Top 5 trends in kitchen design for 2019 - and beyond

This year, we're breaking away from all-white kitchens, mixing up our metal fixtures and hardware, and letting our appli
This year, we’re breaking away from all-white kitchens, mixing up our metal fixtures and hardware, and letting our appliances cook while we catch up on our newsfeeds. (Dreamstime)

Professional kitchen designers are at the front line of the latest trends, a result of the countless hours they spend at showrooms and trade shows — not to mention the time they spend on social media swapping images, ideas and inspiration. Every year, the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) surveys hundreds of these designers around the country to crowdsource the emerging styles, features and materials with the most staying power.

If you’re considering a kitchen remodel, you’ll want to check out these five trends from the most recent NKBA report. They’ll be defining kitchens not just in 2019, but for years to come.


The all-white kitchen will always have a place in ultra-modern homes, but its days as the dominant design force are over. “We’re heading into 2020 with bold, vibrant colors in the kitchen,” says Elle H-Millard, a certified kitchen designer and editor-at-large with NKBA. Deep, saturated colors evocative of nature, including emerald green and navy blue, are on the rise, maybe as an island counter color or even as an appliance finish.


The fridge and freezer have always been housed in the same rectangular box — until now. Column refrigerators and freezers make it possible to separate the food storage units, allowing for far greater flexibility of design. Besides its aesthetic appeal, designers say this trend appeals to growing consumer focus on healthy eating, with its emphasis on fresh foods. That might result in a large, centrally located column refrigerator for produce, meats, fish and the like, plus a smaller column freezer off to the side or tucked under a countertop.


Kitchens are getting more intelligent, and there’s no better example of this than the “assisted cooking technology” featured in many ovens and ranges. These smart appliances are outfitted with sensors, cameras and other advanced technologies that enable them to identify what’s being cooked and set the cooking times and temperatures accordingly. “These new technologies have tons of promise because they allow homeowners to cook like a professional,” says H-Millard.


Stainless steel used to prevail over the entire kitchen, from appliances to faucets to light fixtures. The kitchen of the 2020s will instead boast an array of finishes. Call it the “new industrial,” an urban-influenced style that designers say will only get more popular in coming years. Black stainless steel, a darker, matte alternative to traditional stainless, continues to gain traction. You might think about pairing black appliances with a faucet and cabinet hardware in nickel with a brushed or satin finish.


Nearly eight in 10 designers from the NKBA survey reported an increase in kitchen size. This isn’t necessarily new; it follows the open-kitchen concept that’s been popular for years. The twist going forward is a focus on aging-in-place and universal design — that is, creating kitchens that are accessible for people of all ages and abilities. Strategies includes installing cabinets with easy-access pullout drawers, putting down slip-resistant flooring and taking advantage of the latest technology, from touch-free faucets to voice-controlled lighting and appliances.

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