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Kitchens are no longer a hidden secret in the back of the house. With the rise in open concepts, this space has truly become the heart of the home, and it reflects the owner’s style more than any other. What trends should you look at as you get ready to update your family’s favorite room? This year’s kitchens are getting bolder colors, smarter storage and decluttered countertops.

Think Bold, Dark Colors

While a wash of white from counter to cabinet is still a popular choice, this is the year where bold, dark colors get their due. How dark? Greens, blues, dark plums, and yes, even “ultra violet” are popping up in the more color-forwrad renovations on cabinets, walls, backsplashes, foyers and pantries. Blue kitchens with contrasting brass fixtures started gaining traction in 2017, but this year, designers are going one step further. The rise of green satisfies those wanting a more serene, back-to-nature vibe, while the vibrant “ultra violet” has become a more considered option since it was named Pantone’s color of the year.

Choose Pops of Color

If you still love the look of clean white shaker cabinets, countertops and backsplashes, you are in good company. According to Real Simple, this classic palette and style will still reign. But what should you do if you want to add a little something new to your kitchen décor? Consider adding a sink in a new color rather than choosing a traditional white or stainless model. The options range from delicate blues to the more dramatic “ultra violet” options, and the new sink can become a focal point that will give your kitchen an updated feel without spending a lot of money on a big reno.

Paint Two-Tone Cabinets

A great way to add character to your kitchen is to introduce two-tone cabinets into your style mix. You can keep the classic white upper cabinets and then opt for darker lower cabinets into your style mix. You can keep the classic white upper clarinets and then opt for darker lower cabinetry on the island. You don’t need huge contrasts, even variations on white can make your kitchen pop. Gray cabinets are much loved, and, of course, bolder colors will also make your décor sing. Don’t be surprised if you also start seeing a variety of materials being used on uppers and lowers. Cabinet faces can trend more rustic than their boxes to create new textures in the space.

Update Your Flooring

Real Simple recently ran a survey by Houzz revealing that hardwood floors remain wildly popular. And in keeping with the movement towards contrasts, those floors are darker than ever when the paint on the cabinets and walls swing lighter. The darker woods lend a warmer element to the room. People are also starting to choose more dramatic patterns in the kitchen – think herringbone! If hardwoods (or laminates) are not your favorites, don’t despair. Ceramic tiles are making a big push this year. They allow for more personalization in terms of color and style. Consider working with designers to create custom tiles to reflect your personality.

Try Statement Countertops

Are your countertops starting to look worn or outdated? Over the last few years, renovations have seen granite countertops replaced in favor of quartz. Why the trend? Engineered quartz is more durable and stain resistant. That’s a huge bonus for anyone who cooks a lot, has kids or doesn’t want to worry about every red wine spill. Quartz has also started appearing in neutral colors alongside the classic white samples. Want to go even bolder? Consider mixing countertop materials, using different options in prep areas. Don’t be surprised if you also see soapstone in more kitchens this year and next.

Embrace Smart Storage and Decluttering

The decluttering trend has landed in kitchens in a big way. The desire for clear countertops has resulted in different choices, from the products people are buying to their high-tech storage solutions. Instant Pots made their way onto the scene because people loved the simplicity of buying one tool that does so many things with ease. Smart storage has also taken over. Picture smart cabinets that can hide your coffeemaker, power cords and all. These so-called “appliance garages” are perfect for smaller appliances, and they take tools out of the visual range to give your kitchen an overall less cluttered feel. Plus, they often take small appliances off your prep space – a huge bonus for anyone working in smaller kitchens or who loves the minimalist aesthetic.

Other trends include multi-tiered drawers, deep drawer organizers and hydraulic cabinet pieces that lift out of the way when not in use (fantastic for stand mixers). If a pantry is on your wishlist, take a look at the latest options for building wall pantries into your existing layout. These stylish built-ins add a custom touch to your kitchen, blend well with your overall design and provide fantastic storage opportunities.

Leap into the Smart Kitchen

The year started with a big push toward incorporating automatic sensors for faucets and sensor-activated lighting for overheads and in-cabinet devices. Assistant technology, along the lines of Google Home or Amazon’s Echo, is seeing increased demand. Today, your meat thermometer can tell you when your meal is ready. Want to go bigger? Think about incorporating smart refrigerators that will alert you through your app to tell you when you need groceries – and which grocery items are going bad.

Build Multi-Functional Island

Islands have long been favorites for anyone who wants to increase their prep space. Style-wise, islands are set to make a visual impact. From dramatic waterfall countertops to bold color facing, these pieces are meant to be seen. This year, kitchen islands are getting a functionality upgrade to provide not only more storage, but a taste of luxury. Add-ins like wine refrigerators, prep-sinks and baking ovens are becoming more and more popular. If you’d like to incorporate more seating for this entertaining/family space, consider creating a counter overhand and adding tall, colorful stools that fit underneath.

Upgrade Your Appliances

Commercial grade appliances with a classic stainless steel look have been all the rage, but this year is seeing a real swing toward new finishes and improved functionality. Designer appliances in black stainless steel are making a big push, and gray-toned options with brushed finishes are getting more orders. For those looking to add that splash of color, it isn’t unusual to see designers adding a colorful, vintage-like (yet, undoubtedly modern) piece into a kitchen that was once dedicated to standard appliance suites. Commercial ranges are fading a bit, as the turn toward luxury pieces like induction cooktops continues. Steam ovens are getting kudos and being credited for increasing food flavors, while French door wall ovens are sparking interest for their Bluetooth-enabled cook functions.

Are these the only new kitchen trends? Absolutely not! People can get big boosts from little changes like adding in rose gold or copper finishes or hardware. Oversized light fixtures in bold colors can become statement pieces that can add depth to even traditional kitchens. Don’t worry about mixing and matching colors. Paint your walls a dark color that highlights your white cabinets. Add metallic trims, change your stove hood to copper or consider a disappearing hood technique that blends the good with your backsplash. This is the year that kitchens go bold.

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