Celebrity cook and author Rachel Ray, says “Good food and a warm kitchen are what make a house a home.” As the indisputable heart of our homes, the kitchen is where everyone tends to gather. And for good reason—the kitchen is where we find comforting aromas of onions being sautéed, meats slowly braising, or the smells of melting chocolate coming from cookies in the oven.
It is where family and friends can all come together to share meals and catch up on the adventures of the day. So, it is no wonder that people put so much effort and money into sprucing up their kitchens.
Anyone doing a quick Google search will find a wide range of ideas for kitchen remodels—all dependent upon individual tastes—ranging in feel from country to city, in looks from traditional to cutting-edge contemporary, in size, and of course, in budget.
Here are just a few of the top trends we found in the world of kitchens this year:
The 1970s were famous for Earth tones, including avocado green and burnt orange. The 1980s brought us white square tiles framed by golden oak cabinets. By 2000, black granite and stainless steel appliances were avant garde. Fast forward to today and there doesn’t seem to be any one stand-out color—but rather a mix and match of colors.
Billy Carter, owner of Carter Construction in Hollister, says, “More and more people are requesting a mix and match of colors. They’re choosing stained cabinets with light-hued granite counters along the perimeter of their kitchen and then adding a center island with white cabinets and a dark granite top.”
The white and creamy off-white color palette is also a big trend for 2017. Gray and gray-blue, which has been very popular for the last decade, is giving way to bolder colors such as navy, ebony and jewel tones. Dark wood floors finish off the look to give a warm, cozy feel.
Although chrome for kitchen fixtures will never be “out,” black is definitely “in.” For an industrial feel throughout the kitchen, a matte black faucet and standing appliances in colors like oil-rubbed bronze or copper will complement each other. These darker colors for hardware pair well with white and charcoal gray surfaces. To add warm colored accents, look for satin brass drawer pulls.
Years ago, it was every cook’s fear that a hot pot would scar the Formica or Corian counter top. That problem was alleviated with heat resistant white tiles accompanied by brown grout (with its penchant for accumulating grease and grime). Now, newer and sturdier materials such as granite and quartz in swirling arrays of colors are available.
“Unpolished granites with a matte, leathery finish are big hitters right now,” says Shannon Allen of Silva Custom Construction in Morgan Hill. “The texture gives interest to the material without overwhelming the space and is very practical at the same time.” A white quartz counter lends a level of sophistication with black faucets and blue cabinets.
Those searching for an eco-friendly material might consider a composite countertop, which, made from recycled paper, is stone-like in appearance and durability. Available in lots of colors, these countertops inhibit the growth of bacteria, emit no radon gasses, and are considered food safe. Although anything hotter than 350 degrees will scorch the material, any scratches or burn marks can be sanded out with an abrasive pad.
For some people, reclaimed wood with its rustic, storied beauty is the material of choice for kitchen cabinets—especially woods with grainy textures, such as pecky cypress. And whether plain white or other vibrant colors, painted wood is also in vogue.
“Our customers have been really drawn to white cabinets lately and the shaker style is the top contender,” says Allen.
The convenience of pull-out shelves remains a top-requested kitchen feature, increasing storage space and with the added benefit of being a back-saver. Open shelving, in lieu of closed cabinets, is also trending and is not only great for storing everyday dishware but also small pieces of art or little planters full of green herbs, ferns or succulents.
Concealed appliances, built in flush with adjacent countertops and hidden behind cabinetry, make guests wonder where the refrigerator is. Now, even microwave drawers are part of remodeling projects.
People are also looking for ways to add convenience to their lives and to their cooking.
“Smart trends for kitchens include ‘pot-filler faucets’ which are wall-mounted directly above the stove and save you from lugging a heavy pot of water from the sink to the stove,” says Lisa Harrington, business development manager at D.R. Domenichini Construction of San Martin. “With wine and coffee more popular than ever, we are seeing more built-in wine cooler fridges and coffee centers comprised of state-of-the-art coffee machines, with room to store coffee mugs, spoons and creamers.”
Also new on the horizon for larger kitchens with plenty of drawer space are slow cooker/warming drawer combos.
For fresh herbs at your fingertips, there are self-watering gardens that are compact enough to sit atop a kitchen counter. Utilizing grow-lights, these gardens can produce a year-round supply of basil, oregano and mint.
The Internet of Things has arrived in the kitchen. According to a recent Consumer Reports article, 33 percent of all kitchens will have a connected device by the end of 2017. Many of us regularly use our laptops or tablets to Google a recipe or watch an instructional video.
But taken a step further, there are now refrigerator sensors that regulate the temperature, generate recipes based on the available ingredients you have on hand and even produce a shopping list for when items need to be replenished.