The interest in stark minimalism, Scandinavian style and cool tones may finally be waning when it comes to kitchen and bath design. In their place, warmer neutrals, rich and bold hues and nature-inspired colors are pushing their way to the forefront for 2019, according to industry experts.
“We’ve had a good run of white and gray interiors, but I think kitchens and baths will warm up and get natural and lively in 2019,” reports Laura Medicus, owner/principal, Laura Medicus Interiors in Denver, CO. “I think the minimalism trend has ended and it’s swinging back toward interiors with more color, varied shapes and patterns.”
While she believes that people will still love bold pops of color, tones will get warmer and be paired with wood tones and more pattern. “We will see more collected, interesting rooms with strong hues that are bold, but nuanced, with shades such as hunter green, coral, teal, pink and mustard yellow,” she offers.
The increasing interest in color is being credited, in part, to the internet and social media. “We see so many feeds and beautiful images on Instagram that people are immediately confident,” notes Sue Wadden, director of color marketing, The Sherwin-Williams Co. in Cleveland, OH. “I think that Pinterest, Houzz and all those online inspiration sources have really changed the game when it comes to color. People are really willing to take a risk, more than they’ve ever been before.”
WHITE, GRAY AND MORE
With all the talk of color, the truth is that white will always be a staple for the kitchen. Whether it’s the clean and fresh feeling it evokes, its ability to work with other colors, or because it is a safe choice for those taking on a remodel, white isn’t going away any time soon.
What is changing, however, are the tones of white that are coming into play. Clean, crisp whites that are the perfect foil for a warm, bright color, and warm whites that lean a little taupe are the newest players.
“We are seeing a lot of white still, because people are bringing a lot of color into their furnishings, and we’re seeing a lot more bright colors coming back,” notes Dee Schlotter, senior color marketing manager, PPG Olympic and PPG Paints in Pittsburgh, PA. “White kind of stabilizes that whole effect.”
Certain spaces lend themselves to a neutral backdrop, allowing different pops of color to be brought in, according to Andrea Magno, color and design expert, Benjamin Moore in Montvale, NJ. Neutral tones such as Cloud White, a warmer white, or even Metropolitan, Benjamin Moore’s 2019 Color of the Year, can help create a balance with deeper colors being brought into the kitchen such as navy, charcoal or dark green. “These deep tones are really great for painting millwork and cabinetry because they’re classic colors that are going to be relevant for a good amount of time, but they’re still a little more interesting,” she notes.
Metropolitan AF690 is a changeable gray that works well on its own or with other materials or other colors, according to Magno. This ability to react is important for any gray tone coming up, because gray fatigue is beginning to set in.
“I hope gray is going away,” notes Kathy Marshall, principal, Kathy Marshall Design in Wenham, MA. “If somebody really wants gray, I try to make sure the kitchen is accented with color, because if you don’t do that, the kitchen looks very trendy. I also try to go with a warmer gray as opposed to a really blue gray – something that has a little bit more taupe in it, or more red, to make it feel warmer.”
“Gray is going to continue but be warmed with brown, and that is going to lead to some new browns entering the market,” adds Mark Woodman, Mark Woodman design+color llc and president of the Color Marketing Group in Alexandria, VA. “Subtle sepia-type browns will offer an always popular vintage edge, but also move grays to a new level, warming them” and leading the way to brown tones.
Wadden also notes the reemergence of brown tones. “The mid-century warm walnuts, sort of mid-toned woods, are colors that are going to be important next year,” she believes.
Dent stresses that people are definitely retreating from the white kitchen and returning to woods. “They want really pretty woods,” she observes. “Walnut tends to be a high choice here, as well as rift oak.”
“People are definitely going toward white oak in a very natural, organic look. Often I’m seeing it or liking it in the island and then maybe accented somewhere else on the project,” adds Marshall.
“With wood tones, it’s definitely weathered and light, but distressed – that whole barnwood thing – with a raw edge or live-edge look,” confirms Wadden.
BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL
One of the appeals of white, gray and light, natural woods is their ability to offer support to brighter hues. These tones set the stage for the latest crop of colorful scene stealers.
“There are rainbow brights that offer moments of color joy. They play a role of introducing a bit of happy into the designed space,” notes Woodman. “Of these colors, bright yellow is the one to watch. It has already emerged in fashion and is hailed as the color of Generation Z, so attention is going to be paid. It is energetic, fearless and always fresh, just what we need in murky times.”
