BETHLEHEM, PA — An expanded focus is being placed on “hard-working” kitchen islands that serve as everything from a gathering place and storage to a cooking, prepping and entertaining space, according to an annual report on key design trends issued by the National Kitchen & Bath Association.
The NKBA recently issued its 2024 Kitchen Trends Report, an annual research initiative that spotlights the leading anticipated trends in kitchen design over the next three years.
According to the report’s findings, more than 57% of surveyed designers say their clients prefer an eat-in kitchen area instead of a formal dining room, while 48% identified large islands as a top priority for serving and dining. In addition, by eliminating noisy appliances and banging cabinet doors, designers are making the kitchen “more suitable for everything from entertaining and eating to work and learning,” the NKBA said, adding that 65% of surveyed designers said their clients want ultra-quiet dishwashers, and 41% are ditching noisy trash compactors in favor of standard pull-out receptacles.
Among the other leading takeaways from the report:
Environmentally Conscious. Sustainability continues to be top-of-mind for both designers and homeowners, with a focus on selecting long-lasting products to reduce the need for replacement, donating old cabinets and appliances for reuse, allocating kitchen storage for recycling, and creating kitchen storage for use in composting.
Well-Curated Lighting. In addition to incorporating abundant natural light into their kitchen designs, designers say they’re using multiple layers of lighting to support different functions: ambient lighting to create various moods (85%), decorative statement lighting to showcase design elements (80%), and nighttime lighting for safety and aesthetics (69%). Light sensing, motion sensing, voice activation and programmable control options all play a key role in enhancing the functionality of kitchen lighting.
A Place for Wellness and Nutrition. Current kitchen design is focused on nutrition and the healthy eating habits of homeowners. Seventy-eight percent of designers say homeowners want more refrigeration space with better flexibility to accommodate healthy lifestyles, and 68% want appliances with integrated cooking functions like air frying and steam cooking.
Minimalistic Designs. Kitchens with minimalistic designs that are free of clutter and easy to maintain will be popular in the next two to three years. Streamlined kitchen designs will include contemporary, modern, mid-century and Scandinavian influences of simplicity. Elements that will blend seamlessly or invisibly into the rest of the kitchen will include refrigeration appliances, flooring, sinks and lighting, among others.
Cabinet choices. Modern, European flat-panel designs that are free of hardware with push-to-open technology will be the most in-demand. Hidden electrical outlets and kitchen appliances, as well as charging station solutions within cabinets, will also add to minimalistic designs.
Uncomplicated cooking and cleaning. Easy-to-clean countertops using heat-tolerant and stain-resistant materials will be in demand. Induction cooktops integrated into these surfaces will also become more common, providing a polished, coordinated look. Countertops will also be extended into the backsplash so they flow into the design and can be cleaned easily.
Absence of clutter. Expect to see more solutions to keep clutter hidden or off countertops, like pantries with more space, islands with storage, appliance drawers and charging areas, and floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, as well as cabinets with drawer dividers and partitions. ▪