When style, technology, and functionality are fused in perfect balance, you get a kitchen that’s more than the sum of its parts. Here’s how to turn your home kitchen into an oasis.
By KitchenAid Contributor
HOME / HOME & DESIGN
2021 was a year of alternative aesthetics. If it’s “traditional,” it’s not happening. These kitchen design trends are all about breaking outside the norm of how a conventional kitchen looks, feels, and functions, and instead treats the kitchen like any other rooms in the house. It’s about being playful and adding interest to a space that might not always get the attention it deserves.
If there’s one thing last year taught us, it’s the importance of enjoying our homes as we want them to look, especially our kitchens. Toss out rules about what’s supposed to go in a kitchen or what a kitchen is supposed to look like and 2022 will see a continuation in this direction. These trends blur the lines between kitchen and other areas of the home in a way that elevates the possibilities of kitchen design in an exciting way. These design ideas also unify the kitchen with the rest of the home.
Many current kitchen design trends take a spin on new uses for traditional materials, play around with whimsical window treatments, lay out some funky floor décor, and unabashedly mix décor and patterns from different eras and themes. It’s all about having fun.
These are some of our favorite kitchen design trends because the kitchen isn’t just another room of the house, and it’s so much more than a place to prepare food. These kitchen design trends highlight what we love about our kitchens: the endless possibilities to create, gather, and enjoy.
“It’s about being playful and adding interest to a space that might not always get the attention it deserves.”
THE CONCEALED KITCHEN
This fascinating design trend transforms your kitchen into a more versatile space by concealing common features of a kitchen like major appliances, fixtures, and even the kitchen sink. Panel ready appliances and discreet use of cabinetry turns the kitchen into a space that feels as cozy as a living room but with the utility of a full kitchen.
Also referred to as the “invisible kitchen,” this design trend blurs the lines from one room to the next as the kitchen looks more like other rooms in the house. Concealing parts of your kitchen that “make it a kitchen” can create a sense of unity throughout a home and open the possibilities for more décor options since it doesn’t feel solely like a kitchen. You aren’t pinned to only what’s considered kitchen décor, and that feels really liberating from a design perspective.
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However, discretion is not at the cost of functionality. In fact, the opposite is true. Concealed or invisible kitchens add functionality to the space by adding more cabinetry, counter space, or storage.
There are several ways to try out the concealed kitchen trend. One way is to conceal your refrigerator. It’s one of the largest appliances of the kitchen and you’ll instantly know you’re in a kitchen when you see a refrigerator. Opt for a built-in, panel ready model and match existing cabinetry or explore new options to revamp your kitchen.
Welcome back wallpaper, sink skirts, and linoleum flooring. These decorative throwbacks inspire our next favorite kitchen design trend: retro revival.
Let’s talk wallpaper. This is a kitchen design trend that’s been growing in popularity for years and it’s really come front and center as a way to add a lot of color and design to kitchens without having to do major renovations or more permanent changes like paint. It’s relatively easy to hang wallpaper and it’s easy to match patterns to your kitchen décor. Wallpaper is an on trend change that perks up a kitchen by adding interest and depth in a room you might not expect to see wallpaper. This wall treatment also softens the room while adding texture.
The skirted sink is a throwback to the 1940s when pieces of fabric would be hung to conceal bulky plumbing under a sink, or to hide storage. Today, we’re seeing sink skirts reemerge as a way to add softness to kitchens, playfulness, and yes, even added options for storage. The good thing about this trend is that it can be used in almost any style of kitchen. Farmhouse? Try a material like jute or burlap. Midcentury Modern? Try a soft cotton skirt in softer hues of ivory or beige.
Is there anything more classic than checkered flooring? We’re seeing more checkered patterns popping up in kitchens, especially the vintage iconic black and white checkered flooring. Black and white is such a classic color combo that lends itself to a lot of possibilities. It’s a non-traditional spin on a traditionally classic design trend that we can really get behind. Even linoleum is making a comeback, which is a material known for its durability and ease to clean. Maybe it’s time to rethink your kitchen floors and throw it back for some vintage vibes.
