Installing new kitchen cabinetry is one of the most important home improvement decisions you’ll make. As I’m sure you know, getting all new kitchen cabinets can be incredibly expensive, and it’s a choice that’s going to determine the way your kitchen looks for years to come. That’s why it’s so, so important to make an informed decision about your design before work begins on your kitchen. Paying attention to current kitchen cabinet trends can help you get the most out of your renovation, and build a kitchen that will suit both the market and your personal taste and cooking style.
One of the most important kitchen cabinet trends to be aware of is a marked movement away from traditional design, or at the very least a dramatic simplification of traditional styles. Now, this isn’t to say that highly modern kitchen cabinetry is in – in fact, quite the opposite: it’s a simple, transitional style that’s at the forefront of current kitchen design trends. That means less ornate woodwork and simpler lines. Many homeowners are even turning to simple, functional Shaker style cabinetry, or sleek frameless European designs to create a streamlined and efficient kitchen cabinet. This trend is very much a sign of the times and not likely to go anywhere; a more utilitarian kitchen comes hand in hand with the simpler lifestyle of a recession economy.
Kitchen Cabinets As Furniture
That said, don’t despair of a spartan kitchen. While kitchen cabinet trends are leaning away from highly detailed woodwork, homeowners are starting to treat their kitchen cabinets more like furniture, emphasizing molded edges and a freestanding design. That means pieces with personality: floor to ceiling cabinets designed to look like curio cabinets equipped with glass doors for display, decorative kitchen islands, and an overall higher quality of construction. The designs might be simpler, but they’re often more personalized, with features like displayed plate racks, built in shelves for cookbooks, open wine racks, or even wood paneled range hoods. Many designers are even opting for colorfully painted accent cabinets to enhance the furniture-like look.
Personalize, Personalize, Personalize
Transitional kitchen cabinetry in general and Shaker design in specific is very much about maximizing utility, and ease of use is at the heart of current kitchen cabinet trends. More and more often, kitchen cabinetry is being custom designed, not just to fit a kitchen, but to fit the lifestyle and cooking habits of the family using the kitchen. The bottom line is smarter design, and many innovative features are fast becoming must-haves. Pull-out drawers or shelves that replace standard cabinets keep your pots and pans (and even plates and cups) sorted and easily accessible. Pull-out pantries or spice racks a-la Alton Brown allow you to store more food in less space, hide it better, and see more of it when you need it. It’s also increasingly important to consider where you’ll put your trash. Built in holders for recycling and garbage bins are becoming quite popular, as they can promote a green lifestyle, making it easier to sort waste and keeping the ugly plastic bins hidden while they do it.
Another important kitchen cabinet trend is surfacing your major appliances with the same material as your cabinets. Many manufacturers offer matching wood panels for your dishwasher and trash compactor, and refrigerators are now frequently being built directly into your cabinetry and likewise covered. Smart designs even offer closed countertop storage for your smaller appliances – like a blender or a mixer – so they can be kept out of sight without exactly being stored away. This allows your most used appliances to be easily accessed by a cabinet door that lifts up rather than swings out, for better countertop clearance. Being able to cover up your appliances (both big and small) with cabinets helps create a unified design, and can make your kitchen feel more like a furnished part of your home.
Choosing A Material (And Color)
Of course, one of the very first steps in choosing your new kitchen cabinets is deciding what material they should be made out of. Maple and cherry are easily the two most popular wood choices, supplanting the oak cabinets of the last decade or two. This marks a larger trend away from medium-toned wood to dark, wine-red cherry as well as deep chocolate and espresso tones on the one hand, and much lighter blonde woods on the other. Both maple and cherry are ideal for this, as they can both be stained to a wide variety of shades to get a single, long-lasting style. Painted kitchen cabinets are also becoming popular, especially as furniture-like accent pieces in a more traditional kitchen, or as a main feature in a modern design. Intentionally weathered kitchen cabinets are also increasingly common, as they create a rustic, homey, slightly aged look that adds warmth to a casual kitchen design.
Eco Friendly Materials
While maple and cherry are still holding their own as the most popular cabinet materials, it’s important to note that kitchen cabinet trends are influenced by much larger design trends – namely, the green home movement. In fact, green design has been the most prominent in kitchen remodels in the last few years, with homeowners opting for more sustainable materials. In terms of kitchen cabinetry, that means two major trends are emerging rapidly. First, for a more modern kitchen, MDF cabinetry is becoming quite popular. This material, which is made of compressed wood fibers bound together with adhesive, is more eco-friendly and less expensive than solid wood, and is available in a wide variety of colors and both matte and glossy finishes. Secondly, bamboo – which is a fast growing, sustainable wood – is becoming incredibly popular in green kitchen design, both for the cabinets and the flooring. Both can contribute to your home qualifying for green home tax credits, and offer a unique and stylish “green” look.
There are more options to choose from than ever when it comes to finding a new kitchen cabinet. The most important kitchen cabinet trends – simplicity and improved storage – apply across the board, and can help create a kitchen space that will really serve you well. What sort of kitchen remodel are you planning?