We polled our designers and contractors for the kitchen renovation trends that are here to stay (and which ones are on the way out). Here's what you'll want to know if you're remodeling.
Whether your goal is a full makeover or simply sprucing up your space, when it’s time for a kitchen renovation, you want to know what’s in, what’s out, and what’s here to stay. Which is why we’re constantly polling our designers and contractors for the details on what elements are worth the investment.
Of course, a kitchen renovation can be overwhelming, so before you dive in, it’s important to know what exactly what you’re in for when it comes to spending, investing, and reselling. On average, a major remodel for a roughly 200-square-foot kitchen will run about $42,000, with a smaller space budgeting at about $25,800. However, these numbers vary depending on factors like size, scope, budget, and location. In fact, some remodels can cost upwards of $100,000.
Design by, photo by Daniel Wang
Most importantly: what are your goals? Kitchen renovations typically have a 65 to 80% return on investment when you resell—but that too can vary depending on materials, features, and budgets. If this is your dream kitchen, go ahead and try out those custom wood emerald green-painted cabinets, but if you’re focused on resale, remember that what you adore (and what you adore right now) could isolate a potential buyer. That doesn’t mean you can’t create an of-the-moment kitchen, you’ve just got to know which features are best for long-term.
For most homeowners, countertops and brand-name appliances are the biggest splurges. As Chris Rapczynski, the president of custom design and build company Sleeping Dog Properties, explains, “Brand name appliances mean something to people—having Sub-Zero or Wolf appliances is similar to having a nice car in your garage. It ultimately depends on the style of the kitchen a person is interested in and what they want to prioritize.”
So, what trends and materials are of the moment? We asked the pros what to look out for.
Design by Mariellas Urrutia, photo by Sean Litchfield
According to a recent study by Houzz, granite has been on a three-year decline among homeowners.
“The small-scale texture of granite feels more dated than the larger scale texture offered by quartz and marble,” explains Chris. “People are willing to invest in their kitchens, so they will often choose higher-end materials like marble. Quartz is more durable than marble but looks very similar, so homeowners are able to get that high-end look without having to deal with the expensive upkeep of a material like marble.”
Danny Maman, the owner of Titanium Construction, agrees, “Granite countertops stain easily and are not as durable to the everyday wear and tear of a family using their kitchen. So people prefer the less expensive option (quartz) that is also much more durable.”
But plenty of developers are still reaching for the classic, despite its price (depending on where you live and how much is needed, anywhere from $40 to $100 per square foot).
“Calcutta marble continues to be a go-to for high-end developers and clients alike,” says Dana Sandberg, director of business development for construction management and contracting firm Best & Company. “Its gray veining is quite universally liked and is never too aesthetically controversial for resale purposes.”
Design by Marc Houston, photo by Claire Esparros
The all-white kitchen, adorn by modernists and minimalists alike, might be taking a backseat. Dana is noticing some people straying to the other end of the spectrum.
“White kitchens are always de rigeur, especially in modernist homes, but we are seeing many clients opt for black now too,” says Dana. “We recently even did a kitchen that was navy, which looked great.”
And it’s no wonder people might be shying away from that all-white look, besides the stain factor, it can also be tricky to achieve.
“There are a few downsides to an all-white kitchen,” explains Chris. “Making all of the whites match each other—from cabinets, tile, paint, and more—is incredibly difficult. The whites need to be complementary and blend well together. Even if all the whites do match perfectly, sometimes this palette can result in a less interesting, flat looking kitchen.”
Design by, photo by Sean Litchfield
Hues You Can Use
So what colors are on the rise specifically?
“White kitchens will always be popular, but we anticipate we’ll see less of the all-white kitchen this year,” Chris opines. “We are seeing two-toned kitchens and colors like navy, gray, and hunter green.”
Danny also says he only expects the range of colors to expand, “I personally think that the trend of white/dark kitchens will make an adjustment and we will start seeing more colorful kitchens like we see in Europe.”
While these bold colors can seem daunting, especially if you have resale in mind, there are plenty of ways to inject color into your space without investing in red tiles or emerald green cabinetry.
“There are ways to make a colorful statement without breaking the bank: using accent colors on staple kitchen accessories like teapots, KitchenAid mixers, toasters, and linens can really bring the space to life and add personality,” adds Chris.
“A fun backsplash always adds pizzazz to any kitchen,” recommends Dana.”Something in the blue family can add punch without being too loud, and patterned mosaics are always an artful option too.”
All Matte Everything
From finishes to hardware to kitchen appliances, you might notice things are sleeker than ever. Enter matte black
“It’s all about matte black: kitchen islands, hardware, faucets, and refrigerators,” explains Homepolish designer Armann Ortega. “Paired with glossed countertop or glazed backsplashes, the matte finish adds a contemporary twist.”
Design by, photo by Sean Litchfield
Embrace the Dark Side
Speaking of dark, while quartz and marble continue to reign supreme among countertop types, expect to see some experimentation.
