You heard it here first – white is making a kitchen comeback. And before you ask if it ever went away, the answer is a definite yes.
But before those of us with white kitchens from the early 2000s say “I told you so”, we need to note the 2020 version is not exactly the same.
The National Kitchen and Bathroom Association (NKBA) has polled its members about kitchen design trends we can expect to see this year, and matt white and timber cabinetry stand out as clear winners.
Those cabinet doors will be teamed with porcelain or engineered stone benchtops, and the ideal kitchen will also feature a kitchen island, integrated appliances and tiled splashback.
That’s the summary, but those are not the only things happening in kitchen design, so let’s take a closer look at what’s going to be right on-trend for 2020.
It was hard to miss the huge popularity of black cabinetry in 2019 – it appeared in kitchens up and down the country. But it’s moving aside this year.
NKBA members suggest 2020 will see a return to white and timber. In the survey, 29 per cent of respondents predicted timber to be the most popular cabinetry, followed by white (26 per cent) and then grey (22 per cent).
And it’s not the gloss white we saw in the “naughties”. An overwhelming 65 per cent of respondents said matt will be the finish of choice.
But what about grey? It seems our favourite wall colour of the past decade has moved into the kitchen.
Damian Hannah of German Kitchens says this is because grey is timeless.
“Grey is technically not a colour, it’s an achromatic colour meaning that it is literally a colour without colour, because it can be composed of black and white,” the designer says. “This makes it a timeless addition to cabinetry as it never seems to date a lot like the black and white kitchens.
“Grey also works with any colour and adds a depth that works with the textures introduced in benchtops, splashbacks and flooring. Where white and black have always been popular, grey has really made an impact recently in interior design and also in the automotive industry. I see it being hugely popular in 2020 in kitchen design.”
There’s a huge choice of materials for benchtops, but again there are strong favourites for 2020.
NKBA members said the majority (80 per cent) of kitchen benchtops this year will either be made of engineered stone or porcelain/ceramic.
Sandy Eagle of Sandy Eagle Design said that as the awareness of porcelain becomes more prominent and the manufacturers become more confident, the demand for porcelain will continue to grow.
Nicky Claridge of NC Design said a large reason for this popularity are porcelain’s many advantages.
“A kitchen benchtop should be something that you don’t have to be concerned about damaging when you’re cooking. The advantages of a porcelain benchtop are that you can cut on it and you can put a scalding hot pan straight on it. It’s what benchtops should have always been.
“With porcelain you can just get on with life, cooking and using your kitchen without having to worry.”
The porcelain trend is not limited to benchtops, with many homeowners and kitchen designers specifying matching seamless benchtops and splashbacks utilising the material.
Though the seamless bench to splashback look is dominating the covers of magazines and our Instagram feeds, NKBA members still foresee tiled splashbacks coming out on top.
In the survey, 42 per cent of NKBA respondents said tiled splashbacks would be the most popular choice followed by a marble or “marble look” finish.
Angelique Armstrong of Armstrong Interiors predicted tiles to be the must-have material.
“Tiles are a bit of fun,” she says. “We can expect to see a lot of natural palettes coming through, as the New Zealand consumer likes to see soft beige, blues, greens, greys and white. I imagine we will also see natural stone in the way of a mosaic or a porcelain tile or a tile sheet with a pattern through it.”
MOST REQUESTED ON WISH LIST
What is the number one item on most people’s kitchen wish list? According to NKBA survey respondents, it is a kitchen island, followed by integrated appliances. Sculleries are also still a firm favourite, with 88 per cent of respondents confirming that sculleries will still be a popular choice in 2020.
Suzie Rees, NKBA executive officer, says the scullery won’t be going out of fashion any time soon.
“If you have the space, a scullery is a wonderful addition to a home and helps greatly with its future marketability. It means you can neatly conceal cooking mess; it also provides extra pantry storage and a place to build-in additional appliances you don’t necessarily want on display.”
WHAT WILL IT COST YOU?
The cost of a kitchen varies greatly and ultimately comes down to material selection and finish, but as a guide, in 2019 the majority of NKBA respondents worked within the budget of $30,000-$40,000 (28 per cent). This was followed by 17 per cent working with a budget of $20,000-$30,000.
NKBA 2019 award winners are spread throughout the country, with the winning kitchen by Stefan Sonntag in a Lake Hayes house.
“With the rise in smart kitchens and the kitchen becoming even more of a centrepiece of the home, a greater amount of money is being spent,” says Rees. “Homeowners want their kitchens to be more than just a place to service; they want it to be a hub.
“They want it to have wow factor and they want to utilise all the fantastic technology that is available to make their lives a little easier. This does come with a price. Kitchens designed by NKBA members start under $20,000 and go up beyond $100,000. At the end of the day, the kitchen needs to match the home and its architecture and work well for the homeowner and their design aesthetic.”