The 2016 Kitchen of the Year
Because I spend a lot of time perusing real estate listing photos for fun, I look at A LOT of dated kitchen designs. It is very easy to tell roughly the time period in which a kitchen was installed. There are always things that date a kitchen design– be it the partial overlay oak cabinets of the 80’s, the faux-painted tuscan 90’s kitchen, or the 00’s espresso slab doors.
I thought I would take a look at the biggest kitchen design trends to see what finishes are the most popular for 2016. Combining these elements will give us the quintessential style of a 2016 kitchen renovation or new construction project. Whether your choose to embrace or avoid these elements is up to you.
2016 may well be the year of the white kitchen. A recent National Association of Home Builder’s survey indicated that 67% of home buyers want white painted cabinets in the kitchen. After viewing hundreds of real estate listings, I can say that kitchens with white cabinets are hands down, the most non-offensive kitchens I have seen. Most other kitchens are in desperate need of an update but most white kitchens are harder to peg to a time period (ignoring 80’s white melamine). If one is looking for the most timeless and resale friendly kitchen, white cabinets are the way to go. At minimum they should be continue to be popular for much of the next decade until other painted finishes overtake them.
Full overlay, shaker panel doors are everywhere, they are classic and yet fresh and contemporary at the same time.
According to a recent study by Houzz.com, 65% of people doing kitchen renovations choose stainless steel appliances. The days of integrated refrigerators and dishwasher are over. Even the range hood has literally come “out of the woodwork” as a decorative element in stainless steel.
According to the Builder Practices Survey, conducted by Home Innovation, buyers in the new home market are choosing granite countertops 64% of the time. Most builders have a small selection of standard “builder-grade” granites to choose from. These generally have limited color variation or veining to maximize yield from each slab.
Take a look at Pinterest, Houzz, or any home decor magazine and you will see that most new kitchen designs have hardwood floors. The most popular seem to be wide plank, dark stained which offer a nice contrast to white kitchen cabinets. This synergy may be a large part of what is driving the white cabinet trend. Hardwood offers many benefits over tile. It is easier on the feet, refinishable, often less expensive, and more timeless than tile. In the recent Houzz survey mentioned above, 35% of remodelers chose hardwood flooring.
Open shelving used in lieu of upper cabinets have become popular. I do not think this trend has taken hold in the builder market so I would still expect to see standard upper cabinets for several years. Glass fronts on upper cabinets in high-ceiling rooms and decorative glass fronts on key cabinets around sinks are something that is relatively standard even in builder-grade kitchens.
Today’s most popular tile styles seem to be white, grey, or soft colored ceramic or glass tiles. The ever-classic subway tile never goes out of style. Or, increasingly, backsplash tiles have detailed laser cut patterns or flowing interlocking shapes. There is no boxed-in tile accent area behind the stove, the pattern just runs the full backsplash, sometimes extending to the ceiling.
Whether you choose to avoid them or embrace them, knowing kitchen finish trends for 2016 needs to be part of your kitchen renovation education process.