Contemporary Style Taking Over the Kitchen

Contemporary Style Taking Over the Kitchen

Mix-and-Match Materials, Something Old, Something New

Not so long ago, dark wood cabinets with elaborately detailed moldings and furniture-grade wood center islands with traditional handles were the ultimate in kitchen style. These days, you’re likely to see glossy cabinets and industrial-style fixtures alongside a farmhouse-style sink. Kitchen styles, as demonstrated at the recent Kitchen & Bath Industry Show at Design and Construction Week, have become a little more freewheeling and reflect the interest among today’s homeowners in creating their own hybrid interior design.

Transitional style

According to the Kitchen & Bath Design Trends Report, conducted by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), transitional and contemporary-style kitchens are now the two most popular designs. Transitional style kitchens are the most popular, but for the first time, contemporary style kitchens surpassed traditional kitchens in popularity. The NKBA describes transitional and contemporary kitchens as having clean lines, built-in appliances and simple door styles.

Mix-and-match kitchen materials

Mix-and-match materials

In contrast to the clean, contemporary styles and perhaps to add interest in an otherwise all-white kitchen, two-toned kitchens are increasingly popular. Instead of using the same material and the same color for all the cabinets in the kitchen or keeping your kitchen counters uniform, you may want to use two or more colors or materials in the same space. In a press release about the NKBA survey, Bill Darcy, NKBA CEO said that designers are "specifying mixed color palettes and mixing materials, especially for countertops."

For example, a mix of white and gray painted cabinets is the most popular color scheme. You can have variations on your cabinets either in different sections of a large kitchen or switching off the upper and lower cabinets. Your center island can be a different material than your counters, such as butcher block on the island and granite elsewhere, or you can choose two complimentary tones of the same material. While brushed nickel handles and knobs were ubiquitous for years, now homeowners are enjoying mixing different metals in the same room.

Quartz recently surpassed granite as the most popular material for new kitchen counters, according to the NKBA survey. Granite is the second most popular, but is gradually becoming less desirable for new kitchens.

kitchen accents

Focus on the accents

While sticking with a neutral, clean kitchen palette matches contemporary tastes, spicing up the room with metal accents, rustic wood pieces and decorative bar stools helps you personalize your space. Rustic and reclaimed wood can be used for a dramatic dining table or as a barn door to slide across a pantry in the kitchen.

According to a recent survey by Houzz, one of the most popular ways to add contemporary style to your kitchen even when you’re not remodeling it is to replace traditional bar stools with a modern stool.

Another new trend is to extend a tile backsplash all the way to the ceiling for a dramatic focal point in the kitchen. The NKBA survey also shows that homeowners want power strips to be installed underneath their cabinets to eliminate the need for outlets in their backsplash.

smart and sleek kitchen appliances

Appliances getting smarter and sleeker

The NKBA survey found that microwave drawers are requested far more than built-in or freestanding microwaves. In addition, kitchen designs at the Kitchen & Bath Show showcased built-in coffeemakers, icemakers, wine refrigerators, freezers, warming drawers and dishwasher drawers, either with glass fronts or with cabinet fronts that make them indistinguishable from the surrounding cabinetry.

Induction cooktops and convection ovens are becoming more popular, along with steam ovens.

New, high-end kitchens are being built to accommodate Internet-connected appliances and docking stations. One-third of the kitchen designers surveyed says they are including special wiring and pathways for future integration of technology into the kitchen.

While you may not be ready for a complete kitchen overhaul, paying attention to trends can make it easier to update your kitchen for fun or for a bigger profit when you’re ready to sell your home.