In the first installment of this three-part 2020 residential design forecast series, we covered the macro trends driving design preferences. It’s helpful to understand the values and priorities homeowners are bringing to their kitchen and bath decision-making when looking at what they’re requesting.
In this second installment, we’ll look at residential kitchen design trends. The third part of the series will focus on residential bathroom design trends.
I’ve asked these design industry colleagues to weigh in on what they’re predicting for 2020:
Space Planning And Layout Trends
Before a single cabinet or appliance is selected, designers and homeowners decide on the room’s overall layout. All of the experts were united in open plans continuing their popularity into the new year, but with different levels of openness.
“We see thousands of kitchen renovations a year,” shares Brownhill, “and one of the trends we’re noticing is the move to semi-open spaces.” What that looks like, she observes, is “using decorative architectural elements like archways to define ‘zones’ without closing off the room entirely.” These can help hide kitchen messes to an extent, while still supporting engagement with friends and family while preparing meals.
“People want space to entertain and converse inside the kitchen,” Pickens points out, “which means more islands and more large window installations. Houses built over 30 years ago often need to be renovated to accommodate the shift in consumer priority,” he notes.
“We’ll continue to see fewer wall cabinets and more windows – even walls of windows,” predicts Costa. “People want light in their spaces, and a connection to nature,” the editor adds. “That means more creative, space-smart and multifunctional storage will be essential.”
Let’s take a look at what that storage looks like. Costa includes “drawers with interiors customized for the specific storage needs of the consumer, floating shelves, islands with hidden charging stations, pet stations tucked into toekick areas” and more.
“Hidden” is a key trend, Alfano says. “Kitchen cabinetry is acting more like furniture with flat panels and integrated hardware. Our appliances are starting to be hidden and not visible in our kitchens. Hidden hardware for soft touch drawers, and lift-up cabinets show thoughtful functionality,” she adds.
While appliances are going into hiding, collections are coming out, Crowder shares. “This means instead of having a bank of cabinets with doors, the new style is moving more towards floating shelves with a combination of glass-front cabinets. This concept really opens up the kitchen,” the new construction designer explains.
“Soft close everything will remain popular,” Garcia predicts, a trend we’ve seen grow from just soft close drawers in semi-custom and custom cabinetry to soft close doors and drawers now available at multiple levels. “Cabinet interiors will include many organization solutions from pull-outs to drawer inserts and lighting inside the cabinetry will become more prevalent,” she adds.
Lighting is increasingly being used in cabinetry, both for functionality and style. “People are continuing to renovate their kitchens and ‘soften’ their spaces with under-cabinet lighting, as well as within the cabinet drawers for easy accessibility and visibility of pots, pans, utensils, etc.,” Brownhill shares.
Stylewise, white, shaker kitchens will continue to trend, experts agree, but add that black and walnut combinations, slab doors and bold color will also play a role.
“Most designers consider convection and induction cooking more of a trend than a fad and these will become more common on homeowners’ wish lists in the coming year,” predicts researcher Gallagher. “Unique ventilation hoods are more on trend than perhaps ever before. This, along with consumers’ better understanding the importance of ventilation and a disdain for over the range microwaves will make hoods more of a focus in design discussions than it used to be.”
Technology is making a strong statement in the appliance category, Crowder says. “Many appliances can now talk to your household technology. Convenience is the name of the game and appliances that make your life easier sound good to me,” the new construction designer enthuses.
HGTV’s Pickens is taking a more wait-and-see approach on kitchen technology, he reports. “I think consumers remain skeptical, since tech changes so frequently.” The challenge, as many in the industry see it, is for manufacturers to create more benefits of the kind Crowder extols, and fewer issues – including security and obsolescence – in using them.
Cabinetmaker and social media leader Garcia predicts that induction will gain in popularity as homeowners learn about its capabilities and low maintenance. Another trend that may increase its adoption is the emergence of sustainability codes eliminating gas as a residential option.
Since you’re probably wondering by now about appliance finishes, the experts agree that stainless steel will continue to dominate in 2020, but mixed finishes, color and glass touch screens will also also trend.
Countertop And Flooring Trends
Gallagher predicts that quartz – i.e., engineered stone – countertops will continue their takeover of granite. This has been the trend for a number of years, and shows no sign of waning. Garcia adds that these stone tops are being designed into bar and island overhangs with hidden supports, rather than bulky corbels, for a sleeker, more modern look.
Another material coming on strong for countertops is porcelain. “Porcelain slabs are proving to be more durable than granite and maintenance free,” explains Alfano. She also sees porcelain being used for backsplashes.
Porcelain is also a popular choice for kitchen flooring. The designer and influencer sees it becoming less neutral and more fashion forward. “We will see more surprising textures, unique shapes and richer veining.” She also sees larger tiles trending, to create a sleek modern vibe. “The new standard is 24 by 24 inches, with large rectangular tiles – measuring 24 by 48 inches.”
Sinks And Faucets
“Faucets with motion or hands-free technology have moved more mainstream already, but will continue to be sought-after in the coming year onward given the increased focus on wellness,” Gallagher says. KBDN’s Costa agrees, seeing technology showing up in faucets that deliver a pre-programmed amount of water, (to fill a pot, dog bowl, etc.), offering touch or wave on/off functionality and including smart sensors that prevent accidental flooding. Alfano is also seeing a trend toward smart-dispensing faucets. As far as the sinks with which they’re paired, pro-style chef sinks continue to trend.
Stylewise, black and brushed gold finishes are trending, as are smaller profile faucets with clean designs.