For years, our kitchens have been dominated by bland, white-on-white palettes, granite countertops, and stainless-steel appliances. “Neutral” has been the reigning buzzword.
But are you growing weary of playing it safe? Eager to put your decor in the blender and mix it up? Luckily, 2019 is delivering for change agents. This year, we’re tossing neutral design schemes out the window and embracing our collective desire to make a statement.
Yes, the kitchen mood for this year is moody.
We’ve identified the leading kitchen design trends—all you need to do is let them marinate. Think bold colors, bigger backsplashes, and new looks for a space that’s always on display.
Here’s a look at what to expect this year in kitchen design.
1. Dark and moody colors
Photo by DEANE Inc | Rooms Everlasting
“Get ready to see kitchen trends take a turn this year from light and airy to dark and moody,” says Leslie Bowman, interior designer and founder of The Design Bar in Chicago. “While white will certainly still find its way into designs through glistening subway tiles and countertops, the white-on-white aesthetic has seen its day.”
In particular, expect to see darker saturated hues, such as blues and greens, trending in kitchens this year, says Annabel Joy, interior designer and founder of Trim Design Co. in Boston.
“We think Rosemary green will be the MVP of 2019,” she says. “It’s the perfect marriage of muted sage with deep forest, and it looks great with the current matte-black hardware trend as well as with perma-popular brass.”
2. Elevated farmhouse
Apologies to those with “Fixer Upper” fatigue: The modern farmhouse look made famous by Joanna Gaines isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But if you’re looking for a new twist, you’re in luck, Bowman says. In 2019, farmhouse will continue evolving, evoking less of a country chic vibe and coming in hard with cleaned-up contemporary finish.
“You can expect to see the farmhouse aesthetic become a bit more refined and transitional with a heavier lean toward bolder, elegant kitchen designs,” she says.
“Think of it like this: Farmhouse went to rehab and took a nice, long nap,” adds Justin Riordan, founder of Portland, OR–based Spade and Archer Design Agency. “There’s noting shabby or rustic about it. It’s a refined, more masculine version of farmhouse.” That’ll mean no knots in the wood and plenty of pristine lines, he says.
Think: gold hardware, elegant light fixtures, and use of colors instead of an all-white design.
3. Open shelving
Photo by Houzz
The debate over open shelving has raged on for several years now. While some of us prefer to hide our kitchen gadgets and gizmos behind opaque cabinetry, others of us live to show off our Instagram-worthy counters and shelves, says Jacqueline Gonzalez Touzet, architect and designer at Touzet Studio in Miami.
And because of those people, open shelving will continue to have a foothold in our kitchens in 2019; but this year, we’re taking things a step further. It’s not just cookware and Smeg appliances we’re showing off on our floating shelves.
“People like to express their individuality and curate their collections in their upper cabinets and shelving,” Touzet says. “They don’t want cookie cutter, and the open shelving blurs the line between kitchen and living space. We have clients that showcase collections or display books or art in their kitchens.”
4. The end of tiny tile backsplash
Photo by Rethink Design Studio
“For years now we have had the same [rectangular] tile backsplash used as the color accent in the kitchen,” Riordan says. “Thank goodness it’s finally falling out of style.”
In its place, we’re seeing bigger, bolder patterns that sometimes remove the need for backsplash entirely.
“More and more walls are being completely covered with either tile, or a solid surface like quartz from the floor to the ceiling—and we love it,” Riordan says. “We could not be happier with the clean, finished look.”
5. Everything cast iron
Photo by Glideware
Any design-oriented homeowner knows that kitchen cookware is as much of a decor choice as the backsplash or cabinetry that surrounds it. And in 2019, our utensils, pots, and pans are changing, too.
“We’re seeing cookware shy away from chemical-laden Teflon and nonstick, and heading directly for traditional, good, old-fashioned cast iron,” Riordan says. “It takes some getting used to, as the pans are never washed with soap, but man oh man there are some beautiful American-made, cast-iron cookware out there.”
Hang these prominently in your kitchen to make a statement about the culinary expert you are.
6. Sustainable materials
Photo by Jenn Hannotte / Hannotte Interiors
While wood floors and granite countertops aren’t going out of style anytime soon, we’re beginning to look for ways to infuse our kitchens with more eco-friendly design features. Examples: bamboo flooring, countertops made out of recycled materials, or even the leftovers from wine night.
“Sustainable materials like cork are being used in unexpected ways like flooring and even backsplash,” says Trim Design’s Joy.
If you love the environment but are nervous about making such a big change, start small: Add recycling stations to your kitchen, or swap out your window dressings and chair cushions for natural fabrics.
Heather Donahoe contributed to this report.
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