The kitchen’s role in the home has dramatically changed over the past few decades. While many kitchens were once located in the back of the home and used only for preparing meals and washing dishes, it’s now common for the kitchen to serve as a focal point in the home where family and friends congregate. In fact, many households spend more time in the kitchen than they do in the living room. 

With that said, it should come as no surprise that kitchen design trends tend to evolve (or remerge) as time passes. As of 2020, homeowners are concerned with two primary factors: function and aesthetics. These two factors often overlap when choosing kitchen designs. But to simplify the process as you plan your kitchen overhaul or refresh, we’ve separated 20 of the leading kitchen trends of 2020 into those very categories. From broken-floor layouts to concealed storage to large-slab backsplashes, below are some kitchen trends to keep in mind for your fall upgrade.

 

FUNCTIONAL KITCHEN TRENDS 

Let’s start by discussing some of the biggest kitchen trends in 2020 in regards to creating a functional space:

1. Broken-Plan Layout 

For years, open-plan layouts—which make for a seamless connection between the kitchen, living room, and dining area—have ruled trend lists. Now emerging is a “broken-plan” layout. This type of layout aims to retain the spaciousness of an open plan while incorporating zones, which is done through the use of freestanding furniture, cabinetry, screens, and other fixtures. 

2. Smart Tech

As with other rooms of the home, kitchens are becoming smarter each year. Homeowners can add smart tech to their kitchens at various levels—from installing a single smart gadget such as an automatic coffee maker to equipping the kitchen will a whole suite of tech (e.g., smart refrigerator, smart lighting, motion-sense faucet, etc.). This makes smart tech the perfect category for homeowners, whether you’re looking for a minor refresh or an all-out renovation.

3. Seamless Appliances

Given the everyday stressors of life, more and more homeowners are opting for simple, streamlined designs in their kitchens. One of the best ways to achieve this is to install appliances that blend in seamlessly with cabinetry and other surroundings. Counter-depth refrigerators and built-in ovens are examples of appliances that can add function and appeal to any kitchen.

4. Concealed Storage

Unless you don’t really use your kitchen for preparing meals, chances are you need to store a lot of things in the space. One trend that is continuing from recent years is concealed storage, which is exactly what the name suggests: storing items where no one can see them. While concealed storage can enhance all types of kitchens, it’s particularly useful for smaller spaces. And it can be accomplished in many ways—from built-in appliances to pull-out larders, from pop-up shelves to departmental drawers. 

5. Curated StorageKitchen Cabinets

In addition to concealing storage, many homeowners are displaying more items in the kitchen. However, this is done with thoughtfulness to the kitchen’s design and visual spaces. That is, having a curated kitchen is not counterintuitive to using concealed storage. 

Displaying curated storage is all about putting the right mixture of items out on open shelves, glazed cabinets, racks, and countertops. Making recipe books, artwork, decorative ceramics, and other personal treasures a part of your kitchen’s design can add a comforting appeal while keeping clutter to a minimum. 

6. Larder Units 

These are nothing new, as larder units have been a thing for hundreds of years. However, they’re in particular demand as of late, and for good reason. Larders have great storage capacity, which frees up a lot of space in other areas of the kitchen. Traditionally, larders have been pantries tucked away in a corner of the kitchen, but modern larders are being used for a mixture of storage and displaying attractive items in the center of the wall. 

7. Utility Rooms

Going a step further, utility rooms are seeing a rise in popularity. Typically set off from the kitchen, these ancillary spaces can serve various purposes, whether it’s as a mudroom, pantry, or storage for extra dishes. 

8. Multipurpose Kitchen Islands

Not too long ago, kitchen islands were often an afterthought in the design of a kitchen. In fact, homeowners would typically squeeze in a small island just to have something to set things on. Now, however, kitchen islands are a focal point that serves many purposes—from storing pots and pans to being the family dinner table. And they’re a lot bigger than they used to be, primarily because they are accounting for less space in wall cabinetry. 

9. Boiling Water Taps

Boiling water taps are gaining popularity because of their practicality, safety, and efficiency. They basically allow you to quickly access boiling water from your kitchen faucet, which cuts down on the wasted water and energy that often comes with using kettles. 

 

AESTHETIC KITCHEN TRENDS 

Now that we’ve discussed some of the functional kitchen trends of 2020, let’s explore some of the more aesthetic trends that you should consider for your kitchen upgrade:

10. Dark Cabinetry

White cabinets will never go out of style, but dark cabinets are beginning to steal some of the spotlight. Deep finishes like ebony, walnut, and espresso are trending right now because of their rich, luxurious appeal. Even black cabinets are being chosen more frequently than in recent years. Dark colors work especially well in kitchens with plenty of open space and natural light. 