“Yellow has always been gorgeous in a kitchen,” adds Marshall. “A lot of the old English country kitchens were that Georgian yellow. I think people are definitely trending back toward that.”
“We see bold color choices pushing forward into the sunset range of hues, such as deeper brick reds, terracotta oranges and golden yellows,” says Sara McLean, color expert and stylist, Dunn-Edwards in Los Angeles, CA. The Dunn-Edwards 2019 Color of the Year, Spice of Life, is in keeping with this trend, providing a mix of deep brick red blended with terracotta and yellow undertones.
Sherwin-Williams also chose a terracotta hue – Cavern Clay – as its 2019 Color of the Year. “I think this is going to be an important color, whether it’s painted on cabinets or painted on walls,” Wadden comments.
One bright that is expected to continue its popularity in the kitchen going forward is red. “Vibrant, clean reds are great for kitchens because they stimulate the appetite,” reports Schlotter. “They’re convivial colors that are very happy and just welcoming colors for the kitchen.”
“In the Pacific Northwest, the pops of color tend to be in the reds and the greens, because blue doesn’t translate well with our UV color range,” notes Gail Monica Dent, founder/principal, Provanti Designs in Bellevue, WA. “Everything tends to be warm colors, because we’re so cool and gray here.”
Bold choices aren’t reserved for the bright colors, however. Deep, rich shades are also garnering attention for everything from cabinets and countertops to trim and tile.
“Dark colors, blacks, charcoals and navy blue will be super important in 2019 and 2020, as well as deep dark greens,” reports Wadden. “We kind of fell back in love with green the last couple of seasons.” It’s associated with life and growth and is organic and natural, “so it’s a great counterbalance to the starkness of gray.
“And, it’s exploding in the kitchen and bath,” she continues. “Those rich colors are really a way to balance out where we’ve been and bring in something new. So paint navy cabinets in the kitchen, and then pair them with warm metals such as copper and gold. The look is really modern and
fresh and brand new.”
Julien Chapuis, CEO, Ressource Americas in New York, NY agrees. “Saturated, dark and warm green colors have been in high demand for several of our projects next year, as well as certain variations of burgundy red.”
“Green is going to have a large presence,” concurs Woodman. “It started already in 2018 and will expand with an entire produce department of greens. From yellow influences that are lighter, to dark greens influenced with blue or black, to toned greens with a touch of gray. They will have a natural edge, as green tends to have, but the variation in values and undertones will give these greens a new perspective.”
“Navy blue kitchens are still really popular, and I think that will start to translate into hunter green kitchens and other shades of dark green,” notes Medicus. “I think we’ll see more and more kitchen islands that are a lively, unexpected color and more two-toned kitchens, especially with natural wood and other natural materials in an effort to warm up the kitchen.”
PPG’s Color of the Year, Nightwatch, is a dark green with a little undertone of blue for a touch of luxury. “We’ve seen people wanting that kind of quiet and connection to nature, so that really dark green is very restorative – the color is the feeling you get when you’re in deep nature,” Schlotter reports.
To go with the warming trend in colors, finishes are going distinctively matte. From paint to cabinets to appliances to faucets, there is less shine for a softer appeal.
In addition to natural wood cabinets, wood countertops continue their upward trend. “People want to warm up their spaces, and wood and natural stone are intuitive ways to accomplish that,” states Medicus.
“I’m seeing a lot more wood countertops,” agrees Dent. “And stone is becoming more popular as folks are beginning to tire of quartz patterns. There is a feeling that quartz patterns will not be as timeless as an interesting stone pattern.
“With regard to faucets and hardware, I’m having success with black matte, and I’m having success with certain gold mattes – not the brass that we all grew up with in the 1960s, but the newer gold mattes,” she adds. “It adds a pop of color and richness to a kitchen and dresses it up.”
“For metals, gold and copper continue to push forward,” notes McLean. “The trend toward warm colors includes these metals.”
“For large appliances, two of the exciting new introductions are matte black and matte white. They offer a simple color in an exciting new look,” states Woodman. “Beyond that, if budget allows, a single piece in color is moving forward. It could be a red range, or pale blue refrigerator. They tend to be the go-tos for adding a large bit of appliance color.”
There are so many product options and so many colors available, and today’s homeowners are definitely trying them on for size. ▪