth

However, let’s be real for a moment.

This look works best with minimal styling and a homeowner who leans toward tidiness!

Also, be careful to note how this choice affects the amount of usable storage space you have near the food prep and cooking areas.

If you choose to incorporate this design element, ask yourself a few questions first.

Are the shelves deep enough for full-sized dinner plates? If not, where do you plan to store them?


TREND #5: GLASS FRONT CABINET DOORS


If you like the open, airy look, glass front cabinet doors is more sophisticated option to consider.

Classic white kitchen with glass-front cabinets by Fabuwood

This look is especially stunning when it is combined with trend #1!

Another well-styled vignette by Fabuwood


TREND #6: STYLISH HARDWARE


Cabinet hardware has become the eye-candy of the kitchen.

It’s an easy element to change out, and there are so many more finish, size and style options than there were years ago!

New collections from Top Knobs

Hardware manufacturers are tapping artisans, designers and even celebrities to create pieces that take this important design element to a whole new level!

New Heron Collection by Belwith Keeler

Another reason this particular trend is worth the money is because it also helps with the need for instant gratification–especially if you don’t have the money for a full kitchen renovation.

Weekend warriors can change the cabinet color and hardware for a quick, and easy refresh!


TREND #7: SMARTHOME FEATURES


The futuristic “Puddy” vent hood by Best available in any Pantone color

Remember the movie Back To The Future 2 starring Michael J Fox?

Remember the scene when Michael’s character, Marty McFly, eaves drops on his future family as they cook dinner?

Frozen pizza ready in seconds, fresh fruit picked from the in-kitchen garden, voice activated appliances…well, we’re not quite there yet, but we’re closer than ever before!

Zephyr Wave vent hood looks deceptively like a TV

Wi-fi enabled, voice activated, touch screen, smart phone connectivity…these are just a few of the features that are now standard in kitchen appliances.

New restaurant-grade Perlick range features built-in, temperature controlled sous vide 


TREND #8: BLACK & WHITE


Black is timeless and, when done right, considered a neutral.

As transitional and contemporary design continues to grow in popularity, so has the number of available fixtures and finishes that fit those styles.

Black and white finishes fit right in with this Brizo collection

This year, we’re seeing manufacturers offer more of their core silhouettes and new collections in matte black, black stainless steel and crisp white finishes.

While black finishes can bridge the spectrum from traditional to transitional and certainly contemporary spaces, white seems best suited for contemporary and modern-leaning spaces.


TREND #9: SMART STORAGE SOLUTIONS


Space is a premium especially in the kitchen.

A well designed space is not only beautiful but built around the ideal working conditions for the resident cook.

Colorful, space-maximizing cabinet organization found in the Liebherr booth

Properly placed storage is always an important consideration, and to maximize every square inch of storage space companies are developing new and creative cabinet components and accessories.

Another pull-out organization in the Liebherr kitchen vignette


Keeping up with the trends is a good thing to do especially if you understand how to use that information effectively.

If you’re looking to build a custom home or renovate your kitchen soon, incorporate trends strategically and invest wisely!

View trend alerts through the lens of understanding how new color palettes, product introductions and new features fit within the broader historical context of design.

Now, I would love to hear from YOU!

Leave a comment letting me know if you will be bringing any of these trends into YOUR home.

P.S. If you found this post informative please SHARE it with all of your friends on social media!

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Author: Arianne Bellizaire

Interior designer, blogger, and public speaker Arianne Bellizaire creates spaces that are beautiful yet highly functional for her clients. She served as one of only nine 2015 High Point Market Authority Style Spotters, and she has been featured in Rue Magazine, House Beautiful Online, GoodHousekeeping, EditorAtLarge, U.S. News & World Report, Roomhints, About.com, USA Today, and MyFitItUpLife!

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