MARBLE, MESH & MIXED MATERIALS
Expect to see a lot of playfulness around the use of alternative and mixed materials in the kitchen. It’s an excellent way to add in some contrasting elements for interest and intrigue. The kitchen doesn’t have to be just a place for appliances and dishes; it can also be a space for the unexpected.
Mesh wire cabinets are a spin on traditional glass front cabinetry. Adding a decorative mesh insert to existing cabinets gives your kitchen instant appeal without a lot of work. If you want to have an exposed look without too much clutter, this trend is for you. These decorative accents come in a lot of different patterns and materials. One of our favorite materials to use in this mesh design is copper since it adds texture and a sophisticated touch to almost any cabinet style or décor. And you can also strategically install wire mesh over just some of your cabinets to break up an area of paneled cabinetry.
“The kitchen doesn’t have to be just a place for appliances and dishes; it can also be a space for the unexpected.”
Marble is a naturally dramatic element that adds instant wow factor. Marble countertops have been popular for a few years, but now single slab marble backsplashes are making a major statement, replacing other traditional backsplash materials like tile. Marble slab backsplashes add accent to your kitchen’s overall design and can brighten up an area that may be a bit dim. Marble is also incredibly durable and easy to clean. Want to take it up a notch? Try colored marble.
We hope the trend of mixed metallics is here to stay. The contrast of metal and other materials like vinyl or wood creates such unique texture. It really stands out. A great example of juxtaposing unexpected materials pulls on another current kitchen design trend: vinyl countertops. Pair vinyl countertops with a metallic tin tiles backsplash for a little retro rustic revival experience.
CEILING AS THE FIFTH WALL
The kitchen ceiling is truly an undiscovered blank canvas of the kitchen. It’s time to rethink your kitchen ceiling and give it some extra attention with paint, stencils, molding, tiles, and dramatic lighting.
This trend elevates the ceiling as more than simply a place to hang lighting, with interesting ways to bring attention up. Incorporating the ceiling into your overall kitchen design has a way of tying a room together. One of our favorite ways to do this is with ceiling tiles. You can find ceiling tiles in different materials, patterns, colors, and sizes making it a versatile way to achieve a dramatic yet highly personalized look. If you have a coffered ceiling, paint or stenciling can add depth. Stenciling around the trim can add color and design to the kitchen ceiling in another unexpected way.
And don’t neglect the opportunity to use lighting as a focal point. Oversized lighting is the perfect accompaniment to an interesting ceiling design. Oversized light fixtures like blown glass bulbs can also add a lot of light to your space. Treat these large fixtures as works of art on a wall when choosing placement and style.
Low, comfy seats add a playful retro touch that perfectly suits the surrounding aesthetic.
Adding decorative elements to your kitchen ceiling can make the room more inviting. It instantly transforms the kitchen into so much more than just a place to prepare food. We’re all for any opportunity to add some love to our most beloved space.
FLOORING THAT BREAKS TRADITION
Your kitchen floors take up a lot of space in your kitchen and can make a big statement. View your flooring as an opportunity to add hints of novelty to your space. From the type of material to the pattern and color, when it comes to flooring, we’re leaning towards these flooring trends that add personality, pop, and pizazz.
Unusual flooring patterns add instant visual interest. When laying hardwood floors, instead of traditional straight, side by side patterns, play around with diagonal boards or variations of the popular Herringbone pattern. To add some hints of elegance to your kitchen, try parquet style flooring. Parquet wood flooring is made up of individual wood blocks or tiles that are arranged into a recurring pattern. Originating in the 1960s, this type of bold flooring is ideal for mid century modern kitchens since it has a sort of vintage feel to it.
Fumed wood is another flooring trend we’re embracing. Fumed wood has a level of personality and artistry that’s hard to achieve with other types of flooring. When wood is exposed to ammonia gas, the natural tannins in the wood bring out a dark, grayish-brown color. Like the natural grain of marble, fumed wood has natural variations. The flooring becomes an artistic work of art, no two boards of wood are the same. The color variations will also look different based on the type of wood.
2022 is the year to rethink your space and make your kitchen truly your own. Add pops of color, explore new patterns and textures. Have fun designing a space that’s inviting and inspiring; for the heart of your home and a place of endless possibilities.
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