Here’s What’s Hot in Kitchen Design in 2020

February 25, 2020
Kitchen Trends Oversized Islands
Oversized islands, measuring 7'+, are increasing in popularity in kitchen renovations.

10 Trends to Check Out in Kitchen Design

From tried-and-true design elements like the kitchen island to upcoming trends like voice-operated kitchen gadgets, here are 10 of the most popular kitchen features for 2020, as seen at this year’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show and the International Builders Show.

Big, multifunctional kitchen islands. A kitchen island is an expected feature even in smaller condos and townhouses, but in larger homes, buyers are starting to see double. One island serves as a prep space, while the second island often functions as a serving area for parties, a homework space or a dining table. In kitchens without enough space for two islands, you may see one island with two sections—one slightly lower to function as a breakfast bar or desk. Some even have a slide-out island to add space when needed. Islands seem to grow ever-larger, too. In Houzz’s Kitchen Trends Study, 32% of islands in renovated kitchens were more than 7’ long and 39% were between 6’ to 7’ in length.

Multifunctional and special appliances. Professional-grade appliances have been installed in high-end kitchens for years, but now buyers can find all-in-one appliances that include a convection oven, a steam oven, sous vide functions, a grill, gas burners and an induction range. LG Electronics even offers a range with an air fryer. You can also find special appliances with a single function, such as a Bosch “glass center” dishwasher that’s meant to be a second or third dishwasher just for delicate glassware.

Statement backsplashes. Like islands, backsplashes seem to be growing. Rather than occupying a small band above the kitchen sink or counters, more homeowners choose to extend the backsplash to the ceiling (11%, according to the Houzz study) or to the upper cabinets and range hood (63%).

Colorful cabinets. While white cabinets and stainless-steel appliances continue to dominate, the Houzz survey found 39% of homeowners chose to have their center island cabinets contrast their main cabinets and 26% chose to have a different countertop on their island than their main counters. Blue is the most popular color to use as a contrast, according to Houzz, with both blue and green cabinets showing up in multiple displays at this year’s KBIS and IBS shows.

Darkhued counters and cabinets. Possibly in reaction to all the light grey and white kitchens of the past few years, several companies introduced dramatic dark cabinets and counters in their displays at the KBIS and IBS conventions. Dark gray, dark blue, dark green and even black turned up in cabinets and counter surfaces, particularly on the center island.

Tall pantry cabinets and extra storage everywhere. Storage, including walk-in pantries, are a high priority for first-time buyers and repeat buyers, according to surveys by the National Association of Home Builders. Every kitchen island on display at the KBIS and IBS conventions included abundant storage. For smaller homes that lack space for a walk-in pantry, multiple cabinet makers offer a tall pantry cabinet with pull-out shelves and organizers.

Mixed-metal fixtures and finishes. Unlike years past, when every kitchen seemed to have brushed nickel or another metal for handles and fixtures, designers today are incorporating several metals into one space. Personalization of spaces is an important trend and mixing matte black, polished chrome, brushed gold or satin nickel in the kitchen on light fixtures, faucets and knobs allows for more customization.

High-tech toys. A standout item, which earned honors as the Best Kitchen & Bath Product at IBS, is called “Make Any Solid Surface a Tablet” (MASST), developed by Atlas Granite. A combination of a laser and projection system, which can be tucked under a kitchen cabinet, the MASST produces the image of a computer screen on any light-colored surface. Working with your home’s WiFi, it lets you watch YouTube videos, check your email, keep up with social media or read an article from your kitchen counter.

Voiceassisted kitchen operations. Connecting kitchen appliances with an app and Bluetooth helps you cook meals on autopilot. You can easily set up Alexa or another system to read recipes or provide tips while you’re cooking. Connectivity is the key, and eventually your voice assistant will be able to coordinate with your appliances, so that eventually you’ll have consistent communication about meal planning and the ingredients you need (even having them automatically ordered for delivery).

Open shelving. Kitchen islands with open shelving provide space for a variety of items, and open shelves are appearing in place of upper cabinets in new homes, too. While the style fits in with farmhouse kitchens, it also works in contemporary and transitional style kitchens.

Some of these kitchen trends may be just for razzle-dazzle attention at the KBIS and IBS conventions, but others, such as smart storage, larger islands and colorful features, are likely to become more common sights in new and remodeled homes.