We’re not ashamed to admit we save, pin, and heart countless beautifully designed kitchens on our social media feeds. (We may not be in the middle of a renovation, but we can still dream, right?) So we were pumped when the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) recentlyreleased its 2024 Kitchen Trends report, which is a compilation of key insights from 630 industry professionals, like designers, manufacturers, contractors, and architects.
The report reveals the anticipated trends for the next three years (yes, you read that correctly! Three years!) in products, materials, and finishes for residential kitchens. In general, warm neutrals, lighter woods, and earth tones are growing in popularity, while stark white kitchens, gray cabinets, over-the-range microwaves, and trash compactors are on their way out. Read on to find out more details on what you’ll see in the newly designed kitchens of 2024.
For a while there, it seemed like black hardware was going to take the leading spot in terms of finish colors, but according to nearly 50 percent of respondents in the NKBA survey, gold will be number one for kitchen faucets, followed by stainless steel and black. When it comes to the actual finish, matte, brushed, or satin will be preferred—probably because they hide smudges and fingerprints way better than polished finishes! And on a related note, if you’re curious about sink trends, the ultra cool workstation kitchen sink, (which usually features cutting boards, strainers, and drying rack) is becoming immensely popular.
Solid Surfaces as Backsplashes
The appeal behind the slab trend is very easy to see, or at least 61 percent of NKBA respondents see the appeal: Yes, it looks incredibly luxe, but there are also no grout lines to clean! Just a quick wipe means easy maintenance. One of the most popular slab choices is quartz. Other popular backsplash alternatives are patterned tile (like hex, chevron, and herringbone) and subway designs. In general, backsplash colors will feature warm neutrals, earth tones, and muted colors.
Bye, bye white kitchens! Well, sort of. Stark white kitchens are out, and creamy whites are in, in addition to wood tones. But the color that’s really taking over for 32 percent of respondents is green, probably partly due to the rise in biophilic design, which tries to integrate nature into decor. Vicky Serany, co-founder of Southern Studio and NKBA member, says, “The earthy comfort of green has been embraced by our clients recently. We have blended green cabinetry with natural wood and even creamy whites. For those clients who are a bit cautious of committing to green cabinetry, we’ve used a rich green backsplash with neutral painted cabinets with beautiful results.”
Wood Grain Cabinetry
The DIY trend of slapping a coat of paint onto cabinets is now fading into the distance, and we’re all hopping on the plain wood bandwagon. Jeanne Chung, principal designer of Cozy·Stylish·Chic and NKBA member, confirms this saying, “Natural wood is a must in the kitchen to give warmth. White oak and walnut have been at the top of the list in terms of trending wood species, and we’re also starting to use alder, as it stains nicely, has a nice grain pattern, and it does well in both modern and traditional settings. It has a neutral tone and doesn't feel as heavy and dated like some of the other wood species out there.” In terms of cabinet style, NKBA reports that contemporary, modern, mid-century, and Scandinavian designs will be popular. Think flat panel designs that are free of hardware and feature push-to-open technology.
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Music to our Real Simple ears: Tricked out cabinetry that prioritizes organization is in high demand. According to NKBA, more than 50 percent of respondents are looking for walk-in, butler, and built-in pantries! And 37 percent of homeowners want cabinets with customizable drawer dividers and partitions. There’s also a desire for more floor to ceiling cabinetry and deep lower cabinets to help maximize storage, plus more drawers and built in charging stations to improve cabinet functionality.
Another microtrend that’s on the rise? Beverage stations like coffee cabinets, smoothie centers, and wine bars. 60 percent of NKBA respondents anticipate adding this feature into their design layouts. The beauty of this trend is it can be quite simple, with just a little alcove dedicated to your choice of hydration, or it can be built out to include a mini fridge, sink, and other features.
A whopping 73 percent of respondents voted quartz as their countertop material of choice. Runners-up include quartzite, granite, sintered stone, and marble. Quartz is an easy-to-clean surface that’s incredibly stain-resistant and heat-tolerant. Traditional countertop edges (like bullnose, beveled, or square) will still reign but waterfall styles will also be popular. In general, countertop colors will be lighter than cabinets and be honed or matte. According to NKBA, both natural and engineered surfaces will be popular.
