As we prepare to welcome a new year, many of us are cooking up ideas to freshen up our kitchens. This year’s trends will build on what we saw last year: a style recipe largely fueled by Americans spending more time at home and using their kitchens for far more than just cooking. Work, school, and recreation infiltrated our kitchens, which were already bustling with activity. Kitchen trends for 2022 include a focus on finishes, high-tech appliances, and upgraded, flexible lighting – all with an eye toward increased functionality and versatility with a heaping portion of aesthetic flair.
Check out these trends, which will help develop a recipe to ensure your kitchen works best for you.
Focus on Finishes
With several paint companies naming varying shades of green (like “Blanched Thyme,” “Olive Sprig,” or “Breezeway”) or as their “Colors of the Year,” green will be hot for walls and cabinets. (If you’re not keen to commit to a more permanent pop of a trendy hue, opt for accessories or even small appliances or cookware in a vibrant shade.) If green’s not your thing, fear not: blues will remain en vogue this year as well.
Other popular finishes are natural or nature-inspired: woods, stone, and other organic materials will be dominating the ingredient list for a stylish kitchen. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, painted wood remains the most common choice for cabinets, but many designers recommend natural wood grain with great success. Beautifully grained walnut or white oak makes for a lovely kitchen, and it’s a far cry from the country golden oak we saw in the 80s.
Nature-inspired materials are also found in lighting, with jute, rattan, bamboo, and wood popping up in lighting manufacturers’ line-ups. The natural elements throughout the kitchen help warm it up, particularly in contrast to hard surfaces such as the quartz or granite countertops, ceramic tile, and stainless steel we often find in such spaces. Other fave finishes for lighting are black and gold, with white fixtures gaining popularity.
For cabinet hardware and fixtures, bold and bright lend just the right flavor to this year’s kitchens. Gold tones and brass are expected to grow in popularity, as is black. And large, statement hardware is very much in demand – like extra-wide drawer pulls or elongated cabinet handles.
Appliances go High-tech
Appliances are an integral part of the kitchen, allowing for the bulk of the function: cooling, cooking, washing. And there are two emerging schools of thought for them this year: to be seen … or not! Integrated appliances blend in almost seamlessly with cabinetry and offer a sleek, uncluttered look like the Thermador pieces in this stunning Idaho kitchen. But some appliances are meant to be seen, like brightly-colored pieces with stunning finish and hardware combinations, like the Cafe Series by GE. Either way, they make a statement and add significant flavor to your kitchen aesthetic.
Technologically advanced appliances are a must. Manufacturers are updating their lines with added features that align with today’s connected homes. As such, many tech-savvy consumers are updating and willing to wait a bit and/or splurge on the just-right appliance that helps make their life easier. Features like remote pre-heating and being notified when timers go off no matter where you are can help homes run more smoothly – and that’s something today’s homeowners get excited about.
Wi-fi capability is high on long-time Mahlander’s Appliance sales guru Tom Marso’s list of must-haves for clients with busy schedules.
“Pre-heating an oven so you can throw in dinner when you get home from work is big time-saver,” explains Marso, referring to the tech available in today’s appliances. “… Or in some of the larger homes, you can look on your phone to see how much time is left before the washer or dryer is finished.”
Overall, it’s about convenience and that’s a key ingredient in today’s kitchens.
Flexible Lighting Schemes
Since kitchens have become truly multi-purpose, it’s crucial for their lighting schematics to be flexible. That’s why layering your lighting is essential. Multiple sources of light are necessary for the wide variety of tasks – homework, office work, cooking, baking, clean-up – and transitioning between work and domestic life. Think spot lighting for more focused tasks and softer, mood light for those in-between times.
Start with ceiling fixtures to light up broader width of the space. Pendants can be layered in over the kitchen table or island for task lighting as well as ambient lighting. (Dimmers add to the flexibility of almost any fixture, but especially pendants and chandeliers.) Under-cabinet lighting gives you direct task lighting for prep areas and serves as a great night light.
Sconces are emerging as a go-to, flexible light for kitchens. Whether hardwired or plugged in, sconces can be placed precisely where they are needed most and offer both style and illumination.
Whatever your style, these three key ideas can help ensure you’re pleased with both the form and function of your updated (or brand new!) kitchen. Be sure to add a dash of your own unique flavor to your space to make it your own, and don’t hesitate to look to the pros for help in selecting the perfect appliances and lighting for your room. It’s a recipe for success – and a tasteful, timeless kitchen you’ll enjoy for years to come.