Your kitchen is the one place where you want to be really careful about trendy choices. The last thing you want is a kitchen that looks dated in just a few years simply because you followed a kitchen trend.
Here are eight trends that are popular now but have staying power because they address lifestyle needs, convenience, and savings — ensuring you’ll enjoy your kitchen for many years.
#1 White on White Kitchens
White appliances are so much easier to keep clean than stainless, which smudges if you so much as look at it. Plus, a white look is always on trend because it's able to blend into any style. White appliances are also less expensive than stainless.
Related: Why White Kitchens Stand the Test of Time
#2 Smaller Appliances
Small kitchens are big these days. Microliving is taking off for millennials and retirees. Owners of multigenerational homes are installing tiny, secondary kitchens for returning adult children and elderly parents.
Typically, these microkitchens feature a two-burner cooktop, combo microwave/convection oven, 18-inch dishwasher, and 60-inch fridge or refrigerator drawer.
#3 Quartz Countertops
"Consumers Reports" says quartz is the toughest countertop material, which resists scratches, burns, and chips. A mix of crushed quartz stone and resin produces countertops that range from solid colors to the look of real granite, but they’ll beat natural stone in toughness. It’s easy to maintain, and unlike granite, it doesn't have to be sealed annually to prevent stains.
Related: Which Durable Countertop is Best for Your Kitchen?
#4 LED Rope Lighting
Ribbons of LEDs are showing up in the weirdest — and most wonderful — kitchen places: Along toe kicks as nightlights, on the inside of cabinet doors to show off Grandma’s china, concealed in crown molding to wash ceilings with light. It's a pretty cool kitchen trend that'll stick around because:
- LEDs come in a rainbow of colors, from bright to soft white, red, blue, and green.
- You can get creative about where you install them.
- LEDs emit virtually no heat, so you can keep them on forever without burning cabinets or walls.
- LEDs are energy efficient, lasting 50,000 hours on average — five times longer than compact fluorescent lights.
And they’re coming down in price, making them more affordable for the average homeowner.
#5 Multiple Small Fridges Instead of One Big One
Refrigeration is no longer limited to a single, hulking unit. Homeowners are customizing their cooling needs with “point of use” refrigeration, adding cool where they need it.
That could mean adding a counter-height produce fridge in your prep island, next to a wine cooler for the adults, and a juice/soda fridge for the kids.
Don’t think we’re talking about dorm-fridge quality and prices. U-Line point-of-use refrigerators, for example, offer (depending on the model) 11 shelf positions, full-extension slide-out bins, and five food and beverage settings labeled deli, market, pantry, root cellar and beverage. Units typically sell for $2,500 to $4,000.
#6 Touch-Activated Faucets
Touch-activated faucets have moved from commercial spaces into home kitchens.
On the face of it, touch-activated seems a little gimmicky, and with prices ranging from $300 to $400, it’s certainly a lot of money. But it’s great for those times when you’ve got dirty, chicken-goopy hands, and for those in your household who refuse to turn water on and off between tasks because it’s too much hassle. And as water becomes scarcer, anything that saves gallons will have value — and save you on your water bills.
A reason we recommend touch-free over hands-free: As you know from public bathrooms with hands-free activated faucets, they'll often turn on when you don't want them to and not turn on when you do.
#7 Transitional Design
NKBA designers say contemporary, with its sleek simplicity, is among the most popular kitchen styles. Fussy doodads and decorative and distressed glazes are out.
Contemporary looks sleek and clean, but can also come across as cold. Contemporary design encourages a noncluttered look, which can be hard to maintain in a busy home. So it’s better to hedge your bets with transitional design, which combines contemporary and traditional to bring out the best parts of each.
Aging in place is a big snore — until you get to that age when the right kitchen trends will allow you to stay in your home. And since a large part of the population is reaching retirement age, accessibility finally is catching on — even with homeowners who aren’t intentionally seeking those features. Why? Because the designs make so much sense.
It’s a trend that’s not going away. The use of adaptable and universal design features increased from 20% in 2020 to 27% in 2022, according to the American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey.
Three here-to-stay trends:
1. Side-opening ovens at counter height: You don’t have to reach up or bend down to fetch your turkey, just comfortably slide it out. It’s one of those slap-your-forehead tweaks that make cooking so much more ergonomic and accessible for everyone.
2. Drawers with deep pockets: Base cabinets have evolved from back-bending storage for pots and pans to deep drawer space — typically 24 inches deep — that can hold just about everything in your kitchen.
Continuing that evolution — heck, let’s call a revolution — are deep drawer organizers, ranging from $54 to more than $100, that make sure everything stays in its place, rather than rumble around in chaos. You can customize drawers with:
- Slots to hold plates and store knives
- Dividers to keep your water bottles separate from your vinegar collection
- Stackable trays that separate utensils and flatware
- Removable boxes that let you reorganize the drawers at will
3. Microwave drawers: Just like the side-opening oven, by installing the microwave below counter height in a drawer, it’s easier for everyone to use. Just open it up put your food inside, close, and start it. That's better than above-oven height, which has been the typical location for many years.