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My Top 10 Kitchen Design Trends for 2018

deep blue kitchen
Photo credit: Studio Dearborn

It seems like everything in the kitchen from refrigerators to stoves is getting smarter and more advanced. But when it comes to kitchen design, people are craving a revival of warmth, personality, and a less polished, more textured look that incorporates favorites from the past. Just as we want comfort foods like grilled cheese and mashed potatoes in uncertain times, I think we’re drawn to surroundings that make us feel safe and cozy. Maybe it’s the year of the comfortable kitchen. In descending order, here’s my Studio Dearborn list of the Top 10 Kitchen Design Trends for 2018.

2018 Trend: Add Warmth, Contrast, and Mixed Surfaces

10. Warm tones. Yes, Harvest Gold is back again, but not for your refrigerator. Expect to see the return of golden and glazed terra cotta tile on backsplashes,  countertops, and especially floors. Crisp white is still a kitchen design staple, but it’s softening a bit, with popular shades like Benjamin Moore Classic Gray and Benjamin Moore Calm replacing bright white.

9. Contrasting finishes. The matchy-matchy era of single-color cabinets is on the wane. It’s perfectly alright to mix white cabinets with some colored cabinetry and then add in some natural wood, for example. We’re seeing a lot of strong contrasts, such as black cabinetry mixed with white, and rustic cabinetry mixed with tailored inset doors, too.

kitchen with white and wood cabinets top 10 kitchen design trends 2018
Photo credit: Studio Dearborn

8. Something old, something new. Kitchens don’t fall into strict design categories of traditional, contemporary, or vintage any longer. So you can feel free to create a unique design that cherry-picks your favorite looks from a few eras. Think retro appliances mixed with contemporary cabinetry, mid-century seating in a traditional space, or rustic reclaimed finished cabinets mixed with high-gloss.

midcentury chairs in traditional kitchen by Caroline Kilmartin top 10 kitchen design trends 2018
Photo credit: Caroline Kilmartin

2018 Trend: Show Personality with Art, Open Shelves, and Color

7. Original art. Concentrating cabinetry in one area of the kitchen leaves open walls that make a perfect canvas. Or prop up small pieces on an open shelf or backsplash; just make sure it’s away from the sink or stove splatters.  

portrait art in kitchen from Chris Loves Julia top 10 kitchen design trends 2018
Photo credit: Chris Loves Julia

6. Open shelving. The open storage look has been trending for a few years and it’s showing no sign of slowing in 2018. Open shelving makes it easy to grab everyday items like plates and glassware, plus you get to enjoy seeing your favorites every day. Pull the look together with decorative brackets that reflect other metal finishes in the kitchen, such as cabinetry hardware and lighting.

open shelving wall by studio dearborn
Photo credit: Studio Dearborn

5. Jewel-toned cabinets. Blue was the color of the year for 2017 – from Federalist blue to Robin’s egg pale aqua. For 2018, expect to see more kitchen designs employing rich blues as well as emerald greens, reds, and the occasional amethyst!  Or if you prefer a more classic look, consider pairing traditional white cabinets with jewel-toned tile or with colored appliances.

green ojai kitchen by Amber Interiors top 10 kitchen design trends 2018
Photo credit: Amber Interiors

4. Time-worn rugs. Elevate the look of your kitchen with a statement rug that has history and personality, such as a kilim, a Bokhara, or other vintage oriental.  The rug can add soft complementary hues or a jolt of color.  They also protect your new floors from scuffs and dings, and their complex patterns hide dirt and stains.

modern kitchen with vintage rug by studio dearborn
Photo credit: Studio Dearborn

Top 3 Trends: Character Woods, Sleek Metals, and Wabi-Sabi

3. Character woods. Expect to see more exposed beams, raw wood, and vintage furniture with character in 2018 kitchen design.  Character woods lend personality and warmth to even the most modern kitchens with their imperfections.  We’ve crafted stylish cabinetry for several kitchens from character oak and walnut, which has knots and other “flaws.”

character walnut bar by studio dearborn top 10 kitchen design trends 2018
Photo credit: Studio Dearborn

2. Minimalist metals. Metal finishes are still going strong in kitchen design, and we’re seeing more statement pieces with burnished and antiqued brass and copper in minimalist kitchen designs.  Large brass range hoods, islands, and even solid brass cabinet doors with clean lines bring a sense of warmth and tradition into contemporary design.

sleek metals in kitchen by Cordelia Fox Design top 10 kitchen design trends 2018
Photo credit: Cordelia Fox Design

1. Wabi-Sabi. Seeing beauty in imperfection is one of the main ideas behind the Japanese aesthetic Wabi-Sabi.  I think will be the top trend to watch for 2018, and so do many other designers.  It encompasses many of the year’s other trends (time-worn rugs, character woods, open shelves) and it’s a reversal of the decades-old kitchen design philosophy of match, blend, and shine. So you can welcome patina and character back into the kitchen!

patina brass drawer pulls by Studio Dearborn top 10 kitchen design trends 2018
Photo credit: Studio Dearborn

Tell us, which trend is your favorite? Follow us for in-depth articles on each of these 2018 Top 10 kitchen design ideas in the coming months.