Evolving Kitchen Trends

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Today’s kitchens are becoming more expressive through creative finishes and touches that inspire individuality for the space.

Story by Ann Butenas     |     Photos courtesy of Bella Kitchens / Matt Kocourek

When it comes to the latest in kitchen trends, the prospects are exciting. Homeowners today seek designs that flow freely and offer optimized functionality at the same time. Granted, a kitchen has to function as it should, but how that function is promoted through aesthetics can be a changing platform. Often referred to as “the heart of the home,” this beloved space, through innovative and creative ideas, can truly make one’s heart skip a beat at first glance. As we round the corner into 2022, kitchens today are making their own personalized statement and doing so with elegance, style, and class, taking cues from traditional options, and integrating more expressive applications.

“I am seeing a movement towards warmer hues, lighter wood tones and moving away from gray and white as the primary colors,” noted Jill Painter, CKD, and owner/designer of Bella Kitchens and NKBA member. “Now, we are seeing more greens, blues and nature-inspired colors to evoke a soothing and comforting feeling. However, that being said, white kitchens are still a classic, as are the use of off-white, beiges and cream colors.”

Japandi Style Decorating

Japandi is an emerging interior design style. When you mix Scandinavian and modern Japanese interior design styles, you   create a palette that is rooted in minimalism, warmth, muted colors, and natural elements.

“This mixes the simplicity of Scandinavian design with the Zen-like qualities that nature embodies that is the Japanese style,” explained Painter. “This is in response to being at home more and seeking a calming environment.”


Painter noted a lean towards more color and more wood tones, along with more textures and grain patterns, such as rift cut white oak, walnut, and textured melamine.

“The styles are simple, clean and minimalist with some modern and transitional influences,” she expressed.

Regarding cabinet door styles, Painter has seen more slab doors along with wide frame designs that have a flat center panel and a small bevel or ogee on the inside corner for detail.

“This is a more elevated and interesting style than a standard shaker door,” she said.

“Combining styles and elements such as different door styles and using different cabinet finishes or countertop colors can make a fun statement” she noted. “For example, base cabinets in wood and wall cabinets in white can work well together. Also, I have designed kitchens with a three-color palette which gives the kitchen lots of personality.”


Painter noted a move towards more natural materials, with quartzite edging out the man-made quartz as a focal point, with quartz used on the perimeter to complement the overall atmosphere.

“Matte and brushed textures are showing up more on countertops, too,” she indicated. “Also popular now are waterfall edges, full height backsplashes and the integration of more color and more patterns in these elements.”


With a nod again to the Japandi movement, Painter expressed consumer interest in cleaner, simpler lines with new styles even in appliances.

“Homeowners are leaning towards appliances that are less bulky and more streamlined with touchscreens instead of knobs on ovens and cooktops. Refrigerators are built-in or flush, with many opting to fully integrate their refrigerators and dishwashers with cabinet fronts,” she explained.


The island design style largely depends on the layout of the kitchen, and many now contain a sink, dishwasher, microwave drawers and perhaps even a steam oven to complement the trend towards healthier eating.

Hardware and Plumbing Fixtures 

“Matte finishes in gold and black are popular, as are matte black faucets and sinks in colors other than the traditional white,” indicated Painter. This simply adds another layer of style and personality.


Painter suggested natural hardwoods still tend to lead the pack in terms of style choices, with homeowners opting for light to medium-colored tones in that regard.

Bottom Line “My clients are becoming increasingly more bold in their design choices, from mixing metals to integrating a variety of colors and textures. Homeowners today place a strong emphasis on how they want to feel in the space, whether energized or relaxed,” emphasized Painter. “It is not just about functionality.”

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