Designers Discuss the Latest Industry Design Trends

"Our clients want a lot of painted cabinets. Colors in the gray and taupe palette seem to be most popular. I think it’s being driven by what people are seeing in different publications, as well as on Websites such as Houzz, which has a lot of influence on our clients. A lot of furniture seems to be going that way, too.

We’re also seeing different finishes, such as leathered finishes, for stone surfaces. The matte finish seems to add more texture to the overall design.”

Kelly Cross

KC Cabinetry

Denver, CO


"I would say quartz countertops are the newest trend I’ve been seeing, especially those that resemble Carrara marble. My clients can have the marble look without all the problems of marble. At KBIS this year, companies were showing a lot of these new Carrara marble look-alikes, and they were fantastic…definitely one of the coolest products I saw at the show!

In general, everyone seems to want quartz countertops. We’ve been getting away from granite for a number of years. One of the great benefits with quartz is that it doesn’t need to be sealed so it provides my clients with a no-maintenance countertop surface. It’s also scratch and heat resistant, and it comes in so many great colors.

Glass backsplashes are also still going strong, especially in larger sizes…everything from 3"x8" to 8"x11". The larger pieces create a seamless look. I’ve also been doing more stacking, rather than laying in a brick pattern. It gives a more modern look.

Also, in my designs I’ve been doing a lot of clean, California modern with slab front cabinet doors in warm woods and laminates.”

Barbra Bright, CKD, blogger

Barbra Bright Design

San Francisco, CA


"I’m doing more white kitchens than ever before…white cabinets, along with subdued gray walls and wood flooring, especially in the kitchen. They serve as a backdrop for adding color, which is another current trend. It’s like going to an art museum where walls are white to show off the art.

Color seems to be the big thing right now. Everyone wants it. In particular, reds, pinks and purples, as well as yellows and greens, are really hot. Color makes everyone happy. I attended a design seminar not too long ago where they talked about how our industry follows the clothing industry. If you go into any big department store now you’ll find color all over the place. It seems to set the tone…maybe people are exposed to color when they shop for clothes.

I’m doing a lot of accessories, such as bench seats, pillows and window treatments – soft goods – with color, which is changeable when clients tire of it. I’m currently scoping for artwork online for a client who wants to pop a wall with color.

I’m also still doing a lot of distressed and knotty woods, mixing them with creams and whites so the room doesn’t look too sterile. I would also say that designs with cleaner lines – a ‘less-is-more’ theme – are also popular.”

Julie Loehner, CKD

Kitchens by Julie

Cary, IL


"We see gray as a big trend, as well as aqua blue and tangerine. Gray looks good with cooler tones such as aqua blue, and tangerine pops when used with gray.

When I was in design school, I remember a colorist telling us that people choose gray during turbulent times. When people go through a divorce, they choose gray. In the early 1980s when we were going through financial difficulties, gray was a popular trend. And currently we’re experiencing economic turbulence.

We’re seeing a lot of cabinets in gray tones, and colors in accessories and furniture. Restoration Hardware has a lot of gray and neutral tones, and that look is popular with people.”

Tara Hutchens, CKD, CBD

Splash Kitchens and Baths

LaGrange, GA


"I see more and more of our clients requesting painted cabinets…lots of whites and off whites, accented with espresso wood stains or black and grays. Gray, especially, has been a very up and coming color in granite, backsplashes, paint colors and glazes on cabinets.

I also see a lot of classic tiles, especially subway tiles, with a linear look in rectangular sizes such as 4"x12", anything to break up the squareness.

Our clients are also looking for light and bright kitchens. We’ll include larger windows for more natural light. Lightscapes enhance functionality and improve the space from a design perspective. We’ll also do lighter tones for cabinets and granite.”

Rachael Wilmeth, interior designer

Kitchens by Design

Omaha, NE