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Every year, designers eagerly anticipate what the home trends ahead will be, particularly when it comes to kitchens, because the appliances, storage ideas and needs for this room are always evolving and changing. While some styles will stay for years and even decades, others have a shorter shelf-life and you can date when the space was designed based on a few tell-tale details.
 
Now don’t get me wrong—this isn’t a bad thing. It’s not like your family or friends are going to walk into your new-ish kitchen and say “This is so 2013!” Unless it’s time to give your kitchen a full makeover, it can just be fun to freshen it up a little with some small changes that embrace your favourite new ideas. Here are some 2016 concepts that are already making an appearance:
 
Stylish Storage
Today’s kitchen is embracing a clutter-free vibe. Instead of having a myriad of small appliances, spice racks, utensil holders and tchotchkes out on your counters, designers are encouraging smart storage options that allow a more open, usable workspace for cooking and food prep.savvy-cabinets
 
Cupboard and drawers are now being designed with specific, modern uses in mind, including built-in cupboards complete with a drop-down front to hide your microwave when it’s not in use (keep in mind that if you opt for this cool way of hiding your microwave, it’s important that you have it designed specifically for this appliance as microwaves need to have their vents clear to expel heat when cooking or you’re looking at a fire hazard). Spice racks are being built into drawers and lazy-Susans making their contents easily visible to you when needed, but out of the way when not. Extra utensil drawers are being built for keeping your larger cooking spoons, whisks, etc. in, and some upper cupboards are being built with more height per shelf so that you can store these items there.
 
The hip décor items we inject personality into our kitchen with are still present, but there are less of them and they’re being given a shelf of honour that takes them off of your counters. These shelves are used to create irresistible vignettes that really let your beloved knick-knacks shine, while giving your kitchen a more usable, breathable feel.
 
Feeling Neutral
Not long ago, kitchens went through a phase where there was bright colour everywhere. We saw cabinets painted in loud primary colours, blends of punchy reds and vibrant blues—it was a positive rainbow to cook in! This was shortly followed by a love of pastels. Pale mint shelves, pink cabinets, baby blue walls—it was still very colourful but a bit softer and more toned-down than the lime green cabinets that came before.
We are now seeing a return to a more neutral, elegant colour palette for kitchens. Soft greys, different shades of white (think softer white versus a very sharp, harsh white), pale taupes and beiges—it’s a much more timeless selection of shades and they create a kitchen that feels sophisticated yet inviting. Instead of announcing your style in blaring hues that can drown everything else out, they’re saying it over a nice cup of coffee with a gentle smile. For pops of colour, we’re seeing washed-out grey-blues and very pale yellows—even muted mints. I have to say, I am a big fan of this. A soft grey and white kitchen with subtle pieces of blue gives you a calm, soothing space where you can unwind after a hectic day while preparing dinner. There’s so much yelling for our attention these days—I like the idea of your kitchen not being one of those things.
 
Colour in Unexpected Places
Appliances are starting to come back in these same soft blues and mints—is that not a fun way to add some colour to your space? Coffee-makers, microwaves, mixers—these are all available in stylish hues that can let you pick-up your colour scheme. One of the very cool new places we’re seeing colour embraced is the kitchen sink. Beautiful, deep farmhouse sinks in quiet blues and rich greys. They really anchor the space, and frankly they are a joy to use. Practical and beautiful—that seems to be the theme of 2016 kitchens and I am on board with that!
 
Mixing Textures
Kitchens used to be very uniform in their materials, but now they’re being mixed and layered and the results are show-stopping. Soft woods mixed with dark to bring some presence to your neutral kitchen, a different quartz is covering your island compared to the one on your counters, your lower cabinets are one Article2colour or material and your upper are a slight variation of that—this blending is all about things complimenting each other while adding depth and character to your kitchen. This is especially great if you want to do some minor updates without a full-blown makeover because your older pieces mixed in with your newer will achieve this look effortlessly. One of the really cool options we’re seeing are for islands that also have breakfast bars on them—the food prep surface will be quartz or marble, and the dining section is in a totally different material to create this perfect juxtaposition.
 
Metals
Metallic finishes and surfaces crept in to kitchen design many moons ago in the form of handles, hanging pot racks and stainless steel appliances. Metallics are bigger than ever this year, but they’re being given a brushed finish to make them less reflective and more subtle (added bonus—brushed metals are also easier to keep clean-looking!). Rose gold and antique-finished brass are big in the jewellery and fashion world these days, so it’s not really a surprise that they’re finding room for themselves in the kitchen too. Cabinet handles and smaller appliances are being released in these finishes, and they are adding a total wow factor in a pleasingly understated fashion. Like the other 2016 kitchen trends, these details blend into the overall effect of the room rather than screaming for your focus.
 
Range hoods are also appearing in unique metal options—blackened steel, brushed copper, oil-rubbed bronze. While we used to paint or finish hood ranges in a way that minimalized their presence, they are now being used to add to the aesthetics, which given their size makes more sense than trying to blend them away, doesn’t it? The darker finishes offer an anchor to your neutral palette, and they somehow add a more lived-in, time-passing touch, which gives your kitchen the warmth all kitchens should have.
 
While the emergence of lovely new finishes, appliances and options for your kitchen are always welcome and fun, and it’s enjoyable reviewing them to see if you want to implement any or all of them into your home, the most important thing is that you’re creating a space you are happy in. The kitchen is considered the heart of the home, so yours should reflect your tastes and needs (unless you’re planning to sell soon, in which case, rose-gold handles stat!).
 
 

Originally Published by The Chronicle Herald

 

Alexandra Kelter

 
Alexandra Kelter is a social media specialist with Central Home Improvements. Her column covers many aspects of home improvement, both indoor and outdoor, and will combine trending styles with practical applications all within realistic budgets. Kelter is also passionate about fashion, travel, living by the ocean and her bulldog.