FROM COUNTERTOPS TO TILE, the latest trends in kitchen design are constantly evolving.
For some insight, we spoke with Courtney Hengst, a design specialist with Zuern Building Products and Design Center, about the most popular looks in the industry right now. She shared five key insights that are perfect for your next remodel.
Mixing Things Up
Not all cabinetry need to be adhere to the same look. Hengst sees customers applying different finishes and paints to different sections of cabinets. Most often, customers will go with a lighter color on their upper cabinets and darker on their lower cabinets, like stained wood, to soften the look. “You have to have the right space for that,” she says. “In smaller spaces, I don’t recommend it, but in medium to larger-size kitchens, you can incorporate two different types of cabinetry.” If you have a kitchen island, Hengst says, using a dark-tone or finished wood on those low-level cabinets creates a striking contrast with the rest of the kitchen.
“People are embracing warmer, darker, moodier tones,” Hengst says. “We’re getting away from cool gray tones and bringing in a lot more neutral browns and taupe into kitchen spaces. Wood is great for that.” Hengst uses stained wood to achieve that warmer look, with the added bonus that stained wood is sturdy and maintains its look for years, as opposed to paint. When it comes to choosing the right wood, hickory and quarter-sawn white oak are increasingly on trend. “For a while, the popular look was no grain, absolutely smooth and flat – maple was popular for that,” Hengst says. “Now people are getting back into those woods like hickory that bring in a grain without being a traditional oak like people used to have.”
Setting the Gold Standard
For fixtures, faucets and handles, gold is leading the way. The bright accents, when paired with a dark cabinetry, provide a contrast that elevates the design. “I think it goes along with the idea of warmth,” Hengst says. “A silver really cools the look down, but gold warms it up.” As a darker alternative to gold, Hengst suggests flat black or oil-rubbed bronze fixtures, which she says have proven equally as popular in recent years.
Paint it Black (Or At Least Dark Gray)
“There’s been a huge push recently for dark counters,” Hengst says. The most popular look in dark counters has been soapstone, or a soapstone-like look achieved with quartz. Quartz is a low maintenance and high-reliability countertop, and with a honed or matte finish they look great under direct overhead light. “A lot of homeowners really like to use the same stone countertop as their kitchen backsplash,” Hengst says. “It continues the element in the space with a smooth feel.”
A Pop of Color in the Right Place
When it comes to bold choices and unconventional colors, Hengst is cautious. Cabinetry, countertops and flooring all require effort and cost to replace, and that purple pattern you love now may not look so good in two years. So as more buyers look to incorporate bold color choices, Hengst directs them to less permanent flourishes, such as curtains, rugs, stools and cushions. For less bold colors that are currently trending, she usually turns to Cambria countertops latest lineup. “Cambria comes out with new products based on color trends,” she says. “Right now, you’re seeing a lot of green. Before that, it was all navy blues.”