COLOR: Say it with us: monochromatic. The trendiest kitchens feature cabinetry and walls in the same hue, says Matthew Quinn, principal of Design Galleria in Atlanta.
COUNTERS: For a pop of color, Quinn relies on contrasting countertops in engineered stone, such as quartz (low maintenance? check!). But if you want a kitchen countertop the neighbors will talk about, go for porcelain or ceramic slab, says Jamie Gold, principal of San Diego’s Jamie Gold Kitchen and Bath Design. Both have all the durability and convenience of engineered stone, but they can also be used in your (future) outdoor kitchen.
CABINETS: What to put around those counters? Cabinets in white, ebony or deep walnut, particularly with a contrasting countertop. Or introduce some breathing room via open shelving, says Brielle Ferreira, homes editor for Coastal Living. “When you have bright, colorful plates that you want to show off, [open shelving] really adds something casual and fresh to the kitchen,” she says.
Now let’s talk eye candy: faucet finishes. Thanks to the rise of retro kitchens, chrome is enjoying its time in the sun. But bronze, which looks good (and knows it) in a variety of design environments, is nipping at chrome’s heels. Planning an of-the-moment black-and-white kitchen but frazzled about the faucet? Check out Delta’s Fuse™ two-tone faucets and thank us later. Oh, and remember, a faucet without a matching soap dispenser is like a beautiful woman without earrings.
Stainless steel and granite-composite sinks are filling the fashion bill, although apron-front farmhouse sinks, with their nostalgic look and sheer drama, still have a faithful following.
But sinks today aren’t simply style statements. They have to make room for low dividers and integrated workstations (think drain boards, drying grids and wider sink divider saddles). Because anything that makes washing up easier is a cook’s best friend.
Today’s major kitchen appliances—ovens, stovetops, refrigerators, dishwashers—have upped the ante. Big and clunky is out; streamlined and sleek is in. And so is smart functionality that goes beyond timers and temperature settings. Induction cooking, which offers speed and restaurant-quality precision results, is becoming the way smart at-home chefs do things. Cooking is finally as cool as the space in which it happens.