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Studio Dearborn’s Top 10 Kitchen Themes for 2020

We’ve decided to eschew the word “trends” when it comes to kitchen design. Trends feel faddish and fanciful. As the most important room in the home, kitchen design reflects our inner desires and what we find meaningful.

It seems we’re all craving warmth, personality, and a little practicality too, along with spaces that make everyone feel at home. Here are the top kitchen themes that you’ll be seeing the most of in 2020.

Photo credit: @amberinteriors

1. Warm Neutrals

Imagine your home as a sanctuary connected to nature with a color palette inspired by sand, sea, sky, and forest. The focus on wellness has inspired a muted earth color palette that evokes an eco-spa vibe.

How to bring it home: Add pieces made from, natural wood, tawny leather, and decor in tones of ochre, warm white, warm greiges, blush, and orange.


Photo credit: @cletile

2.  Im-perfectionism 

Roughly finished and patinated surfaces are appearing everywhere in kitchens. We’re craving surfaces and decorative items with a patinated, hand-made, old-world feel.   The reemergence of exposed brick on kitchen walls (often painted with a lime wash to brighten it up) fits this theme.

How to bring it home: With floors made from rustic, reclaimed boards, clay tile backsplashes with imperfect shapes and glazes, exposed antique brick, antique metal hardware, and antique work tables.

Photo credit: @boxwoodavenue

3.  Custom French Ranges

With its precise proportions, decorative knobs, and richly colored enamel, a French range is a gorgeously practical centerpiece for any kitchen. It brings the idea of the hearth back into kitchen design, the center of all cooking activities in the kitchen. These finely crafted pieces make an exquisite counterpoint to rustic surfaces in other parts of the kitchen.

How to bring it home: With custom details for both knobs, grates, and colors on ranges from La Cornue, Lacanche, Molteni, and Hallman.

Photo credit: @jordyndev1

4.  Natural Woven Materials

The natural beauty of organic materials shines through in the reemergence of wovens in the kitchen.  Sleek upholstered stools are being replaced by tactile woven textures, especially for seating, lighting, and tabletop accessories.

How to bring it home: With anything made from woven or twisted rope, leather, cord, wicker, bamboo, rush, rattan, or string. 

Photo credit: @michellenussbaumer

5.  Maximalism

 While the clean, white kitchen will always be a classic, many kitchens are maxing out on everything: Color, pattern, artwork, detailed finishes, and personal touches. Just take a look at this kitchen by Michelle Nussbaumer, who also designed House Beautiful’s 2019 Kitchen of the Year. She boldly brings the unexpected in to shake up this very classic and comforting space.

How to bring it home: With unexpected details, like an unruly gallery wall, wallpaper on the ceiling, a large mural, contrasting patterns, or brightly colored cabinetry.

Photo credit: @richardburkedesign

6.  Pantry Goals

Kitchens are evolving from being a sea of wall cabinetry to spaces with purposeful organization. Bulky food items are being stored in larder-style pantries. The plus side is using space more efficiently leaves more room for windows, wall art display,s or just more breathing room.

How to bring it home: With a custom larder style cabinet, or a free-standing tallboy that can house anything from brooms to jumbo bags of dog food.

Photo credit: @alicelaneinteriors

7.  Big Bold Stone

Everywhere you look, kitchens are being swathed from top to bottom in stone, from bold marbles and quartzites to rustic boulders as in this kitchen from Alice Lane Interiors.  I see this as a backlash to plain vanilla kitchens filled with man-made materials. Plus, recent developments in sealers allow homeowners to enjoy the luxury of natural stone without maintenance hassles.

How to bring it home: With natural stone surfaces on the backsplash, islands, and counters.

Photo credit: @modern_nest

8.  Traditional Architectural Details

There’s comfort and warmth in traditional architectural features. Exposed brick is back in the kitchen, along with ceiling beams, large divided windows, casings, moldings, and paneling. These details are simpler, cleaner, more minimalistic, and more organic than before.

How to bring it home: As you consider a remodel, look for ways to highlight your home’s historic features.

9.  Kitchen as a Living Space

We’re spending more time in the kitchen, and not necessarily for cooking. The functional, antiseptic look is out. The new kitchen is a living space where people like to hang out, entertain, and work. Expect to continue to see picture windows with thin mullions, table lamps, and non-traditional furniture showing up in the kitchen.

How to bring it home: With decorative lighting including sconces, paintings or artwork, plants, traditional patterned rugs, and seating that feels like it would be at home in the living room.

Photo credit: @bluecopperdesign

10.  Sustainable Design

The word sustainable carries so many different meanings, but here we mean kitchen design that honors the planet and all kinds of people. Material-wise, that means natural wood, recycled textiles, undyed yarns, and plush soft fabrics, along with warm terra-cotta backsplashes and floors. A growing focus is making sure that a home is adaptable to the needs of all people, including seniors and those with disabilities. We’re excited to see more work from Maegan Blau of Blue Copper Design, whose adaptive design practice was recently featured in Apartment Therapy.

How to bring it home: With low VOC paints, recycled materials, more drawers, adjustable-height counters, wider doorways and passages, moveable islands, open storage, stoves with front or voice controls, and levers instead of knobs.