Kick off the decade in style with the latest materials, colors and other elements you may be seeing a lot more of soon.
1. Three-tone kitchens. Two-tone kitchen cabinets — meaning the upper cabinets are one color and the lower cabinets another color, or the perimeter cabinets are one color and the island is a different color — dominated kitchens in the past couple of years. So it’s only natural that designers are building on the trend rather than doing away with it.
In a three-tone kitchen, one more color or material is introduced to create an asymmetry in the palette that helps define zones or functions and keeps the eye moving.
Here, designer Janina Cabrera of J Style at Home designed a gorgeous kitchen with white perimeter cabinets, a light wood island base and a knockout powder-blue hutch.
2. Refaced cabinets. Keeping the cabinet boxes while replacing the drawer and door fronts is an affordable way to dramatically update a kitchen, and it’s an idea homeowners will increasingly turn to.
Here, Kitchen Magic, which specializes in cabinet refacing, enhanced midtone oak cabinets to create a refreshing kitchen with the same layout as the former kitchen.
3. Blue cabinets. Speaking of blue cabinets, interior designer and color expert Jennifer Ott predicts that the color will catch on even more in 2020. “Both black and navy continue to be popular, and I anticipate seeing them used in even larger doses in 2020, such as for all of the kitchen cabinets rather than just the base cabinets or island,” she says. “To balance out these dramatic darks, I’m seeing equally liberal use of neutral to warm whites, such as wool and bone white. These are whites that have just the slightest touch of warmth to them, which keeps them clean and crisp-looking.”
Even the Pantone Color Institute picked Classic Blue as its 2020 Color of the Year.
4. Wood cabinets. As you’ll see, wood features heavily throughout this article, and we seem to be on the cusp of a renaissance of full-wood kitchen cabinets. Perhaps it’s a reaction to past years of mostly white and gray palettes, but some credit must be given to designers, artisans and cabinetmakers who have shown their clients how rich and diverse various woods and grain patterns can be.
If there’s one wood that might outshine them all in 2020, it’s walnut. Walnut is such a naturally rich, warm, elegant and inviting wood, which makes it perfect for lively kitchens. Walnut pairs beautifully with whites, grays, blues and brass tones — all popular colors in modern-day kitchens. So it’s no wonder that designers and homeowners like it.
Designer Bobbi Alderfer of Lifestyle Design used walnut cabinetry in this Illinois kitchen. “Its finish color, construction and simplicity made it the natural choice for this kitchen overhaul,” she says.
6. Slabs. If the thought of grout lines gives you pause, or you’ve hit analysis paralysis when trying to choose a backsplash tile, consider taking your countertop material one step further. A slab backsplash, especially in a material with lots of movement, makes for an eye-catching design statement.
8. Porcelain. While engineered quartz will continue its rise in popularity as a countertop material (51% of renovating homeowners choose the material, according to the latest Houzz research), some designers are looking for alternatives that deliver a more polished look with the same durability.
Designer Tom Johnson of Hyde Park Renovations is excited about porcelain slabs, which he used for the island in the kitchen shown here. “With porcelain you get very vivid patterns while still sharing stain- and heat-resistant qualities that make quartz so popular,” he says.
9. Quartzite. As granite continues to decline in popularity, according to recent Houzz research, quartzite seems to be rising. The natural stone is harder than granite and displays infinite variation, meaning no two slabs ever look the same. It’s also super heat-resistant and more scratch-resistant than engineered quartz.
This kitchen, which was the most popular one uploaded in 2019, features a dramatic Florida quartzite island countertop.
11. Butcher block or other wood countertops. If you’re choosing a countertop material for an island that’s different than your perimeter countertops, consider butcher block or a wood slab. Recent Houzz research reveals that among renovating homeowners who want a contrasting island material, 41% choose butcher block or a wood slab, followed by a distant 28% who choose engineered quartz.
For this kitchen in Saratoga Springs, New York, the homeowner built the wood-top island.
12. Ultrathin materials. Also at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show earlier this year, many companies introduced technology that allows for thinner engineered countertops.
