Kitchen Trends 2019: The New Traditional Kitchen
I’ll admit, at first I was hesitant to put out a post about kitchen trends on my blog. After all, I often refer to the fact that the luxury home market doesn’t react to trends in the same way as other sectors of the market do. However, I think there is still value for anyone contemplating a remodel or a new home in the coming year to make themselves aware of the trends in play.
While I always advocate designing your home for YOU - not your friends. Frankly, sometimes you just have to consider home values and the possibility that you’re going to need to sell your house within the next ten years. If you completely disregard the long term trends with big-ticket items like your cabinetry, flooring, and tile, you’ll need to be prepared to pay dearly for that choice.
Since all long term trends are fairly cyclical, it is helpful to be aware of the progression. Knowing what’s coming into style now, helps you to predict what will be next and plan accordingly.
Trends, whether they be short or long term, can be a refreshing eye-opener. I’ve definitely learned things about design. My philosophy has evolved, in part, thanks to certain trends giving me a new perspective on something I hadn’t thought about before. For example, the open shelving trend has forever changed the way that I view the function and appearance of upper cabinets. When I first started in this business, almost 20 years ago, everyone just lined up the boxes on the wall. Spicing them up with a pretty crown was about the pinnacle of our aspirations. How far we’ve come!
The most exciting thing about where we’re going with kitchen trends in 2019 is that this is the year of the Big Blend. Lovers of the traditional aesthetic and contemporary enthusiasts no longer need to each stay in their separate lanes. While a mixture of styles has been on the rise for the past few years, I think we’ll see more crossover now than in the past. This year, designers will be all about capturing the warmth of traditional kitchens (with wood tones, stone, and other textures) but will also be borrowing a restrained sensibility from modern design. This masterful mix is what is referred to as the New Traditional kitchen. It reflects a movement away from the “more is more” philosophy of years past. Take a look below and see if you can envision any of these ideas in your kitchen.
My Predictions for Kitchen Trends 2019:
1) TILED RANGE HOODS
I’ve been observing the emergence of tiled range hoods over the last two years, although typically with more contemporary kitchens. However, I think we’ll see it start to cross over and mix with more transitional - maybe even traditional kitchens this year. If you have a pretty tile and you want to create a focal point with that element, why have the hood compete with it? The hood practically disappears when wrapped with the same tile as the wall, allowing other design features in the room to shine, such as the La Cornue range and adjoining cabinetry in the image below.
2) MARBLE LEDGES
Remember 20 years ago when it was considered “high-end” just to have a full-height backsplash that came all the way up to the bottom of your wall cabinets? Then that idea progressed to tiling all the way to the ceiling. It’s just like skirt hemlines in fashion…now they’re up…now they’re down, etc. So now it’s très chic to cap your marble backsplash (sans wall cabinets of course) with a matching marble ledge/shelf. It’s an evolution of the floating wood shelf concept - which seems a bit overdone now.
3) RUSTIC STONE WALLS AND FLOORINGS
I’m excited that we’re seeing a return of stone and texture, in general, to our homes. It’s like a dear friend who upped and moved to Europe for a couple of years and has finally decided to move back. I’m seeing quite a few examples of it used vertically on the walls, while the floors remain wood, which I think is interesting. If you love the comfort of wood floors underfoot but admire the look of stone, well, here ya go. By the way, I’ve got some great resources for beautiful stone (including reclaimed antique stone floors). If you’re interested, be sure to check out my Luxury Resource Library at the bottom of the page!
Source: Jessie D. Miller Design
4) BRASS EVERYTHING
Brass is just...E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E…this year. If the trend is not peaking, then it’s very close to peaking. The brass & glass shelving trend is, therefore, still going strong. Not only are we seeing a lot of brass used in kitchens (pulls, hoods, ranges, sinks, plumbing fixtures, etc.), but brass inlay is also really trending. There are wood floors with brass inlay bands; backsplash tile with brass inlay; and even some cabinetry with integrated brass inlay. Inlays are also showing up in the furniture world with casegood furnishings.
Source: The Fox Group
5) WATERFALL COUNTERTOPS
Ok, so I know these aren’t exactly new. We’ve been seeing them quite a bit for the last five years. However, since I’m predicting that we’ll see more blending of traditional and contemporary elements this year, I think you can count on seeing more waterfall countertops crop up in classically inspired kitchens. It will be all about that juxtaposition.
Source: Bria Hammel Interiors
6) WHITE MIXED WITH LIGHT WOOD TONES
In a nutshell, the white everything kitchen (white cabinets, white walls, white countertops, etc) is out. We’re already starting to see less of that. Some people are even declaring the white kitchen to be dead. That’s going too far, in my opinion. White is a classic and will always be prominent. However, I do think you shouldn’t do a white-white-white kitchen and expect it to look interesting anymore. It’s just been so over-done for so long, and it’s so…so…so…boring. Mixing it up a bit is now the trend. Light wood tones are the new dance partner for white in 2019. Stick with natural woods - with clear lacquer finishes (no stain), if possible, for an updated look and one that won’t date as quickly as the weathered and distressed finishes. White counters look especially fresh with these light wood tones.
