If home is where the heart is, the kitchen may be the lifeblood of a house. It’s a place to congregate, cook and converse. According to the Houzz 2022 Kitchen Trends Study, many homeowners who are renovating their kitchens are utilizing the space for more than just cooking: they’re also using it as a work from home space. The desire to make the kitchen into a more homey space is greater than ever, and we’re seeing that play out in the trends that are leading kitchen interior design.
Kitchens continue to be one of the most popular areas of a home, but gone are the days of all white, beige or grays. We spoke with Chicago area interior designers to get their insights on the popular trends in kitchen design, so you can know what your buyers are looking for.
Kitchens used to be all about functionality. Claire Staszak, Centered By Design, shared that, previously, kitchen designs were very utilitarian, and used solely for cooking. Now, the kitchen is being treated as more of a congregating space, with comfort at the forefront of people’s minds.
“We really design a kitchen that’s part of the home, not its own entity,” Lauren Svenstrup, Studio Sven, also said of what she designs for her clients. As most homes these days have open floor plans, “It’s really important that the aesthetic of the kitchen flows with the rest of the home,” she added.
Eat-in kitchens are becoming even more popular, with banquette seating and breakfast tables becoming a commonplace in many kitchens. Svenstrup echoed that banquettes are trendy, especially in kitchens with limited space. She loves designing fully upholstered ones, instead of the ones that have drawers or cabinets on the bottom. Now, you might also find comfortable lounge areas to create a more lived-in space.
White, gray and beige used to be all the rage for kitchens, but currently, we’re seeing homeowners branch out into a new territory: color. “Clients are definitely more open to color,” Staszak said.
There are a variety of ways color can be incorporated into a kitchen; it could be through accent colors in tiles, window treatments or rugs. Other homeowners may choose to paint a full kitchen, with blues and greens being the go-to color schemes for Chicago homeowners, according to Staszak.
She did add that she’s experienced certain clients who are willing to try something different, but they likely won’t do it in open spaces. Instead, they choose a bold wallpaper or color for more secluded areas of the kitchen, like a butler’s pantry.
Svenstrup said one of the places she’s seeing people play with color most is on the island, where people are choosing to paint it so the piece stands out rather than matches the wall paint.
Materials that add texture to the space are now gaining steam. “People are a lot more open to natural woods,” Staszak said. Wood is being used in more creative ways, such as making islands look like a furniture piece, accenting the space or creating a kitchen entirely out of the material.
Wood grain also continues to be popular among those completing a home renovation, with one in five choosing a wood tone for their cabinets, according to Houzz’s 2022 Kitchen Trends Study.
When it comes to the countertop, Svenstrup is seeing her clients venturing back into natural stones for countertops, like marble. While natural stones will show wear and tear, like scratches and stains, she finds that clients like the lived-in feel that it brings to the kitchen.
As a continuation of the countertops, Svenstrup says her clients are loving slab splashes. For slab splashes, they use the same stone as the countertops to create a backsplash with one large piece of same material. Svenstrup sees this as a statement piece for the kitchen.
When it comes to metals, mixing finishes between plumbing hardware, lighting and appliances is gaining steam, Staszak said. Now, you might see stainless steel appliances, polished nickel plumbing and brass lighting and hardware all in the same kitchen. However, as a rule of thumb, Staszak suggests only mixing up to three finishes – any more than that can be seen as too busy.
Svenstrup is seeing this trend with a variety of other materials. For instance, they might design a walnut island for a client but use black for the trim or reed panels as accent materials. But, when it comes to metals on cabinets, she prefers the less-is-more approach, choosing materials that are simple and blend in with the cabinets to highlight the cabinet’s beauty.
Statement lighting continues to be a big trend. However, where we’re used to seeing two or three pendants in a kitchen, we’re now seeing sconces becoming more popular. According to Staszak, even lighting you traditionally find in other rooms of the home – like lamps – are making their way into kitchens. When big islands are being used in a kitchen, Svenstrup loves to set them off with large chandeliers, similar to ornate ones you would typically see in dining rooms.
According to Staszak, there are two camps of people when it comes to kitchen appliances: keeping them
hidden or working them into a cohesive design. Svenstrup finds hidden appliances to be more desirable. She uses panels to keep ovens, refrigerators and dishwashers hidden in plain sight. She utilizes retractable doors for smaller countertop appliances and will hide microwaves in cabinets.
And, while highly decorative range hoods over ovens used to be all the rage, we’re moving towards hood inserts, or even placing them in cabinets or walls