Design decisions are important in every room of the home, but never more so than in the kitchen. The space where you cook, dine, and also entertain needs to be practical – but also stylish. But more than that, the fixtures and fittings are incredibly expensive and difficult to change once installed. So knowing which kitchen trends to avoid, which are just passing fads to be resisted is essential to ensure your space stays in vogue for seasons to come.
Kitchen trends, like all trends, are a provocative talking point amongst designers. Most good designers will tell you to avoid 'trends' and choose timeless, proven design features for a classic scheme that endures. That said, some trends are worth taking note of, because they showcase the newest kitchen ideas, innovations and materials. But while some features may look great in some spaces, others may need some reconsideration.
So which kitchen trends to avoid and what to go for instead? We investigate below.
5 kitchen trends to avoid – according to design experts
These are the five kitchen trends that designers urge you to rethink this 2022.
1. All-white kitchens
White will always have a place in the kitchen, whether that's through painted cabinetry or a marble countertop. However, going all-white is a design mistake that may make your space feel soulless and instantly more outdated, say experts.
'All-white kitchens are too cold and sterile,' says North Carolina-based designer Tula Summerford from Design by Tula (opens in new tab). To modernize your white kitchen ideas, Tula suggests interrupting your cold palette with warm hues, wood, or stone accessories. This will add depth and interest whilst bringing the space into the contemporary day.
Kitchen designer John Starck of Showcase Kitchens (opens in new tab) agrees. He adds that recent color trends have seen people turn away from the all-white aesthetic to experiment with more playful hues that will keep up with the rest of the home.
'With more people working from home and home-entertaining experiencing an ongoing boom, a desire for color palettes that coordinate with the rest of the home is picking up steam,' he says. 'Some clients have taken the opportunity to add bolder accent colors in their kitchens, while others choose relaxed color palettes that blend without calling attention to the kitchen.'
2. Open-plan kitchens
'When it comes to kitchen layout ideas, first, you should consider zoning the space instead of going with a free open plan layout,' says the founder of the eponymous bespoke kitchen makers. Open-plan design has dominated interior design trends both in the kitchen and beyond, but the designer suggests that its reign may be coming to an end.
People are, instead, looking to separate their food-prep stations from their entertaining spaces – so they can work, relax and dine in specifically zoned areas.
'Kitchen zones can include cooking, prep, entertaining, dining, consumables, and cleaning. Having designated areas will allow you to store and organize items efficiently,' he says.
3. Patterned backsplashes
When used correctly, patterned tiles are an impactful way of bringing a sense of escapism to a space – and may even work well if you're looking to add some color to your all-white kitchen. However, designer Nishtha Sadana (opens in new tab) suggests avoiding these tiles on your kitchen backsplash.
'Busy patterns on the backsplash can make it appear loud and unappealing,' she says. The designer explains that subtle vintage tiles may work in this space, but you should avoid a 'busy' pattern to prevent your space from looking too chaotic. '[It] will only worsen the ambiance of your kitchen,' she adds.
4. Open shelving
The open shelving debate is a favorite amongst designers, but real estate experts have warned that this kitchen shelving trend may be impacting more than just your home's aesthetics.
'Open-kitchen shelving looks good if you're immaculate but should also be used sparingly. Otherwise, it's a highly impractical design feature and difficult to maintain,' warns Ryan Kaplan (opens in new tab), real estate agent for Douglas Elliman. And even if you're not looking to sell, it may be better to experiment with this fashionable storage idea in rooms beyond the kitchen.
'Avoid large spans of open shelving. Kitchens are greasy, so when there is a combination of airborne grease collecting onto dusty surfaces, it leaves you with a frustrating mess to clean, adds Christine Tanaka, a designer from Harmony Interiors (opens in new tab) in Minneapolis.
Christine recommends choosing 'enclosed cabinetry whenever possible' – but you should opt for cabinets with glass doors if you still want to display your favorite dinnerware, vases, and wine glasses.
1st Dibs' recent Interior Design Trend Survey (opens in new tab) revealed that navy is falling out of favor amongst homeowners – but this is especially the case in the kitchen.
'Navy is a tone that is often used to create a moody look in the kitchen, but it has been overdone over the last few years,' Christine says.
However, if you're still looking to incorporate navy into your design, the designer recommends keeping the tone in one area of the room, for example, on your kitchen island only. 'Repainting an island is much simpler than repainting a whole kitchen worth of cabinetry,' she adds.
Will you rethink any of the design decisions in your kitchen?
Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.
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