11. Dark Walls

Dark walls are also having a moment in kitchen design. When combined with rustic and natural elements, black and dark grey walls can invoke a sense of comfort and luxury in the atmosphere. Of course, you will also want a fair share of pop with lighter colors throughout the space. 

12. Extra-Colorful Spaces

On the other side of the coin, kitchens with colorful schemes are also gaining popularity. This is especially true of green. Forest greens, and the rich natural elements they provide, have been a classic kitchen color for many years. However, earthy mid-greens and pale greens are becoming go-to’s for a more contemporary feel. Other shades that are trending right now include soft grey and dusty pink. 

13. Two-Toning

Yet another color trend, two-tone kitchens are increasing in popularity. Picking two contrasting colors can do wonders for providing a balance of depth and character. For example, you could opt for navy blue cabinetry and bar stools with a bright orange island. Add in a few subtle nods to these two colors with fixtures and decorative items, and you can have the perfect mixture of cohesion and personality. 

14. Boosting Natural Light

Natural light comes with a slew of physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. And as people are spending more time in their kitchens, it comes as no surprise that sunlight is becoming more of a priority. One common update that homeowners are making is replacing the small window in front of the sink with a larger one. And you can also add entry points to outdoor living areas (e.g., patio, deck, outdoor kitchen, etc.) from the kitchen. This can be accomplished easily by installing a glass door. 

15. Concrete Surfaces

Industrial kitchen designs that incorporate raw materials have never been more popular. And concrete is one of the most effective materials for accomplishing such a design. 

Not only does its solidity and durability make concrete great for worktops and flooring, but it’s a very versatile finish when it comes to aesthetics. And it leaves a lot of space for adding unique accents through color and texture. 

16. Quartz Countertops 

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When it comes to countertops, quartz is still at the top. This is for a number of reasons. For one, quartz is extremely durable and easy to maintain. It also comes in a lot more options than it used to. Designs and textures that were once only available in marble and granite countertops are now available in quartz. With realistic imitations of stone patterns as an option, more and more homeowners are choosing quartz over natural stone, which is typically less durable and requires more maintenance. 

17. Marble Countertops

It’s important to note that even though quartz is leading the way in countertop material, there has been a resurgence as of late with marble. The luxurious character of marble countertops and worktops is a major trend, and we’re talking about the busy, extra-veined marble. And the best part? You can find several types of these designs in quartz. 

18. Backsplashes With Large Slabs

Backsplashes are among the fastest-changing elements of kitchen design, and it can be hard to keep up with the current trends. However, for the foreseeable future, it’s safe to bet on the philosophy of “bigger is better” when it comes to backsplashes. 

While subway tiles have been a staple in kitchen design for years, even those are declining in popularity—except for large subway tiles, of course. Now, homeowners are opting for tiles with a variety of textures and patterns. And while natural texture and neutral patterns will likely always be in style, your kitchen can stand out by incorporating a backsplash that pops with color. 

Also, we’re seeing more wall space covered with a backsplash in kitchens. In some cases, backsplashes go from the countertop to the ceiling, replacing what would traditionally be the cabinetry. These large slabs are coming in many forms, including quartz, marble, glass, stainless steel, wood, and copper. 

19. Mixing Metals

The trend of having matching metals is on its way out. An example of this would be having a faucet, sink, light fixtures, and appliances all in a brushed nickel/stainless steel finish. 

Gaining in popularity is the idea of mixing materials like stainless steel, gold, copper, and/or black. A tasteful example of this would be to install a gold sink with nickel or black hardware. Having two or three elements in a matching finish is a great way to tie in a common theme without being too matchy-matchy. 

20. Ladders

This is a feature that serves both a functional and aesthetic purpose. Ladders are experiencing a reemergence of a sort, as homeowners are gaining a new appreciation for the practical style and application they can add to their kitchens. When it comes down to it, ladders look awesome, wherever you put them. And for kitchens, especially smaller ones, they allow easy access to vertical space, which can be used for storage. Don’t hesitate to maximize that space all the way to the ceiling! 

Conclusion

If you’re like countless other homeowners, you use your kitchen space a lot. And if your kitchen is outdated, or you’re simply unhappy with its design, then a refresh or renovation may be in order. But that’s not the only factor to consider here. Pumping some life into your kitchen space can do wonders for resale value as well, which will prove especially beneficial should you ever sell your home. 

Be sure to consider the latest kitchen design trends discussed here, and continue your research as you plan out your upgrades/remodel project. And if you want expert advice and/or service along the way, Queen City Kitchen and Bath is open and ready to work with you—either by phone, online, or a video conference!