Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

2020 Kitchen Design Trends: Choosing Stylish Kitchen Cabinets That Will Last

The start of a new year always means a flood of all things new: new cars, new clothes, and in my line of work, a new round of speculation about how design trends will change from last year…and which ones will stick around. Because although you might not mind updating your wardrobe for the season or trading out your car lease for an updated model, remodeling your kitchen isn’t something you want to do on a whim. Replacing your kitchen cabinets can be a particularly stressful choice, since it’s something you really don’t want to be doing again a few years down the line. So, here are the top kitchen cabinet trends for 2020 – and my take on which ones will be here for the long run!

Keep Your Kitchen Cabinets Shaker Simple…Or Even Simpler

Simple shaker cabinets are slated to be the star of the show in kitchens long-term, but if you want a different look, opt for simpler and more streamlined to get the most life out of your upgrade (by Case Design/Remodeling )
Simple shaker cabinets are slated to be the star of the show in kitchens long-term, but if you want a different look, opt for simpler and more streamlined to get the most life out of your upgrade (by Case Design/Remodeling)

Trends in kitchen cabinet styles are one of the easiest to see: over the last decade, kitchen cabinets have been getting steadily more modern in style, with decorative molding and millwork gradually disappearing. Shaker style cabinets are still a far-and-away favorite (and likely will stay that way) because they’re affordable and easy to dress up or down. But flat slab cabinets are making steady gains for their minimalist, streamlined modern appearance, with touch-open slab cabinets being a particular favorite this year.

Leave White Kitchen Cabinets Behind

Bold colors, light wood, and warm metals are skyrocketing in popularity as alternatives to (or ways to dress up) a classic white kitchen (by Wellborn Cabinet, Inc.)
Bold colors, light wood, and warm metals are skyrocketing in popularity as alternatives to (or ways to dress up) a classic white kitchen (by Wellborn Cabinet, Inc.)

Almost everyone (including me!) has been saying that white kitchens are on their way out for most of 2019, but according to the Houzz 2020 kitchen survey, they’re far from extinct. So if you’re glad to hear of their (supposed) demise: look for light, warm-toned woods like ash that will add warmth to your space but that aren’t dark enough to give you golden oak flashbacks. Painted cabinets in blue, black, gray, or green have also skyrocketed in popularity, in shades that range from muted to bold and bright.

…Or At Least Dress Them Up

If you still love (and want to keep) your white cabinets, don't worry too much that they'll look dated - just focus on adding color and warmth when updating the rest of your space (by Goforth Gill Architects)
If you still love (and want to keep) your white cabinets, don’t worry too much that they’ll look dated – just focus on adding color and warmth when updating the rest of your space (by Goforth Gill Architects)

On the other hand, if you still have a place in your heart for white kitchens, rather than getting rid of them entirely, spice them up by incorporating a few other trends. Small accents – like warm metal or dark hardware, a fresh coat of paint on the walls, or a new backsplash – are simple ways to add color to a white kitchen. For a bigger project, you could try shifting from all white cabinets to double cabinets (with white on top and a color on the bottom) or painting your island a different statement color. Having some cabinets in a different color can help breaking up an all-white design without losing that bright, clean feeling. Last but not least, any amount of wood surfaces you add – from flooring to beams to furniture – will help make your space feel warm and inviting rather than washed out and sterile.

Mix And Match Open Shelf, Glass Fronted, And Traditional Cabinet Storage

In 2020, kitchen cabinets have found the right balance between the trends of the last several years: a few open shelves for display, some glass-fronted cabinets for a feeling of openness, and well-organized closed cabinets for actual storage (by Sealy Design Inc.)
In 2020, kitchen cabinets have found the right balance between the trends of the last several years: a few open shelves for display, some glass-fronted cabinets for a feeling of openness, and well-organized closed cabinets for actual storage (by Sealy Design Inc.)

Open shelf cabinets and custom-designed cabinetry are two trends that have been floating around for a while, but in 2020 they’re really starting to come together in an interesting and meaningful way. Rather than trying to keep all your snacks and frequently used dishes out on open shelves (which was a major problem with this trend when it first started showing up), open shelves have become a way to make your kitchen feel a little homier and more spacious, displaying small decor items, vintage kitchenware or even just your family’s favorite mugs.

Bigger Pantries, Better Cabinet Organizers

"A place for everything, and everything in its place" is the biggest theme for kitchen cabinets in 2020, from large dedicated pantries to highly-specialized, full-extension cabinets that help you maximize your space (by Dura Supreme Cabinetry)
“A place for everything, and everything in its place” is the biggest theme for kitchen cabinets in 2020, from large dedicated pantries to highly-specialized, full-extension cabinets that help you maximize your space (by Dura Supreme Cabinetry)

To compensate for the lost storage up top, homeowners are making changes to the cabinets they’re keeping. One big one this year is the trend toward building large pantries and larders. Being able to keep all your food items in one large, central location means you won’t be clogging up your other cabinets with spare boxes and cans. Secondly, many homeowners are upgrading their lower cabinets and islands with customized organizers and specialized storage. From drawers for dishware to pull-out spice racks, these cabinet organizers help you make better use of the space inside your lower cabinets and kitchen island, so you can fit all your kitchenware in a way that’s more accessible than a full set of standard top and bottom cabinet boxes.

Don’t Forget – New Kitchen Cabinets Need New Counter Tops!

Engineered quartz has become a favorite choice for countertops because it's durable, low-maintenance, and highly customizable, so you can get a look that's either very modern or very traditional and stone-like (by Kriste Michelini Interiors)
Engineered quartz has become a favorite choice for countertops because it’s durable, low-maintenance, and highly customizable, so you can get a look that’s either very modern or very traditional and stone-like (by Kriste Michelini Interiors)

All that said, choosing the style, color, and arrangement of your cabinet boxes is only half the battle: you also need to pick your countertops. What constitutes the “best” countertop has always been a design battlefield. There are a lot of options out there, and with evolving technologies, the target is always moving. That said, the numbers show quartz countertops pulling ahead of longtime-frontrunner granite. Which makes a good amount of sense: engineered quartz is just as durable as granite, but requires a lot less maintenance. In the last few years, better tech has also made it possible to get quartz countertops that look more stone-like, meaning you can get the best of both worlds (or just about any look or color you like).

If you’re planning a major kitchen renovation in 2020, one of your very first steps should be deciding what to do with your cabinets. Whether you’re keeping them as-is, resurfacing, replacing, or some combination of the three will have a major impact on the final look (and budget!) for your upcoming project.