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Studio Dearborn’s Top Kitchen Design Trends for 2022

If it seems like there’s a return to tradition in everything from clothing to food to music, it’s not your imagination. Every time there’s a big societal change or upheaval, such as a war or pandemic, we long for familiarity and comfort in an effort to feel safe and secure.

The same is happening in the kitchen. As designers, we’re reveling in creating kitchens that embrace classic colors, materials, and a dash of nostalgia. It’s not necessary to go full grannycore–even adding a dash of the familiar helps create a kitchen that feels timeless. 

Here are the most important kitchen design features and looks you’ll be seeing this year.

Vintage elements

open shelves above kitchen sink
@bessfriday for @amberinteriors via Instagram

The overarching story in kitchens of all kinds is adding vintage details and pieces that make it feel warm and cozy. While vintage items are natural for farmhouse kitchens, they work well in more contemporary spaces too, as the new Amber Interiors at the Marin Country Mart beautifully illustrates.  “Using older pieces in all types of kitchens is very grounding,” Robertson says. “Mixing is going on whether a cleaner kitchen or more traditional.” Look for older oil paintings, worn cutting boards, retro lighting, floral or period wallpaper, and throwback seating. To keep your kitchen from looking kitschy, Robertson says to think about adding just a few older pieces, like a kettle, a vintage scale or maybe some mid-century stools.  


contemporary black and white kitchen
@ninamayainteriors via @est_living on Instagram

Curving and sculpted furniture, often in cozy nubby fabric, has been showing up in living room sofas and armchairs. Now curves have worked their way into the kitchen, and we couldn’t be happier. Expect to see sinuous counters, round pedestal tables, and curved banquettes tucked into sunny windows. And arch-top doorways are still in vogue. If your home isn’t blessed with an arched Spanish or Tudor entry, create your own.  And if you want to add just a little curve, opt for one of those gorgeous gooseneck kitchen faucets. 

Natural wood cabinetry

natural wood kitchen with shelves

After a few seasons of pretty blue and green painted cabinets all over magazines and Instagram, we’re seeing a return to natural wood tones. It’s probably about time as these things do go in cycles. Our favorite wood kitchens come in pale tones, like this one by Molly Britt Design, which starts with pale oak upper cabinets and continues down to the herringbone floor. They often feature expanses of white cabinetry and walls to keep the airy vibe going and keep the focus on the natural wood finishes. 

Petite hardware

light green cabinets with brass hardware
@sarahshermansamuel via Instagram

Drawer handles and cabinet knobs are getting smaller and less showy. Mixing small cup pulls with knobs painted or stained to match the cabinets adds another layer. The goal is to create a more collected look. Kitchens started out with mismatched hardware and appliances because that’s all that was available, Robertson says.  “Matchy-matchy evolved because companies made it,” Robertson says. “All of a sudden, people are wanting a more interesting, organic look.” Today, an artfully executed mismatched design is a hallmark of a luxury kitchen. “Mixing and matching takes thought and skill,” Robertson says.

Pet stations

pet watering station in kitchen with cats
Adam Kane Macchia for Studio Dearborn

Studio Dearborn has been creating pet stations for so long it doesn’t seem like a new trend. Robertson started out with a shallow drawer behind the toe board to feed her cat. Next came specialized metal lined drawers to hold sacks of dog food and treats. She stepped them up with the pet station at the House Beautiful Whole Home Concept House kitchen, that included a faucet, feeding dishes, and drawers for food and treats. But the latest and greatest yet may be the pet station with brass faucet and sink that Robertson designed for the Home on a Nashville Hill kitchen for Kelly and Suzie. Even if you don’t have a five-pet menagerie like they do, a cat-and-dog-height faucet might come in handy, as more of us welcome pets into our home.

Cookware on display

green and white kitchen
@lindsay_hill_interiors via Instagram

This is really a nod to chef-style kitchens that emphasize having your knives, pots, and spices within reach. Now, whether you use it to cook with or not, everybody is flossing copper. There’s nothing like the warm gleam of old copper on the pot rack, especially in a blue or green kitchen. Robertson also likes the practical metal rails people are running under open shelving. Give your kitchen an atelier-vibe by suspending favorite kitchen shears, pot brushes, and ladles so they’re always handy.  

Traditional millwork returns

traditional green colored kitchen
@patrickbiller for @jackcreasy via Instagram

For the past several years, the focus has been on sleek and clean kitchens. In fact, Robertson has been removing extra wood details like scrolls, moldings, chair rails and that crosshatch leading on glass front cabinets. But these traditional details that soften the lines of a kitchen are coming back, creating a new look that Canadian designer Jack Creasy calls “Bold Traditional.” For a client in Scarsdale, Robertson is doing an island that’s blue with raised panels on the cabinet doors. The rest of the kitchen is white and has no raised panels. “It makes the island feel like a furniture piece,” Robertson says. Get ready for a mix of door styles, where some have heavier details and others are more simple. 

Lighter paint colors

pale blue kitchen
@erinkestenbaum via @westwing_es on Instagram

If you’re choosing a colorful kitchen in 2022, it’s likely to be a lighter shade. Keeping the kitchen color more pale, especially when your home is more open plan, helps it flow with the rest of the home. Popular shades Robertson is seeing range from pale celadon and sage greens and light blues to creamy vanilla tones, and soft earthy pinks. “I think that people are trying to bring back more livable and lighter colors,” Robertson says. “They feel more timeless and that they can live with over the years.”

Subtle lighting

modern kitchen design with pendant lights over island
@lauren_nelson_design via Instagram

It’s an anything-goes world when it comes to lighting. The advent of LED technology really opened up the possibilities. Still, along with the return to other traditional features, we’re seeing lots of delicate double pendants over islands. “They’ve got all this color  and busyness in the cabinets and stone, so it makes sense to go subtle with the lighting,” Robertson says. “When the kitchen is more bold, the lighting is pulled back.” Look for trending ceramic pendants, or fluted glass or lights with small woven shades. 

More stone, less tile

contemporary black and white kitchen
@rms_marble via @luxurycustomhomes on Instagram

Nothing evokes a sense of stability like a huge slab of natural stone. After several seasons of kitchens with stunning tile details, we’ve shifted to kitchens with expanses of stone. And while Carrara and pale Calacatta stone are timeless, many homeowners are opting for stones with dark backgrounds. The stone of the moment is the dramatic Calacatta Viola. “Again, it’s the warmth thing,” Robertson says. “It evokes mansions of the 1920s. It takes us to that historical place with Downton Abbey and all that.” Many of the trending tones have lots of movement (aka bold vein patterns) that infuses the kitchen with texture that’s organic and natural. And with a big stone counter or backsplash, there’s no grouting to clean, so that’s another plus.

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