Grays, double sinks, and one-tone cabinets are on the outs with today’s home buyers. And in their place? Builders and designers are getting more requests for color, contrast, space, and storage.
They’re also seeing leveled-up appliances and touchless fixtures that don’t just make a kitchen smarter—but easier to use.
We spoke to six builders, architects, designers, and other pros about what kitchen elements are trending these days. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Contrast and Variety
“A big trend right now is mixing materials,” says Mark Cayen, a design expert from Empire Kitchen & Bath. “So, bringing in two different metal finishes, two different cabinet door styles, or two different countertops into a space.”
Contrast in color is big, too. While many say all-white kitchens are out, mixing white with dark or bold hues is another story.
“I see a shift instead to still having white kitchens but pairing that with additional colors to feel updated and new,” says Lee Crowder, national director of design and model experience at Taylor Morrison. “Maybe you have a predominantly white kitchen with a painted kitchen island in a rich, bold color or white cabinets with black-matte appliances or black hardware. It’s all about using white or light shades with a nice contrast to really make your kitchen feel special.”
Varied cabinet hues are also on trend, according to Anthony Carrino, vice president of design at Welcome Homes and star of HGTV show “Kitchen Cousins.”
“One of the most popular features is multiple cabinet colors, meaning a different color island and a different galley or L-shape section of the kitchen,” Carrino says.
2. Big Islands
According to the 2022 Design Trends report from the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), large islands that can also function as a dining space are the No. 2 emerging kitchen trend. A whopping 63% of pros said this will be a prominent theme over the next three years.
Part of this is due to work-from-home flexibility, which has homeowners spending extra time in the kitchen compared with their pre-pandemic days. Alan Scales, an architect and principal at KTGY, says the need for more compact floor plans also plays a role.
“With high land prices pushing density upward, floor plans are being efficiently designed to maximize space while still allowing homeowners to live large,” Scales says. “In many attainably priced and affordable by design homes, the dining room has been eliminated in favor of a larger dine-in island.”
3. Next-Level Appliances and Sinks
Buyers and homeowners are going big with their appliances these days. Some are requesting two dishwashers or leveled-up ovens with air-frying and dehydrating options, while others want app- and voice-controlled options.
“Building a home with great appliances is one of the most important adds we are seeing,” Crowder says. “Because home buyers are cooking more at home, they want to make sure they are investing their money in a product that not only looks great but also enhances their lifestyle.”
Touchless and multipurpose sinks are also in demand—particularly single-bowl ones, according to Crowder.
“Multiuse functionality in the kitchen is very popular right now,” she says. “Single-bowl kitchen sinks have been in demand for years, but now these single bowl sinks have add-ons, like built-in drying racks or cutting boards. When you have a multiuse sink, that means fewer extra gadgets and tools you have to clean up or store around the house.”
4. Better Storage
Consumers also have storage on the mind. For some, it’s a bigger pantry they want. As Bill Ramsey, principal at KTGY, explains, “Bulk pantries in large homes are not new, but we are seeing these sizable pantries even in townhome designs. The pandemic taught people the importance of stocking up on shelf-stable food and home supplies, and it’s a great place to store one’s large Instant Pot or air fryer.”
For others, it’s more about hidden storage. According to NKBA’s report, 42% of design pros say this will be a major trend over the next few years.
“There has been a steady increase in the demand for full-paneled kitchens and appliance garages that hide away all the necessary kitchen appliances and instruments in one place,” says Anna Karp, co-founder and CEO of Bolster. “While this was considered a luxury about five years ago, the current trend is to increasingly design cleaner-looking kitchens.”