Kitchen trends may come and go, but one thing never changes: Whether you’re whipping up a four-course gourmet meal for 12 or reheating a slice of pizza, this room is the heart of the home. In fact, the kitchen’s multipurpose role as a place to entertain friends, tackle homework and school projects, answer emails, or just hang out with the family is on the upswing, according to local kitchen experts like Jason Landau, a professional interior designer with a master’s in architecture and owner of Amazing Spaces in Briarcliff Manor.
Perhaps the strongest trend in kitchen design is the open floor plan, in part because the kitchen “is the most social room of house” and “all family life revolves around food,” says Landau. “The cook or hostess wants to be part of the party without everybody piling into the kitchen workspace.”
In many cases, open floor plans allow rarely used formal dining and living rooms to be incorporated into one large area with the kitchen or great room. Individual dining-room and kitchen tables are replaced with a single dining area with counter chairs or bar stools at a connected table or island.
A bright red range hood (custom-painted at an auto-body shop!) is a great way to add colorful accents and “accessorize” a monochromatic kitchen.
Also increasing in popularity, says Landau, are kitchens with two sinks in separate, dual work zones, with the refrigerator located between the two. The first zone, for the casual user, clean-up helpers, and everyone except the cook, features the main sink, the dishwasher, its own counter space for “making a sandwich or jellying an English muffin,” and access to everyday dishes and glasses. The second, a work area for the cook, has its own sink, counter space, and the cooktop and oven.
In terms of style, transitional looks—somewhere between traditional (“fussy, Louis XV seating”) and contemporary/modern (“ultra-modern Knoll chairs”)—continue to gain popularity, says Landau. While five to seven years ago, traditional was all the rage, clients these days are looking for a cleaner look with few curves and ornamental details, according to Landau. Almost every kitchen he designs now leans toward transitional, although modern looks are stronger than in the past. In keeping with the transitional feel, color palettes feature a lot of neutrals—grays, blacks, and whites—with a white kitchen still the most popular. “A white painted kitchen is like a black dress,” says Landau. “You can wear it with pearls to look conservative or cool diamonds to look trendy,” he adds, noting that lighting and hardware are similar to jewelry; paint color and cabinetry to makeup; and flooring, such as natural stone or wood laminate, to shoes; and all are different ways to accessorize a look. What makes a kitchen unique, he says, is a cool color for your range hood, interesting hardware, a unique backsplash, and “all the other materials.”