Whether you are gutting your whole kitchen or just doing a mini makeover, do your research and find out more about the latest kitchen materials available and the newest design trends. We talked to seven design experts to get their insights on the most popular kitchen trends. From cabinets to counter tops and appliances to lighting, we've got the scoop about everything for your kitchen.
Room for everyone
"People are looking for beautiful open spaces that can accommodate casual seating for many," says designer Kristin Petro. "In new home design, formal dining rooms are being eliminated in favor of an open kitchen plan with a large gathering table and additional seating at an island or peninsula. If your kitchen is beautiful, why go into a separate room to dine?"
Value and function
HGTV Design Star finalist Cathy Hobbs is a five-time Emmy award-winning television personality and founder of Cathy Hobbs Design Recipes. "Ten years ago, it was all about large commercial style appliances and large six-burner stoves by brands such as Viking, Wolf and Sub-Zero," says Hobbs "Then, five years ago, there was a trend towards 'pill boxed luxury' -- smaller appliances that were hidden and tucked away. Now, I believe everyone is all about functionality and value. Consumers care less about how something looks and more about durability and value."
Brittney Fischbeck of Abodwell Interior Design mentions how technology is making its way into the kitchen, creating a space that isn't just for cooking and eating. She says that computer areas, recharging stations and large TV monitors aren't uncommon in new kitchen designs. Fischbeck also notes the green trend with renewable counter top materials, magnetic induction cooktops and hidden recycle and compost stations.
Designer Robin Rigby Fisher talks about the green trend when it comes to flooring. "One of the top kitchen trends is cork flooring. It's warmer for your feet, easy to maintain (like wood, just wash with very warm water -- no soap, no chemicals), helps to absorb sound in hard rooms like kitchens, more modern in aesthetic and is soft to stand on. Cork is self-healing!"
Cabinets and counter tops
"Open shelving is popping up everywhere," says Denise Sabia of Painted Home Designs. "Also, cabinet color is leaning more toward darker natural colors when using a stain, while white painted cabinets remain popular. Less nooks and crannies in the cabinet styles and more full overlays are being used as well.
"Countertops are moving away from granite and other natural stones are being taken into consideration. Softer, less veiny materials are being used. The overall feel of the newer kitchens is more modern with a slight farmhouse flair. Industrial style faucets in farmhouse sinks are becoming the norm. Double dishwashers have been added when there's room and they make a huge difference in larger families."
Robin Wilson of Robin Wilson Home says that stainless steel appliances continue to be trendy. She also mentions that more people are installing built-in wine refrigerators, either stand-alone or under-counter models. "However, the emerging trend in terms of appliances is the return of the wall oven with a twist," Wilson explains. "More people select a stand 'lower' oven for baking, but the top oven is actually a turbo oven, which allows multiple functions including baking, rotisserie and rapid-dinner preparation."
One example is the large capacity (6.7-cubic feet) LG Double Oven Convection Range (Model: LDE3017ST, $1,699.99). It is a nice choice if you are looking for a double oven because it features the tallest upper-oven in the industry and an efficient convection system for even heat distribution.
Let there be light
"My clients are all focusing on creating functional kitchens that reflect how they cook and entertain and are less concerned with impressing people," explains Jill Valeri of The Welcome Home: Interior Design Solutions. "This means fewer professional grade appliances but plenty of counter space. Lighting and storage are also very important to them. My clients have really embraced mixing their lighting for a multi-layered approach. We are using halogen or LED for recessed fixtures because they have smaller openings and then we add under cabinet lighting as well as pendants and semi-flush fixtures."