“Marble and brass hardware are not completely out—and for a good reason,” explains Armann. “The crisp and modern combination continues to elevate drab kitchens, but now designers are playing with higher contrast combinations. Instead of Carrera marble, designers are opting for Nero Marquina.”
“I’m excited for and inspired by the resurgence of darker marble slabs with thick veining and lots of personality,” says Homepolish designer .
And this trend of moodier and darker kitchens goes beyond countertops.
“I anticipate seeing overall ‘darker’ kitchens thrive in 2018,” Armann predicts. “Darker countertops, matte black, brass hardware, and deep forest green and navy kitchen cabinets are paving the way.”
Design by, photo by Sean Litchfield
Beyond the Farm
While large, farmhouse sinks have been on the rise, our sources are noticing people opt for a more simple approach.
“Currently I am seeing a lot of farm sinks, but I think that the trend will slowly fade away this year and we will go back to undermount sinks,” shares Danny
Dana of Best & Co thinks the farmhouse sink fade also goes back to convenience.
“No more farmhouse sinks,” Dana begs. “They look great initially but you’ll get splashed all the time and they don’t wear well at all—grit and grime shows up too much against white!”
However, considering the rise in vibrant shades, your classic steel undermount sink just won’t do.
“I also think that we will start seeing the trend of stainless steel sinks fade away. Colors will be big this year, even for sinks,” Danny explains.
Design by, photo by Joyelle West
A Better Backsplash
In search of some creative inspiration? Lean into a global, old-world style.
“This past year has seen a high number of kitchens using the countertop as the backsplash on the walls,” says Danny. “I think we will see less of that this year and more Spanish-style tiles in the kitchen and throughout the home. These trends are making a strong come back, and I expect to see a lot more of them this year.”
Kitchen design has always been about balancing fashion with functionalism. (What good is a new kitchen if you can’t actually cook in it?) According to a recent study from Houzz, three-quarters of remodelers obsess over decluttering.
One trendy way to reduce counter clutter and achieve organizational bliss: “Open cabinetry for spice racks, storage bins that are behind glass cabinets for easy access,” says Danny.
One other idea for a functional space isn’t so new but back in vogue: “The pantry cabinet: A full height pantry cabinet can be incredibly useful, even if it means you need to give up a bit of counter space,” shares Chris of Sleeping Dog.
Design by Claire Staszak, photo by Dustin Halleck
Mix and Match
Beyond bold color choices, designers are also being a bit more playful in they are put it all together.
“I think that with the trend of seeing more colors in the kitchen, we will also see sharper contrasts than before,” according to Danny. “For example, making the island cabinets a different color than the kitchen cabinets (which is very common now). Or perhaps extreme contrasts between the cabinets and the appliance colors in order to help incorporate a different look for the kitchen.”
As Chris explains it: “We see people experimenting with mixing different types of countertops. For example, perhaps the kitchen island serves as a showpiece and is a high-end material like marble because it is a place of entertainment, but the rest of the kitchen countertops are quartz. The quartz still has a high-end look, but is more durable and better suited for food prep.”
“The kitchen island can now act and look like independent pieces of furniture that does not have to perfectly match the surrounding kitchen,” Armann adds. “Modern farmhouse islands have transformed into free-standing vintage butcher tables and the marble waterfall island is now the Vipp matte black island.”
A Natural Touch
En vogue in the ‘90s, wooden cabinetry will likely have its resurgence (much like everything else from that era). Thankfully, it’s not in the way most of us remember.
“Wood cabinets are making a comeback, but in a much less traditional sense. People are interested in a form that is less detailed and more unfinished looking,” explains Chris. “We are seeing this deconstructed premise of wood in many applications beyond cabinets as well, such as reclaimed wood ceilings or open shelving with wood.”
As one of the three major investments of a kitchen remodel, cabinetry can have a great resale payoff in the long-run. Typically, custom-wood cabinets can run from $5,000 to $25,000, but don’t balk at that price.
“You can never go wrong with beautiful wooden cabinetry—it endures and the fronts can easily be swapped out or re-painted or stained as needed in the future,” explains Best & Co’s Dana.
Design by Homepolish Co-Founder & CEO Noa Santos, photo by Julia Robbs
Finish With Some Drama
One of the most exciting places to experiment: lighting. And our designers encourage you to keep going wild.
“Asymmetrical kitchen lighting has started gaining traction in 2017 and will continue to evolve over the next couple years,” shares Armann. “Instead of falling into the classic double or triple pendants above the kitchen island, designers are creating moments of drama by justifying pendants over to unexpected areas. By redirecting the eye with an asymmetrical pendant, the homeowner has the opportunity to create mini vignettes or highlight their favorite kitchen object.”
Ready to put all of these design ideas into your kitchen? Sign up with Homepolish today.
Cover image: Design by Jesse Turek, photo by Sean Litchfield