Inman News

13 May 2018

by Marion McPherson

Hi-tech appliances, low-maintenance materials and pops of color are all the rage this season.

This year’s spring kitchen trends are all about hi-tech tools and appliances matched with low-maintenance materials, fixtures and finishes.

“It is a really interesting and exciting time with kitchen design,” HomeAdvisor home expert Dan DiClerico told Inman. It’s always the most remodeled room in the house.”

“As the economy has improved and as manufacturers have made serious investments in new products, materials and technologies, kitchens are getting a lot of attention,” he said.

Create a smart kitchen

DiClerico attended The Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in January and immediately noticed an emphasis on creating a “smart kitchen,” which includes wireless appliances that work in tandem, voice-controlled lighting and increased safety through app connectivity and notifications.

This technology has finally hit the kitchen, he said.

DiClerico said crowds were most wowed by refrigerators with built-in LCD screens that allow homeowners to view their family’s schedule, order groceries on the spot and see what’s on the shelves without opening the fridge — thanks to small cameras hidden in the door.

Industry professionals were equally enamored with appliances that seamlessly communicate with each other, such as a range hood that automatically turns on when the stove reaches a certain temperature.

DiClerico was impressed with a gas range that connects to a mobile app and notifies homeowners when it’s been on for an hour or more.

Choose easy-to-maintain finishes

When it comes to finishes, materials and fixtures, homeowners are turning away from high-maintenance granite and marble countertops, wood floors and traditional stainless steel.

According to Houzz’s latest kitchen trends report, countertops are the most common upgrade (94 percent), and granite is falling out of favor with a consecutive three-year decline in popularity (45 percent, 41 percent and 34 percent in 2016, 2017 and 2018 studies respectively), while manufactured quartz is quickly gaining steam (43 percent).

Dark finishes are easier to maintain (Photo by iAlicante Mediterranean Homes on Unsplash).

DiClerico said millennials are turning away from traditional kitchen design and are creating demand for low-maintenance options that still look sleek, such as manufactured quartz, which is less porous, easier to clean and offers a plethora of color options.

In addition to ditching granite and marble, homeowners of all ages are gravitating toward black stainless steel, which doesn’t show fingerprints and other stains as easily as traditional silver steel.

They’re also opting for porcelain tiles that resemble wood — a great, cost-effective option for homeowners who struggle with maintaining wood thanks to a moist climate.

Bring the color!

“The white kitchen has been dominate for a decade, but we’re finally starting to see some color, which I think is a good thing,” DiClerico said. “An all-white kitchen is great on day one, but by day 30, you’re discovering just how hard it is to keep that white kitchen looking sparkling new.”

Glidden senior color marketing manager Misty Yeomans and PPG senior color marketing manager Dee Schlotter say Millennial Lilac is the “it color” of the season because it’s a tone that appeals to men and women equally, especially when it’s paired with grey — another color that has maintained popularity over the past year.

Although lavender trending now, Yeomans said warm neutrals are always a safe bet especially when thinking about the resale value of a home.

Millennial Lilac is the ‘it’ color for kitchens and dining rooms (Photo courtesy of PPG).

“Color can serve as a powerful tool for attracting prospective bidders, but trends may change over time, which is why it’s worthwhile to consider what tints are most favorable with would-be buyers,” she said in an emailed statement.

“Neutrals are a great choice to refresh a home before it goes on the market, as these colors work well with a variety of hues and decor,” Yeomans added. “Sellers should not be afraid to work with a deeper neutral like Glidden’s Simmering Smoke, a gorgeous beige grey that provides a glamorous look in any space.”

“A darker hue enables contrast to show off windows and other details and also gives the impression that thought was given to the color selected.”

If neutrals make you yawn, Schlotter said homeowners can create a lush and sultry vibe with hues of black, grey and wine.

“Dark hues are trending in kitchen cabinetry,” she suggested. “For a modern look that infuses sophistication and elegance into your cooking space, incorporate black matte lower cabinets with upper open shelving.”

To keep your room from looking like Dracula’s hideout, Schlotter said homeowners should pair dark paint with burnished gold or amber metallic knobs and handles, and bring in a little light with blonde, pine wood floors.