Source: Park & Oak Design via Instagram
7) BACKLESS CABINETS
Backless cabinets may not be trending to the point of being mainstream, but I’ve been noticing some significant influencers jumping on board of this lovely bandwagon. Still, I’m repeating this image from an earlier post, How To Make Your Kitchen Beautiful with Pretty Cabinet Details, because it so perfectly captures the benefit of going with open-backed wall cabinets. The existing trend to ditch the uppers and have open shelving is all about creating that light, airy look. Going with open-backed cabinets is a great way to have your cake and eat it too. I suggest you only employ this trend if you have a backsplash that is genuinely worth showing off. An amazing marble slab backsplash would look phenomenal with glass, backless cabinetry as well.
Source: Lindye Galloway Interiors
8) LACQUERED CABINETRY
If you’re looking for examples of the high-gloss look that is cropping up in painted cabinetry, look no further than the Instagram feed of Mr. Christopher Peacock. Easily 1/3 of the projects that he has posted lately are sporting glossy perfection. Lacquered finishes are being used mostly in butler’s pantries (with bold color choices), but it works well with lighter colors in a bigger room as well.
Source: Christopher Peacock via Instagram
9) SHELVING IN FRONT OF WINDOWS
This is one of those trends that’s just having a “moment.” I get why this is popular - it goes right along with that open, light-filled kitchen thing. The particular combination of simple subway tile, elegant wood-stained cabinetry, and the beautiful ceiling mounted shelving in the image below is quite striking. Honestly, though, I don’t think this is a very practical idea. While this looks great in the photo, there are a lot of downsides to this trend. Maintenance being the big one. However, if you love the look, I say go for it, but just make sure that your kitchen design is appealing to you without those shelves as well. Because trust me…in 4 to 5 years, you are going to want to take those suckers down.
Source: Katie Hackworth
10) OPEN STORAGE ISLAND
I think it’s safe to say that the overall trend in kitchen design today is to create a less “boxed-in” look. We’re no longer trying to squeeze in as many cabinets as we can between the four corners of the room. That goes for the lower cabinets, as well as the uppers. So I think the increase in open storage islands falls right into step with that. There are hardcore traditionalists who believe that the kitchen island really should be just a table, as it was historically. Most people, however, will appreciate some storage capacity in their island. If the openness of the island below is too much for you, try incorporating this trend into a single unit at the end of your island. The littlest effort to create a less “blocky” island can make quite a big difference.
Source: Summer Thornton via House Beautiful
11) GREEN KITCHENS
While Green, in general, is not ready to kick Blue to the curb quite yet, it’s definitely set up shop and giving notice that it’s the new neutral. Man, I remember some hunter green chairs that I bought in the early 90s. I thought “I love green, it never goes out of style,” and then a few years later I wouldn’t cross the street to throw water on them if they were on fire. Admittedly, I probably got on board the green trend right as it was going down, so that was my mistake. Hop on this trend now and you’ll have a nice long ride. It does look so fresh and comforting after a decade of blue, doesn’t it?
Source: Traditional Home
12) WOOD PLANKED CEILINGS
Looking for ways to bring more texture into your kitchen design? Have you considered your ceiling? It does take some courage to drop big bucks on your ceiling, but wow, it’s worth it when it’s done well. I’ve been seeing a lot of beautifully designed kitchens with wood planks or wood herringbone-patterned ceilings, and I think we’ll continue to see more of that in the new year.
Source: Remedy 2 Design
13) SOAPSTONE COUNTERS
Sometimes I think I’m the only person in America who isn’t in love with quartz countertops. I love marble. I love quartzite (which is a natural stone and completely different from quartz, FYI). But I’ve always been concerned that quartz was just the new Corian of our decade. It’s fake, and fake doesn’t age well. Most fake things that we think are so awesome for a few years become the most embarrassing things in our homes a few years later. In a decade, I can just see some young couple touring a house for sale with their realtor and snickering at the quartz countertops. My advice is to stick with the natural materials. Luckily, soapstone counters are making a resurgence in popularity. They’ve never been “out” in my opinion, but there’s renewed enthusiasm for them again because they are authentic and natural. Just check out the beautiful kitchen below.
Source: Hendricks Churchill
14) LEADED GLASS DOORS
Not only have I been noticing more leaded glass doors as a way to make your glass cabinetry interesting, but I’ve also observed an uptick in leaded glass used in exterior doors/windows and interior doors. Combined with a cleaner aesthetic, they feel fresh and new again.
Source: Tracy Lynn Studio
Well, there you have it. In summary, I think we’ll see plenty of white kitchens this year, but designers are looking for more ways to make them unique with interesting tonal and textural elements. We’ll also see some stand-out kitchens in a moodier palette, as well as high-gloss finishes. The lines between transitional and traditional will continue to blur as we see an evolving look which pairs elements from each world. It’s an exhilarating time to be a kitchen designer!
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