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by Alyssa Davis

Trends come and go in kitchen cabinets, but the newest trends offer a level of holding power that many previous trends have not had. Based less on the latest gimmicks and more on functionality, the new kitchen cabinets tend toward a classical look that has staying power while offering the ease of access that people’s busy lives demand.

Style is Essential

A kitchen with flat plywood or veneered particle doors just doesn’t work anymore. While the look may be neat and easy to clean, there just isn’t any style involved. Today’s modern kitchen revolves around elaborate moldings, panels that have character, coordinating but often contrasting colors. The tendency is toward a look that would have been classic in an old country manor or an Italian villa. 

The Furniture Look

The Furniture Look returns modern kitchens to the way kitchens looked in the 1930s, just with a little less rustic effect. Instead of the solid bank of cabinets we’ve seen for the last 50 years, kitchen designers are creating eclectic looks with a more furniture oriented style. 

For example: The dining room hutch moves into the kitchen. The kitchen sink rests in a sideboard-style cabinet with feet instead of the expected kick panel. The dishwasher resides in a taller armoire style cabinet that stores the silverware and dishes that are used every day.

Included as part of the furniture look is a change in counter heights. Sections of the counter are lowered for different food preparation needs—maybe a baking area or a section just for the short cook in the family. Other sections can be higher. The staggered heights add interest and functionality to the kitchen. kitchen island

New Cabinet Designs

In response to open floor plans, more manufacturers are offering taller cabinets that act as “pedestals” in the layout. When installed at the end of a run of base cabinets, the taller cabinet creates an architectural anchor. 

Dual-level cabinets are another trend. These cabinets are taller at the back, so they create a screen between the living areas and the kitchen counter clutter. A narrow “bar” height counter is usually included that serves double duty as a place to eat or chat.

The insides of cabinets are changing as well. Pullout shelves make everything accessible. Special systems for providing easy access to corner cabinets make smaller kitchens easier to enjoy. Rollout pantries are very popular.

New Woods and New Treatments of Traditional Cabinet Woods

The trend is away from lighter woods and traditional layouts. Bold grain-lines, switching grain-lines from vertical to horizontal, burled grains, and knotty woods are growing in popularity. Woods that have dramatic contrasting colors such as hickory are making an appearance in cabinetry.

New Colors

red glossy kitchen units The trend is moving away from whitewashed finishes and the distressed look. 

Instead, cabinets are embracing bolder colors whether they are natural colors or man-made. 

Paint is in with colors such as sage green and chiffon yellow, though deep blues are also gaining in popularity. 

These trends in cabinets make kitchens more interesting and fun. You don’t have to sacrifice any of the necessary functionality to embrace the new trends. That is why they will be around for a long time. 




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