Kitchen Trends

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What’s new in kitchens for 2018?  Well, while we’ve seen one shelter magazine (not naming names) crying for ultra-violet cabinetry, we’ve been doing some serious research. All indications are that although classic kitchen looks are firmly in place — white kitchens, wood floors, and Shaker style cabinets still going strong — the signs of change are all moving in one direction.

The overall trend to watch is an ever-increasing simplicity and streamlining of design.  Eat-in and open-plan kitchens are on most wish lists, with clutter-free worktops running close behind. Smart technology? Bring it on. As kitchens become more than ever a place to hang out and decompress, the busy-ness of wallpaper, curtains and faux finishes feel dated. A sleeker, modern, and especially, a more neutral aesthetic has taken its place.  

On the other hand, who wants their kitchen to look like a Crate & Barrel catalog?  

Neutral doesn’t have to be boring.  The best kitchens manage to work in one high voltage item – a statement-making stone countertop, a brass faucet, a farmhouse sink. There can be tons of personality in the materials themselves, whether it’s concrete or stone, metal or glass.

Quartz has become a popular replacement for granite and marble, mainly because it requires less upkeep with just as much natural beauty. Tiles, lighting and hardware all have a role to play.  Texture is a good replacement for color in the kitchen. Within the scope of neutral, there’s lots of room for the quirks of personal style, and the realities of budgets.

To show you specifically what we mean, we’ve pulled together our favorite kitchen trends for 2018, along with some beautiful inspirational images.  If you’re looking for new ideas — and who isn’t? — here are the important ones to keep an eye on.

Waterfall countertops

They’ve been gaining traction for a few years, but in 2018 the clean lines and dramatic drop of waterfall countertops are moving to the top of every kitchen’s most-wanted list. Nothing shows off the beauty of countertop materials more than a long expanse of stone, quartz, wood or metal as it tumbles over the edge  (a mitered edge looks better than a pieced edge). The waterfall is a pricy upgrade, but if you are going to spring for one bling item, this should be it.

Built-In Sinks

These are sinks with the same composition as the countertop. Particularly effective when executed in stone, integrated sinks, like waterfall countertops, showcase the materials and create a sleek, unified look. And with no joinery or crevices at the sink rim, they’re super-easy to clean. It hardly needs to be said that you want to avoid unusual color and shape choices on this item (like the pink seashell porcelain in your grandparents’ bathroom).

Flat front cabinetry

A sleek option for people who crave simplicity, fewer details and a modern look in their kitchen. Always popular in Europe, the vogue for flat front, or slab, cabinets comes and goes in the U.S.  People with traditional or country style homes may find that cabinetry with a bit more detail is a better fit.  Flat front cabinets come in a wider range of materials and colors than raised panel doors. They are also cheaper, easier to clean, and create a more streamlined space — especially when combined with the next item on the list.

Integrated appliances

After decades of showing off their name brands and gleaming steel doors, appliances are going under cover, hiding beneath panels that blend into the cabinetry. Expensive, but unbeatable for achieving a cohesive and finished look.

Ceiling treatments

This trend is mainly of interest if you’re starting a kitchen from scratch. You can also disregard it if you happen to have hand-hewn oak beams already in place. But kitchen designers are looking up this year, suggesting beams, detailed moldings and coffers that echo the shape of the island.

Statement lighting

Recessed lighting always belongs in the kitchen.  Discreet LED fixtures can spotlight islands, light work areas and provide a soft glow. But increasingly, eye-catching industrial fixtures or modern, airy chandeliers are being used to add drama and warmth.

Banquette Seating

Recent iterations of built-in ‘banquette’ seating are less padded and more architectural then their 80’s counterparts. They can create an eat-in kitchen out of a blank wall, and are genius at making a kitchen feel welcoming. It looks more contemporary when done on just one or two walls, and balanced with chairs or a bench.  Choose a neutral fabric, and go easy on the throw pillows. 

Black Accents

A nice change from the all-white aesthetic, a black wall, backsplash or painted accent piece can anchor the room, adding dimension and providing some contrast. Dark blue, charcoal, or red can do the same. Pick up the black, or color, in more than one place, so it doesn’t look random.  

Brass Hardware

Copper is the metal of the moment, but burnished brass just looks better and will be around longer. It’s not an ultra-contemporary look, but in many kitchens, the appeal of a matte brass kitchen faucet with a stone countertop can make up for a lot of cost-cutting elsewhere.

Color and Texture

A jute rug adds instant texture – although not under the table where it will be sure to catch crumbs and spills. A touch of color in an unexpected place can be fun. Paint the space between your cabinets and ceiling a bright color, and leave the rest neutral. Create a wall grouping of blue and white china. It will make your sleek kitchen more personal.

A Few More Trending

  • Smaller range hoods: built-in or boxed-in rather than big and decorative
  • Few or no upper cabinets: works only if you have a very big kitchen, but looks amazing
  • Square tile: back from the 80’s, but more polished, and in way better colors
  • Single level islands: more functional and sleeker than the bi-level islands popular just a few minutes ago.
  • Undercounter microwaves: a no brainer. Let the kids can heat up their own mac and cheese!

And A Few Trending The Other Way (Formerly Known as Out)

  • Bamboo flooring:  It’s inexpensive, but also very susceptible to damage, comes in a limited color range, and turns out to be not so totally eco friendly after all.
  • Kitchen desks: Convenient as they are, they tend to be a catch-all for the kind of clutter we’re trying to avoid. Hide the desk behind a half wall, or build it just around the corner if you can.
  • Open shelving: It never looks quite as sleek as it does in magazines, and like the desk, tends to accumulate stuff.



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