Kitchen trends that add colour, warmth and durability to your space
Words: Lisa Manfield, Photography: Lia Crowe
Spending more time at home over the past year has inspired many homeowners to invest in revamping their kitchen space. And that has led to a host of trends that are making the heart of the home more functional and fun.
Katerina Vastardis of Designs by KS gave us the scoop on what’s hot in kitchen designs this year. And while the modern white kitchen isn’t going out of style anytime soon, she noted that many of the latest trends are adding character, visual interest and more functionality to today’s kitchens.
Katerina recently designed her own kitchen, and bringing in some warmth was one of her goals.
“I don’t want a stark house,” she says. “I used a mixture of materials and textures so it’s not cold but still contemporary. It’s modern but with character.”
To achieve that sense of warmth, Katerina mixed oak and walnut in the same space and installed black cabinets to cool the brown hues.
“There’s not too much white in my kitchen,” she says. “The only white is the walls.”
To introduce even more texture, Katerina added ceiling slats leading into the laundry room, and created open shelving instead of upper cabinets to display her cookbooks and canisters.
Because she’s an avid cook and entertainer, she also bulked up functionality with an oversized five-foot sink and double dishwashers.
“One is full size and the other is a dishwasher drawer, which carries over whatever the initial dishwasher couldn’t handle—wine glasses, for example.”
Whatever your kitchen style and goals, this year’s trends have got something for everyone. Here are four common trends Katerina is seeing in kitchens this year.
There’s something to be said about the notion of “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” Especially in a busy kitchen.
That could explain why Katerina is seeing more and more people opt for enhanced organization systems, such as interior cabinet accessories, uniform storage units and appliance garages, which hide all the small appliances you use on a regular basis, while keeping them easily accessible.
“The appliance garage is a built-in cabinet with a door that covers your small appliances, but when you move the door out of the way, your mixer or blender or toaster is still at counter height,” she says. “You can use a mechanism called a servo drive so that the door opens with the touch of your hand.”
Interior cabinets are also getting a makeover, with accessories such as pantry pullouts to organize items like oils and spices that are used daily. “With the COVID-19 pandemic, people took home organization to the next level,” Katerina says. “Now, everything is labelled and stored in same-size containers. I’ve got all my oils labelled, and baskets and bins to hold everything for easy pull-out.”
And bonus: easy access and hideaway storage mean more space for prep and less time cleaning up.
Colourful and textured finishes
If you’ve been waiting for a chance to colour your world, the time is now as white cabinets make way for colourful millwork.
“Colours are coming back in,” Katerina says. “For years we were only seeing accent pieces, for example, just the island in a colour like blue. Now we’re seeing people use colour as an overall look; a whole blue or green kitchen.”
Earth tones tend to be the favoured hues, but Katerina is currently doing an apartment with a pink kitchen. And it’s not just coloured millwork.
“In my house, in my daughter’s bathroom, the tiles are pink!” she says.
If colour isn’t your thing, texture might be an option for a creative finish. Quartz has been a kitchen countertop mainstay for a while, and now, wood grains are making a return to cabinets and accents to warm up the space. Backsplash tiles are another great way to add texture to your kitchen tableau.
Cooktops, steam ovens and panelled appliances
Separating your cooking surface from your oven is a great way to create a more continuous countertop space, which not only looks sleeker but is also easier to clean.
“Many of my clients are opting for a cooktop stacked on top of a wall oven, instead of a slide-in range, as it gives you a more built-in look,” Katerina says.
She’s also seeing many clients foregoing microwaves in favour of steam ovens. “They’re a healthier option and offer a richer flavour profile.”
Finally, think panelling, panelling, panelling.
“Almost everything is panelled in my house,” Katerina says. “Off the kitchen is the pantry area and there’s a freestanding fridge; it’s all panelled. My freezer is also panelled, and my wine fridge is as well. Panelling your appliances offers minimal lines instead of stainless steel as a feature.”
And it helps to make small spaces look bigger, so it’s a great option for condos in particular. Another added bonus to panelling? It’s an opportunity to bring in more colour.
Hardwood floors will always be a classic design, but they’re not only expensive, they’re also less resilient than an engineered product.
“Man-made materials are getting better,” Katerina says. “We’re seeing a trend toward vinyl plank, which is waterproof, stain-proof and scratch-resistant”—qualities that are especially valuable in the kitchen.
Similarly, the kitchen island quartz waterfall leg, an extended slab that runs both horizontally as well as the vertical length of the island to the floor, is still going strong and adds a pop of durable continuity to an area that often takes a bit of a beating.
Tile is gaining momentum as well, Katerina says, with its durability and fun design options for kitchen backsplashes and countertops.
“It’s durable and waterproof, and we’re seeing more patterns, shapes and colours come through. People are not hesitating to take that plunge and amp up the interest in their home.”
If a kitchen upgrade is on your to-do list, this year’s trends offer a perfect recipe for letting your personality shine through. So go ahead and cook up a kitchen design that’s uniquely you.