Kitchen Design Trends We’re Seeing in 2018

What buyers are seeking, designers are incorporating and real estate pros are seeing.

Kitchens are constantly evolving. More often than not viewed as the focal point of a home, these high-traffic areas must maintain their functionality as they become increasingly more visually captivating. As homeowners redecorate and revamp, it’s important to carefully consult emerging styles to achieve longevity without sacrificing personalization in the process.

To analyze the latest kitchen design trends, ESTATENVY consulted with a pair of experts: CEO and Founder of Green Home Chicago Karen Kalmek, an interior design professional for the last 11 years and real estate broker Jim Abbott of Baird & Warner, a staging and design aficionado who has worked in the Chicago area for two decades. The two shared insights gained from time spent traversing through contemporary mess halls on what’s happening that is here to stay.

Darkening Shades

While the color white still proves popular in modern kitchen design (Abbott estimated approximately 80 percent of the newer kitchens he sees have white shaker cabinetry), choosing hues from grey to black allows homeowners a solid base template that they can easily accessorize with accent colors, personalizing their space yet allowing longer-term flexibility in the main pieces of the kitchen.

“These colors provide a sleek canvas on which homeowners can personalize. Grey has a neutral, clean look that brings stability to a room that usually sees a lot of action,” Abbott said. Kalmek believes that darker colors are the most modern option out there and those in the market for a redesign should look to contrast light and dark to add drama. “Minimalism is achieved by the juxtaposition of clean cabinets and rustic floors,” she said. “Be broader than beige!”

Emphasis on texture

“Mixing materials like woods with metals, concrete and stainless steel creates different textures and tones, making the space more three-dimensional,” Kalmek said.

Contrasting wood cabinetry with laminate or tile flooring creates this effect while still providing homeowners a multitude of options. Abbot said he sees a greater prevalence of laminate flooring in kitchens due to its low price point combined with its ability to deliver on variety. “Wainscoting, crown molding and backsplashes are also great ways to add texture to a kitchen space,” Abbot added.

Prioritizing accessibility and durability

Buyers’ kitchen preferences are changing. Traditional galley kitchens of old are fast disappearing in favor of more open floor plans that create space and allow for greater mobility in a high-traffic area of the house. “The kitchen has become a part of the living space. I’m starting to see homeowners talk about accessibility in the form of longevity-they want to age in place. They are thinking about the long haul and considering their growing children when optimizing space. People are seeking value in durability through material and design,” Kalmek said.

“Islands have really become a ‘must have’ in newer kitchens because of the way they maximize add surface area. 42-inch cabinets are popular because they rise all the way to the ceiling,” Abbott commented. “We try to utilize every square inch. When working with an existing space, our goal is to make it multifunctional,” Kalmek said. Counter-depth appliances, tables that fold away and breakfast nooks are great ways to conserve space that are gaining more traction in 2018, both noticed.

Statement lighting

“While lighting is usually only considered at the end of budget, it can determine whole feel and mood of the kitchen space. Lighting tells a story. It helps integrate the kitchen with the larger feel of a home.” Kalmek’s precise analysis of the importance of statement lighting in such a populated area of the home was echoed by Abbott. There are countless lighting options, both affordable and extravagant, that aid a space’s ambiance through careful structure and detail. Pair any lighting fixture with a dimmer switch to add even more flair and flexibility to a kitchen.