Kitchens have always played an important role in the home. They’re not just a place to eat, but also where we congregate with family and friends. During the pandemic, many homeowners put their kitchens to even more use and started to look for ways to make their spaces more functional and aesthetically pleasing.
“The kitchen is really a space for the whole family, so it has to work for everyone,” says Keith Liston, president of Liston Design Build. “People are usually looking for that perfect blend of form and function; they want their kitchen to look beautiful, but they also want easy-to-clean surfaces, energy efficient appliances and durable materials that can stand up to kids, pets and company.”
Last year gave many people the chance to evaluate and redesign their spaces. Liston says that trends his firm has seen include larger islands, extra storage areas and features like touchless faucets that address safety and sanitation. He also has seen people deviating from neutral color palettes to statement looks, like bolder wallpapers and paint colors. He says that this has been part of kitchens becoming more multifunctional during the pandemic. “It’s expanded far beyond just cooking and dining,” he explains. “The kitchen now is a popular room for families to turn to for things like virtual school and working remotely.”
Heather McMahon, a designer at Signature Kitchen & Bath, says that it is clear that homeowners are rethinking the way they use their kitchens. “With a lot more time spent at home during the pandemic, many of our clients have realized how much their space isn’t meeting their family’s needs,” she says. “Kitchens have quickly reverted back to being the most important space in the home, therefore much more thought is going into the design. There has been a move to prioritize multifunctional elements to accommodate the growing need for at-home workspaces.”
Along with design elements that increase function, McMahon notes that people are interested in using different materials. “Some of the most desirable items lately are natural quartzite or marble look-alike quartz countertops that we fabricate in house,” she says. “There also has been a high demand for two-toned cabinetry, large islands with seating and custom cabinetry for hoods.” Other trends include mixed metals, large quartz sinks, backlit mirrors, geometric tile patterns and microwave drawers.
Some of the trends that have been popular in kitchens recently have extended to other parts of the home as well, according to Liston. “Nature is another big trend we’ve seen over the past year-and-a-half, not just in kitchens but in all areas of design,” he says. “People are installing large windows and airy blinds to let in the light, choosing colors that echo the outdoors, selecting natural wood finishes and making indoor plants a central feature. This was a huge part of home design in 2020, as people were looking for ways to feel less confined, and it’s a trend that has been holding on throughout this year as well.”
Photos courtesy of Liston Design Build and Signature Kitchen & Bath