Designers Spill the Beans: 4 Trends They’re Glad to See Gone

December 6, 2013

Like the tight-rolled pants and neon shirts of the 80s, there are some kitchen trends we’re happy to see go. We spoke to a few designers and found four kitchen trends they were most happy to see in the past – and got tips on how to avoid putting a time stamp on a kitchen design.

Erik_190 Bold colors as focal points. Color is one of the biggest ways to mark a kitchen by a fad versus timeless, says Erik Kolacz, creative director, Contrast Design Group, Chicago. Think of the avocado-colored appliances from the 70s. That’s not going to happen again. The key is to use trendy colors as accents. “If a client came to us and wanted a turquoise countertop, I would suggest accessorizing with turquoise,” Erik adds. “We can switch out the accessories when turquoise isn’t the hot thing anymore.”

Rose.Dostal.9735small.low res Harsh lighting.
Technology is one that can drastically affect the design of the kitchen – especially since it improves and advances so quickly. Rose Dostal, registered architect and designer for RMD Designs in Hudson, Ohio says that technology has made progress in the kitchen pointing out the once-popular puck lights. These would cast light beams down cabinets. Now, it’s great to use LED strips because they don’t create shadows, Rose says.

Two-toned cabinetry. Gone are the days of the mixing and matching wood colors within the cabinetry, Rose says.  While she still mixes and matches wood in the island, the trend of different trim and crown molding colors are in the past. For example, light stained cabinetry mixed with black crown molding. “It becomes a busy aesthetic that in turn creates an even smaller looking space,” she adds. “This is especially true in a small kitchen.”

Mark_Johnson_Chicago - Version 4One-fits-all design. Bigger is not necessarily better especially when planning the island, says Mark Johnson, FAIA, CKD, principal, in Ann Arbor, Mich. “If the kitchen island serves as heart-of-the-home, it deserves space but maybe an adjacent area is better for a more portable, flexible solution that can evolve to suit changing family needs,” he adds. The kitchen layout is more about the lifestyle and how the homeowners use the space. Say hello to the second family room, says Erik. “Kids are doing homework, mom is making dinner, there’s entertaining in that same space,” he says. “The great room spilled into the kitchen making it the heart of the home.”

What are some kitchen trends you’re happy to see go?

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  • Joyce Jardine Combs, CKD
    February 13, 2014 12:25 pm

    The trend some designers use of high/low wall cabinet heights around the room, typically used in traditional kitchen decor, is so very trite and overused. This trend can seem very contrived and makes for a very busy kitchen aesthetic and, I think, very unsuccessful.

  • Luane Faucher
    January 5, 2014 5:26 pm

    Please, please, not put a roll up tambor appliance garage anywhere in the kitchen, and especially not under a raised upper corner cabinet. This has been dead for years but there is always some kitchen designer with no imagination suggesting it to unsuspecting client as a great idea. The next thing on the list are those tacky little radius shelves made for the upper cabinets near a window or at the end of the run. I just wish cabinet manufacturers would get with the times and get these bumpkin pieces out of their spec books. I feel better now.

  • Phil Kabza
    December 15, 2013 8:20 am

    Dancing wall cabinets of various heights and depths, selected for their initial visual impact, with 50% of the interior inaccessible without a ladder. Just about as useful as toekick lighting. Door base cabinets. Because they are cheap to make - not because they are useful. Massive restaurantish-looking ranges that don't cook well - for owners who eat out. Refrigerators with television monitors. Really. I guess "because they can."

  • Lauren Jacobsen
    December 14, 2013 7:19 pm

    Under lit glass countertops. One big night lite in your kitchen. Even the short amount of times I saw them was too many. Bye, Bye thank you.

  • Peter Lansitie
    December 12, 2013 8:38 am

    Very interesting. Adding to Rose Dostal's insight, I would also like to mention that one up and coming trend I foresee is the illumination of the toe kick. This area of the kitchen is often ignored and tends to be bland with a "dark zone" due to its location. It does not have to be! LED rope lighting (warm white more popular) run along the inside of the toe kicks length can really bring to life the bottom portion of the kitchen and "highlight" the cabinetry. Think of how a person sees a kitchen for the first time. They scan it up and down then focus in more on the upper regions looking at the crown molding, cabinet lights, doors, handles etc. and then stop for the most part at the counter top with maybe a quick glance below. Why is that? Next time you see a video of a model walking down a fashion show runway, observe how the camera pans from the head, down to the shoes. It does not stop at the knees. I say light up the kitchens "shoes". I first discussed this with local designers here in Toronto four years ago and have since then seen it become more and more popular, making its way in to design shows and showrooms. It is also a brilliant night light when it is the only lighting system on, giving the home owner orientation during those late night snack runs ;) Oh yeah, and when your client has company over, it's the first thing their eyes are naturally pulled towards, the illuminated "shoes", then they look up to see the outfit in its brilliant entirety. Note: Be cautious with highly reflective flooring though, the individual light bulks may be reflected so caution and consultation must be exercised. See page 7 & 9 of the below link to a PDF.

  • Davide tosi
    December 9, 2013 3:10 pm

    Real good job. Davide tosi Italy Expert in MARBLE granite. Onix.