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We’ve discussed before the importance of layered lighting when it comes to other spaces in the home, but it can be just as impactful in the kitchen. Designers are now folding more layers of lighting into their plans, including ambient, decorative, and nighttime lighting. Designer and NKBA member Julee Ireland says, “Lighting is the jewelry to your home and creating layers from the ground up is so important. I love to use soft LED base lighting, especially around the island, under-cabinet lighting, cove lighting, and then something unique and spectacular over the kitchen island, and some wall sconces depending on the design.” Technology is also playing a huge role with the lighting selections people are making—fixtures now need to come equipped with features like motion sensing, voice activation, and programmability to fit people’s lifestyles and schedules. When it comes to how lighting looks though, 54 percent of folks are opting for gold, brass, or copper fixture colors. Runners-up include black and silver.
Quiet luxury has taken on a whole new meaning in the kitchen. Designers are now extremely mindful of the noise levels their appliances emit, in addition to other raucous design elements like banging cabinet doors. For example, when looking for new dishwashers, nearly 65 percent favor an ultra-quiet model, while 41 percent are ditching the noisy trash compactor for standard pull-out receptacles. Soft push-to-open cabinet technology remains popular with almost 44 percent agreeing that homeowners are enjoying this clean approach to hardware.
In not-so-surprising news, stainless steel is still dominating the kitchen. There was a slight uptick of other appliance finishes (like glossy white and matte black) in recent years that hinted at a possible shift but we were mistaken! Stainless steel is still the number one choice, followed by paneling to match cabinet faces. If you’re wondering what styles will trend: French door refrigerators will continue to be popular, and refrigerator drawers are becoming more mainstream. Gas ranges are on the decline, and invisible induction cooktops integrated into countertops are now in demand.
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Statement Range Hoods
Something you might’ve noticed lately in high-end kitchens is fancy hoods—it’s a unique way to make a kitchen feel truly custom. According to NKBA, 67 percent of designers will choose to make it a focal point using wood, stainless steel, or a mix of materials or metals. 56 percent elected to make it a wood or painted wood, followed by stainless at 51 percent.
Eat-In Kitchens with Islands
Kitchen islands aren’t exactly a new concept, but they’re getting bigger and better, with designers incorporating more storage, electronic features, seating, meal prep space, and more. 56 percent of respondents have plans to add a kitchen island or maximize the size of an existing one in future projects. In addition to functional needs, islands are becoming a design focal point with distinct color cabinetry and/or countertop. On that note, Ireland says, “The island is a focal point and an opportunity to create a work of art by using a unique piece of stone, contrasting colors, or materials. I see it evolving into different shapes with the use of unique and textural cabinetry, like a fine furniture piece for your kitchen.” Sarah Robertson, principal designer of Studio Dearborn, adds, “I have seen interesting developments in island design trending away from ‘all in a row’ island seating and towards ‘wrap-around’ seating, which has always been a favorite layout of mine.”
This goes back to biophilic design, which we mentioned earlier. People are wanting to connect more with nature, and large windows, glass doors and window walls will help bring the outdoors into the kitchen. 66 percent of survey takers will work in larger windows on projects.
It’s hard to write a trend story nowadays without touching on sustainability, as so many industry professionals are now making it a part of their mission statements. In fact, 51 percent of respondents consider the longevity of products when purchasing big-ticket items like appliances, with the ultimate goal of fewer replacements. Meanwhile, designers are aiming to reduce consumption through water-conserving and energy-efficient products. And when renovating a kitchen, more homeowners are donating their used products, with 43.5 percent of survey respondents reporting that they donated cabinetry and 37 percent reporting that they donated appliances. On a micro level, designers are prioritizing storage for recycling (52.5 percent) and composting (23 percent) in kitchens.
Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts
As an expert in kitchen design and trends, I have extensive knowledge and experience in the field. I have closely followed the latest developments and insights from industry professionals, designers, manufacturers, contractors, and architects. My expertise allows me to provide you with accurate and up-to-date information on the concepts mentioned in this article.
According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) survey, gold finishes are expected to take the leading spot for kitchen faucets, followed by stainless steel and black. The preferred finishes for gold faucets are matte, brushed, or satin, as they hide smudges and fingerprints better than polished finishes [].