Wilsonart introduced ultrathin countertops in a range of designs: stone and quartz looks as well as wood-look and steel patterns. The European-inspired ultrathin surfaces, one of which is shown here, are one-half-inch thick and can be installed with an undermount sink. The material is a new composite made of resins and paper.
13. Decorative sink panels. The age of customization is upon us. Many home design companies are rolling out appliances and other features that allow homeowners to choose personalized colors and patterns, or that allow them to easily swap out decorative features to instantly update a fixture.
Earlier this year Kohler introduced its Tailor customizable farmhouse sink (shown here), which has a changeable decorative front panel. Homeowners can choose one of Kohler’s six decorative panels, which include floral and geometric. This panel is called Light Floral. Alternatively, customers can insert their own material, like a countertop material or tile, into the panel slot.
16. Wood detailing on range hoods. As mentioned earlier, wood is showing up in full force in kitchens. One interesting way wood is being used in kitchens is as a detail on a paneled range hood, as shown here.
A wood detail on a range brings in a bit of warmth and texture, and helps break up large expanses of white or gray cabinetry.
Notice the beautiful slab backsplash in this kitchen as well.
17. Wood cabinets amid painted cabinets. Another way designers are bringing a dose of warm wood to white cabinets is by using wood for just a few drawers or cabinet fronts. Again, it helps break up the large expanses of white or another color and introduces texture and warmth.
Here, walnut pullouts for pots and pans do the job of bringing a bit of cozy contrast to the frosty white cabinets and marble-look quartz countertops. Note also that the quartz-slab backsplash matches the countertop.
18. Multifunctional island centers. Kitchen islands are nothing new, but they certainly are evolving. We’re seeing many homeowners take islands beyond just storage. And as we’ll see, islands are getting bigger and are taking on more function. Nearly a third of renovating homeowners who are updating their island will add a microwave and a dishwasher, according to the latest Houzz research. A quarter of them will add a garbage disposal, and more than a fifth will add a cooktop.
That means islands are becoming multifunctional hubs in the kitchen, allowing various zones for cooking, prepping and cleaning. And it makes sense for the person in the kitchen performing all the main tasks to be facing the island, at which guests and family might be sitting, rather than the perimeter walls.
The island shown here, by designer Adriana Solmson, includes a bar-height zone for sitting, a prep zone, a cooking zone, dish storage and a beverage fridge.
20. Wood islands. Again, wood is showing up everywhere in kitchens. While the latest Houzz research shows that renovating homeowners who are upgrading their island and choosing a contrasting cabinet color will select a gray (26%), blue (19%) or black (11%) island, wood islands are becoming popular. In fact, the choice of a medium-tone wood island by homeowners matches that of black (11%).
Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath incorporated a beautiful midtone wood island into this Virginia kitchen to help anchor the room and warm up the white cabinets, cool blue backsplash tile and dark countertops.
21. Extra-large islands. As we asked earlier this year, at what size does an island stop being an island and become a continent? It’s a tough call, but the latest Houzz research shows that nearly a third of renovating homeowners who are upgrading their kitchen island make it more than 7 feet. (That means the average NBA center player could lie down comfortably on it!)
“Many of our clients are doing away with kitchen tables and opting for super-large islands,” designer Katelyn Gilmour of KBG Design says. “That way family and guests can be close by or dine informally while still gathering together in the kitchen.”
In this Los Gatos, California, kitchen, Gilmour created a supersize island with a light wood base, a marble-look quartz countertop and seating for six. (Again, note the use of wood as the island base.)
23. Tiled bathtub aprons. Tile is a great, affordable material that adds design points to a bathroom, and ordering a few extra square feet of tile likely won’t sink the budget. That’s why we’re seeing many homeowners and designers covering the tub apron in tile or another material, like wood. This results in a big payoff with a minimal investment.
Dvira Interiors used mini marble mosaic tile on every surface in this Toronto bathroom to help integrate all the angles.
