Kitchen Trends: Time to Refresh
Keep these trends on the top shelf when doing a cabinet makeover
Photography courtesy Vermont Cabinetry
Cabinetry is often the design centerpiece of the home, drawing the eye almost as soon as someone enters a room. Far more than just a convenient way to reduce clutter by keeping objects out of the way, custom cabinetry makes a strong statement about your taste and lifestyle. When it’s time to refresh your cabinets’ look and rephrase the statement they make, there are some exciting new trends that will help you “wow” your visitors and make them feel welcome to stay awhile.
Our customers at Vermont Cabinetry, who mainly live in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, have never been obsessed with following the crowd and doing “what’s hot” at the moment. After all, you’ll be living with your custom cabinetry for many years, so you want it to be something you can literally be at home with. But at the same time, homeowners don’t want any part of their home to look like you’re falling behind the times. If your cabinetry is worn out or visually dated, I’d say it’s time for an update.
Cabinets can be found in many rooms throughout a home including bathrooms, garages and bar areas, but the kitchen is always the first room that gets a homeowner’s attention when it’s time to upgrade their cabinetry. It’s really the heart of a home, especially if the home has an open design that makes it a family space rather than just a place to cook and eat. It gets used so much, it’s tough to ignore when it’s time for a new one, so most homeowners start there.
Designs: Keeping It Simple
In cabinet design, simplicity is the overriding desire for many homeowners. For instance, I’d say we sell more frameless overlay cabinetry than framed inset. The difference is that a framed cabinet has a quarter-inch or so of framing that the door attaches to. In a frameless cabinet, you don’t have that unused space. It’s become a popular choice for people who like the way it gives them more access and offers a little bit more space. It’s a cleaner look, too.
Likewise, simplified door and drawer fronts seem to be a trend that is gaining popularity. People are choosing Shaker-style doors and flat drawer fronts more these days and moving away from elaborate, more ornate fronts. This is inspired by the Shaker movement of the 1800s; the Shakers believed strongly in crafting quality furniture without a lot of detail and embellishment, and that style still endures.
Cabinetry doesn’t just stay on the wall, of course. The center island is still a popular choice for people who want to get as much out of their space as possible, and people will use as big of an island as they can fit. It also makes a great gathering spot and central to the action happening in the kitchen instead of sitting at the table or in the next room. Everyone loves to have the extra space for people to hang out in the kitchen as well as the extra storage it provides, so the island is central to this.
Once you’ve settled on the cabinetry style, the colors and hardware you choose can do a lot to pull the cabinets toward either a traditional or modern look.
Coloring Your World
One interesting trend is in color. We always see a lot of white, which may never go out of style, but many of our customers are choosing to go a little darker—often a lot darker. Second to white is a wide variety of gray—lots of different shades, not just the ash gray that first comes to mind. People seem to be going with darker and bolder tones of gray as opposed to the lighter grays which was popular a few years back.
As far as the finish, most people are opting for a painted finish as opposed to natural woods like cherry or oak, although we have done quite a few kitchens in white oak over the past couple of years. It’s still a popular choice if you want the warm look of wood but with a lighter feel. Homeowners like the kitchen, especially, to be light and cheerful. Dark cabinetry works better in living rooms and bedrooms—although the beauty of modern design is that there are very few hard-and-fast rules. Your own personal taste can lead a lot of your decisions.
For hardware, brass has become increasingly popular for cabinets throughout the home and can add a very high-end look and feel.
There are some additional features that can be added to new cabinets that can truly make the kitchen an experience. Convenient pull-down shelves and built-in pull-out footstools can really help with those hard-to-reach places. Installing touchless, self-opening drawers are perfect for when hands are full, and adding lighted tracking will illuminate the drawers so utensils and other objects are easier to find.
Tips for a Successful Cabinetry Refresh
Getting the cabinetry that fits your lifestyle and reflects your personality takes patience, although a qualified designer and installer will take a lot of that off your shoulders. Here are three tips for a successful cabinetry update:
- Start now. The biggest mistake people make, whether they want a new construction or a remodel, is to wait too long to start the design process. Lead times have become extraordinarily long over the past couple of years, so if you are considering a project for 2023, you should already be talking to a designer.
- Be patient. Everyone’s lead times continue to be really stretched, but even in normal times, a job will take eight to 10 weeks from the time all the decisions are finalized. That doesn’t include the design process, which can take quite a bit of time depending on the client’s ability to make those decisions.
- Go for quality. Make sure you are getting the most quality materials and finishes. The kitchen is a significant investment, so you want the cabinets and appliances to last.
Above all, remember that the operative word in “custom cabinetry” is “custom.” The cabinet style, color and functionality should reflect your tastes and desires. Your designer is the expert in deciding how best to create cabinetry that keeps your home up to date but, even more importantly, makes you happy.
Top Kitchen Trends in 2022
- Homeowners Prioritize Countertops: More than one-third of homeowners reportedly splurged on countertops (35%). The most common feature improved during kitchen renovations, countertops were upgraded by more than 9 in 10 homeowners (91%). Engineered quartz and granite are the most popular countertop materials (42% and 24%, respectively). Of the more than one in five renovating homeowners who select an island countertop material that contrasts from their primary countertops, over one-third choose butcher block or wood slab (35%).
- Spending on Kitchen Remodels Continues to Climb: The median spend for both major and minor kitchen remodels increased in mid-2021 by 14% to $40,000 and by 25% to $10,000, respectively, compared to 2020. The median spend for a major kitchen remodel of a large kitchen (250 square feet or more), continued to climb for the fourth year in a row, to $50,000, up from $45,000 the previous year. The median spend on a major small kitchen remodel (less than 250 square feet), increased as well, up to $35,000 in mid-2021 from $30,000 in mid-2020.
- Pro Hiring Reaches New Heights: Overall hiring of kitchen renovation professionals has jumped to 89% from 85% in 2020, its highest level in four years. General contractors continue to be hired the most frequently (53%), up significantly by four percentage points from 2021. Cabinetmakers, kitchen designers and interior designers are also being hired more frequently than last year.
- Appliances Get a Boost from High-Tech Features: Appliances are the second most common feature that homeowners splurge on during kitchen renovations (27%). Over a third of upgraded appliances include high-tech features (35%), up six percentage points from the previous year. The most popular kitchen appliance features are wireless and smartphone controls (26%), up eight percentage points from 2021.
- Islands Are Where We Work From Home: Following a kitchen renovation, one in five homeowners say that a top activity at their island is work (20%), up four percentage points from 2021. Homeowners are making space for this activity with nearly two in five islands stretching more than 7 feet in length (39%), up five percentage points from last year. Homeowners are also making the space brighter with the vast majority installing new light fixtures above islands (92%).
- White and Gray Prevail as Top Colors: White continues to lead as the top choice for kitchen cabinets, backsplash and walls (41%, 40% and 32%, respectively). Gray is the most common alternative to white, with 27% of renovating homeowners painting the kitchen walls gray, 13% installing gray flooring, and 11% opting for a gray backsplash. That said, blue, black and green bring visual interest to the space through contrasting kitchen island cabinet colors (26%, 10% and 5%, respectively).