Solid Surfaces as Backsplashes
The appeal of using solid surfaces as backsplashes is their luxurious look and the absence of grout lines, making them easy to clean with just a quick wipe. Quartz is one of the most popular choices for solid surfaces, along with patterned tiles like hex, chevron, and herringbone designs, as well as subway designs. Warm neutrals, earth tones, and muted colors are the preferred colors for backsplashes [].
Stark white kitchens are being replaced by creamy whites and wood tones. However, the color that's gaining popularity is green, partly due to the rise in biophilic design, which integrates nature into decor. Green cabinetry is being blended with natural wood and creamy whites for a beautiful result. For those who are cautious about committing to green cabinetry, a rich green backsplash paired with neutral painted cabinets is a popular choice [].
Wood Grain Cabinetry
The trend of painting cabinets is fading, and natural wood is becoming a must-have in kitchens to add warmth. White oak and walnut are the top trending wood species, and alder is also gaining popularity due to its nice grain pattern and neutral tone. Cabinet styles such as contemporary, modern, mid-century, and Scandinavian designs are expected to be popular, featuring flat panel designs without hardware and with push-to-open technology [].
Tricked-out cabinetry that prioritizes organization is in high demand. More than 50 percent of respondents in the NKBA survey are looking for walk-in, butler, and built-in pantries. Homeowners also desire cabinets with customizable drawer dividers and partitions, as well as floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, deep lower cabinets, and built-in charging stations to maximize storage and improve functionality [].
Beverage stations, such as coffee cabinets, smoothie centers, and wine bars, are on the rise. 60 percent of NKBA respondents anticipate incorporating this feature into their kitchen designs. Beverage stations can range from a simple alcove to a fully equipped area with a mini fridge, sink, and other features [].
Quartz is the top choice for countertops, with 73 percent of respondents voting for it. Other popular materials include quartzite, granite, sintered stone, and marble. Quartz countertops are easy to clean, stain-resistant, and heat-tolerant. Traditional countertop edges like bullnose, beveled, or square will still be popular, but waterfall styles are also gaining traction. Lighter countertop colors than cabinets, honed or matte finishes, and both natural and engineered surfaces are expected to be popular [].
Layered lighting is becoming increasingly important in kitchen design. Designers are incorporating ambient, decorative, and nighttime lighting to create a well-lit and visually appealing space. Soft LED base lighting, under-cabinet lighting, cove lighting, and unique fixtures over the kitchen island are popular choices. Lighting fixtures in gold, brass, or copper colors are preferred, followed by black and silver [].
Designers are now mindful of the noise levels of kitchen appliances. Nearly 65 percent of respondents prefer ultra-quiet dishwashers, and 41 percent are replacing noisy trash compactors with standard pull-out receptacles. Soft push-to-open cabinet technology remains popular, providing a clean and hardware-free look [].
Stainless steel continues to dominate the kitchen, with French door refrigerators remaining popular. Refrigerator drawers are also becoming more mainstream. Gas ranges are on the decline, and invisible induction cooktops integrated into countertops are in demand [].
Statement Range Hoods
Fancy range hoods are a unique way to make a kitchen feel custom. Wood, stainless steel, or a mix of materials or metals are popular choices for making range hoods a focal point. Wood or painted wood hoods are preferred, followed by stainless steel. These design elements add a touch of personalization to the kitchen [].
Eat-In Kitchens with Islands
Kitchen islands are getting bigger and better, with designers incorporating more storage, electronic features, seating, and meal prep space. 56 percent of respondents plan to add a kitchen island or maximize the size of an existing one in future projects. Islands are becoming design focal points with distinct color cabinetry and/or countertops. Unique and textural cabinetry, as well as wrap-around seating, are trending island design choices [].
Biophilic design is driving the desire for larger windows, glass doors, and window walls in kitchens. 66 percent of survey takers plan to incorporate larger windows into their projects, allowing for a stronger connection with nature and bringing the outdoors into the kitchen [].
Sustainability is a growing concern in kitchen design. 51 percent of respondents consider the longevity of products when purchasing appliances, aiming for fewer replacements. Designers are also focusing on water-conserving and energy-efficient products. Homeowners are increasingly donating used products during kitchen renovations, with a significant percentage donating cabinetry and appliances. Storage for recycling and composting is also being prioritized [].
I hope this information provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the concepts mentioned in the article. If you have any further questions or need more details, feel free to ask!