There’s a good reason why many people refer to kitchens as the heart of the home. Sure, they get a lot of foot traffic daily—from family dinners and intimate date nights to post-school study sessions—but more than that, they act as a microcosm for our daily lives, routine, and outlook. The forms our kitchens take—and the way they morph year over a year—says a lot more about us than just what color we’re loving lately. They reflect back on our priorities, our struggles, and our goals, both for our homes and our lives.
For that reason, the expert-driven trends below for 2022 are really more than just trends. Granted, there are a few mixed in just for the pretty factor they provide but the majority of these new kitchen upgrades are a prime example of our collective shifting priorities amid life in a pandemic. From the return of color—and a reinvigoration of a positive perspective—to the prioritizing of natural materials and do-it-all finishes, they encapsulate a time and a place that we all hope is filled with more love, laughter, and yes, good food—just like a kitchen (and life) should be.
Gone are the days where homeowners had to choose to forgo cabinets and display their wares on beautiful (but slightly impractical) open shelving or cave to a kitchen designed for storage but not style. These days, designers are focusing on crafting spaces that are both creative and utilitarian, giving home chefs the best of both worlds—a space that functions and looks good while doing it. In fact, Houzz’s 2022 U.S Kitchen Trends Study showed that the popularity of built-in specialty organizers is only increasing, with more than half of homeowners upgrading their space with storage solutions.
“Having a decluttered and organized kitchen not only helps with function but also brings a sense of calm and order to a home,” says Carrie Delaney of Carrie Delaney Interiors. “People spend so much time in their kitchen, so thoughtful storage and organizational solutions are key. From spices and bakeware to simple things like the paper towel roll, getting creative with storage helps a kitchen both look and function better.”
“Kitchens are evolving as our needs are,” adds Chad Dorsey of Chad Dorsey Design. “More than ever, clients are asking for hardworking kitchens that are high-performance without sacrificing on design. They want their kitchens to feel comfortable, with ample space to take them through the needs of their day. From having an intimate nook to work or sip a morning espresso to spacious, custom-made ranges and other appliances that gather families and friends to cook together.”
Into 2022, designers and homeowners are taking every opportunity to imbue a space with personality, a perspective that will extend beyond cabinet colors and hardware finishes into bold, attention-grabbing countertop materials. Houzz’s study recently reported that over one-third of homeowners completing a home kitchen renovation or design chose to splurge on their countertops, with quartz and granite among the most popular materials.
“We'll be seeing more bold stone selections in the year to come,” says designer Killy Scheer of Scheer & Co. “Think less plain white stone composite products and more splashy veined marbles and quartzites. To get the full effect (and value) out of these selections, we'll be seeing them applied to backsplashes, too, so they can be seen vertically, not just horizontally.”
Instead of chasing the high-gloss look of a brand-spankin’ new kitchen, more homeowners and designers are reaching for fixtures and finishes that bring with them a well-worn lived-in appeal. From muddy paint hues and unlacquered brass finished with a natural patina to handmade tiles that boast elegant movement, the goal is the same: a kitchen that could have been there 100 years ago—even if it was just built last month.
“We see kitchens trending towards an understated naturalism in 2022,” says Phoebe Schuh, founder and creative director at PS & Daughters. “We anticipate a move away from lustrous looks like polished stone towards things like ash green, soapstone, and patinated metals.”
“Subway style tile is still here to stay, but we'll see a change-up in texture throughout 2022,” says designer Andi Morse of Morse Design. “White brick, stone, and ceramic tiles all have a natural look and feel to them that adds another layer to the kitchen.”
“Everyone is looking for organic warmth and we love bringing it in with the metals used in hardware and plumbing fixtures,” adds designer Jessica Nicastro. “We love the look of a matte bronze in the kitchen that gives patina and depth but also warmth.
Instead of dialing it in on certain utilitarian aspects of a kitchen’s design (think: the range hood or kitchen sink), designers are incorporating these features into the overall scheme, tying them into the space’s vibe and resulting in a bespoke, considered feel.
“I’m all about sinks with an apron front made using the same material as the countertop, such as quartz, porcelain, or marble,” says designer Anita Yokota. “It’s a wonderful cohesive design feature, especially if you pick a material that has a beautiful pattern and vein to it. Talk to your fabricator on how you can incorporate it into your design—you will need an under-mount sink!”
“Some of our favorite designs create impact by putting range as the focal point of the kitchen and anchoring it with a statement hood,” adds designer Jess Weeth of Studio Weeth Home. “We’re seeing more clients move away from standard cabinetry hoods and instead embracing plaster, natural stone, tile, or even formed metal like burnished brass. These new materials are a great way to instantly add unique character.”
Before you panic, know this—white kitchens will always be in, so if that’s your vibe, feel free to stick with it. But if you’ve been looking for inspiration for injecting your home with more color, 2022 just may prove to be the year.
“White kitchens, while always a classic, can sometimes fall a bit flat,” says Dorsey. “Colors are getting sleeker and bolder in kitchens and being used everywhere from colorful ranges and built-ins to backsplashes and appliances. Depending on the impact you want, you can use color immersively or sparingly—there are endless options that make it easy to move beyond white. I like to mix a dramatic stone with rich contrasting hues, like deep navy or oxblood red.”
“We're seeing a move away from the all-white kitchen in favor of cabinets that are bold and adventurous,” adds Scheer. “There’s sure to be a lot of green and maybe even yellow, but I think homeowners will be exploring a full range of colors and materials.”
A renewed focus on natural materials and sustainability has primed wood for a major kitchen comeback. From exposed beams and butcher block countertops to a reclaimed table as an island, designers and homeowners alike are loving the warmth and nature-inspired nod wood brings to a space.
“Recently, there’s been a strong move into wood applications as a way of adding warmth to the kitchen,” says Delaney. “For the last few years, the cabinet of choice has been a very light, white oak. And while we still love this light wood look, we are seeing a move to even deeper, richer wood tones. Oftentimes, it’s not all of the cabinetry in this darker wood—just an accent piece or portion of the room—but it provides a depth to the kitchen that we love, like the warm, welcoming invitation to linger.”
Like white color palettes, shaker cabinet profiles are perennially popular due to their flexibility and timelessness. However, in the coming year, you can expect to see more designers and homeowners taking risks when it comes to both the profile and shape of their kitchen cabinetry.
“There is a world of cabinetry beyond flat front and shaker styles, and all of those options will come to the forefront this year,” says Scheer. “Fluted, beaded, arched—the list goes on. Introducing more dimension and design to cabinets can make the kitchen feel more integrated with the rest of the house, or make it stand out as an art piece all its own.”
“For years now, clients have wanted countertops with a simple 90-degree edge and islands, almost without fail, have been rectangles,” adds Delaney. “Nothing fancy has been the rule and angles have dominated the shapes of the kitchen. However, we’re seeing softer profiles and features coming onto the scene, like rounded edges, rounded islands, and fluting on both cabinetry and countertops. These are such beautiful features that immediately add character and life to a kitchen.”
Which of these kitchen trends would you incorporate into your home this year? Tell us in the comments below!
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