With the 2010s having reached their end, designers are ready to close the books on a decade’s worth of all-white, open-concept, subway-tiled kitchens. So what can we expect from the kitchen of 2020? We asked a few pros to share their predictions for the kitchen trends that are poised to rise to the top, from must-have hues (hint: aqua is back) and materials (metal, anyone?) to out-of-the-box features (including one that your dog will love). Read on to find out more about what’s in store!
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Carrara’s showier sibling, calacatta marble has stronger, more pronounced veining that lends a bold, graphic appeal. “In both warm and cool tones, I expect it to outshine carrara this year,” says Karen B. Wolf. “It’s the perfect transition material for the home owner that can’t quite digest that brown is actually a stunning color theme!”
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The tail end of the 2010s saw more homeowners experimenting with out-of-the-ordinary kitchen materials—and we can expect to see a lot more this decade, predicts Alison Pickart. Think leather-wrapped cabinets or brass sheets applied to countertops and backsplashes (like this kitchen designed by architect Asa Barak)—”I even saw a hair-on-hide counter at KBIS!” Pickart says.
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The best way to let those elements stand out? Keep everything else simple, says Pickart. “For 2020, simplicity will be key,” she says. “Flat-paneled millwork with minimal detailing and fuss is the best way to let unique cabinetry materials really shine.”
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Yep, you read that right. Doggie cantinas—areas specifically designed for feeding man’s best friend—will be the pet-focused trend of 2020, says Cathy Maready of Elephant Ears Design. “Our pets can make a mess in our kitchens, but that’s where they tend to hang out with us and share our lives! Use alcoves under your kitchen cabinets to house dog bowls and food, as well as treats and leashes.”
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Pros like Tyler Hill of Mitchell Hill in Charleston are going green in more ways than one. “Designers and clients have a respect for the environment that wasn’t as strong a decade ago, which means sustainable materials will be more important than ever,” he explains. The color itself is trending, too: “Expect to see various shades of green cabinetry and green stone used in new and interesting ways,” he adds. (Need some inspo? See more of this serene green kitchen designed by Alice Lane Interior Design.)
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Hill is also championing statement-making backsplashes in the kitchen. “Large-scale backsplashes will continue to be popular, and the designs will get more elaborate and serve as art and focal points,” he predicts. “I see them being mixed with unique statement lighting and textures.”
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Cerused wood, which involves applying colored pigments while still allowing the wood’s natural grain to shine through, is having a moment in both cabinetry and furniture, says Donna Mondi. She suggests keeping the look more tonal—like these black cerused cabinets—than contrasting. “It’ll have more longevity down the road,” she says.
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Looking for a backsplash alternative to typical subway tile? “For 2020, we love the refined, rustic style that brick can bring to the kitchen,” says designer Caroline Brackett. “If the heaviness of a red brick feels a little too daunting, try white-washing a few of the bricks to brighten up the space.”
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Don’t limit your kitchen style to one design style, says Gabriela Gargano of Grisoro Designs. “I think we’ll see more traditional cabinetry and vintage lighting being mixed in with contemporary elements like clean slab counters and backsplashes,” she explains. “The end result is a beautifully unique space that’s both modern and traditional at once.”
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“A pop of color is such a chic alternative to an all-white kitchen, but just as timeless,” proclaims Brian McCarthy, who paired a buttery yellow ceiling (a custom Donald Kaufman Color shade) and breakfast table (by Mongiardo Studio) with a robin’s egg blue La Cornue range in a client’s Manhattan apartment. “Who says kitchens can’t have as much personality as the rest of the house?”
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Speaking of aqua hues, designer Christine Markatos Lowe is likewise predicting a resurgence of the midcentury-favorite shade for both cabinetry and tile applications. “Bolder colors like turquoise and jade really pop against whites but still feel clean and fresh for a kitchen,” she says.
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The Standalone Kitchen
In recent years, an open kitchen-slash-dining-slash-living-slash-everything-else room has become the norm. But several designers told us that they’re ready for the simple kitchen-as-kitchen (like in this Manhattan apartment designed by Fawn Galli) to make a comeback. “I’ve been noticing more and more that clients don’t want their kitchens in their living rooms,” says Tina Ramchandani. “The separation of rooms gives a sense of having more space.” Adds Pickart, “The great room concept will be making a graceful exit in this next decade. That’s not to say we won’t have non-dining seating, I just believe we are headed back toward a time where our rooms are designed to serve their original purpose, kitchens especially!”
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