24. Walk-in showers. This might seem like a no-brainer, but the desire for a walk-in shower seems like it has reached a fever pitch. Some of our most popular articles of 2019 are about walk-in shower ideas. Many homeowners want big showers that are easy to get into and out of, and because showers are the tallest element in a bathroom, figuring out how to make them stand out and look good is a common concern.
Here, matte black fixtures, graphic floor tiles and industrial lights above the vanity make for a sleek and stylish bathroom in Denver.
A bathtub was sacrificed to make room for this streamlined shower with a floor-to-ceiling glass partition that makes the ceiling seem higher.
Black wall tile measuring 12 by 24 inches in a straight-lay pattern with black grout in the shower, combined with a partial glass door framed in black metal, gives the room a bold look.
28. A seat in the bathroom that’s not the toilet. Whether for brushing teeth, taking off house slippers or just idling away on the internet, a place to relax in the bathroom is something almost every homeowner could benefit from having. In bathrooms on Houzz, we’re seeing seating pop up as everything from built-in benches to stools that provide versatility.
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29. Fully wrapped powder rooms. Going for bold style in a powder room is nothing new. Designers tend to like to go a little wild in these small spaces often used by guests. One way to go big or go home is by wrapping the entire powder room in a feature wallcovering.
Designer Kimberlee Gorsline of Kimberlee Marie Interior Design wrapped this popular powder room in white shiplap to create a textured backdrop for the mint-green vanity and patterned ceramic tile floor.
30. Breezy, calming living rooms. One thing we heard designers talking a lot about this year, particularly at Design Chicago, is the need to design around a sense of calm and wellness. We’re seeing that manifest in soothing and relaxed living room designs. Soft colors, casual fabrics, minimal decor and lots of sunshine hit the note just right, as seen in this Santa Monica, California, living room by Irene Lovett of designstiles.
31. Deep utility sinks. One thing that keeps coming up again and again in 2019 laundry room photos is a large country or farmhouse utility sink, like the one shown in this laundry room by Sarah Martin of Beautiful Chaos.
If you use a sink to presoak lots of clothing items, such as dirty sports gear for your kids, a deep and wide sink with a wall-mounted faucet is perfect for getting the job done. Plus, the design adds a little charm.
32. Bright colors. Designers have long championed making laundry rooms enjoyable spaces to be in. After all, if you have to do laundry, you might as well be in a pleasant atmosphere. But lately we’re seeing designers and homeowners take that idea even further. They’re introducing energizing colors, patterns and features to transform these spaces into enjoyable rooms, making them lively, cheerful and a bit quirky.
Blue appliances, blue doors, a red sink and vibrant wallpaper give this compact Los Angeles space by New Generation Home Improvements fun bohemian style.
33. Dining rooms with personality. While many family meals are had at informal spots near or in the kitchen, dining rooms are thriving for special occasions. That specialness opens up opportunities to inject lots of personality through color, pattern, lighting and more that might not fit within the context of the style found elsewhere in the home, and we expect to see more designers doing just that in 2020.
Sara Malek Barney and Mackenzie Wood of Bandd Design created this sophisticated dining room in Austin, Texas, which features a brass chandelier, custom jade-colored drapes and feather-print wallpaper. Eight dining chairs with dark gray upholstery and metal legs surround the authentic Saarinen Tulip table.
34. Warmer colors. While neutrals are still very popular in general, on Houzz we’re starting to see people move away from grays and head toward warmer colors, from coral in all shades to ocher and beyond.
“Millennial Pink, so popular three or four years ago, is back, but the current incarnation is warmer — a very light coral,” designer Jennifer Ott says. “Another popular color trend is bringing together warm and cool colors in unexpected combinations, such as hot pink with pistachio green or soft coral with a bright mint.”
Designer Phoebe Schuh of PS & Daughters says she’s noticing people moving away from grays and heading toward warmer colors as well. “Coral in all shades is becoming popular, and ocher is also catching on as a fun boho color,” she says.
Here, a light coral sofa delivers a dose of warmth to the bohemian-style living room designed by Michelle Gage.