2018 Kitchen Trend Watch: Show and Tell or Hide and Seek?

A kitchen with white cabinets, white kitchen island and hanging glass pendant lights and wall sconces hanging above each side of a stainless-steel stove is just one example of layered lighting.

The rise of wall sconces is evident in this kitchen, where 360-degree-layered lighting is both dramatic and practical. Photo by Aaron Huber.

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and Laura Sullivan of ID.ology Interiors & Design and Deboni Sacre of Liv Design Collective presented a detailed slideshow at the International Builders Show in Orlando charting out recent and upcoming trends in kitchen design.

Several of the trends they brought to light are centered on the conceal-or-reveal concept. As often as we want kitchen elements to be noticeable focal points — and as much as we want to easily find things in our kitchens — we also love how technology empowers us to hide elements we would rather not see.

Hiding Out

Hidden Hardware

Hidden hardware may be used to disguise one thing as another (like shelving disguised as a column), but it also creates a sleek aesthetic in a contemporary or modern kitchen. Open shelves may appear to be floating if hidden hardware is used to secure them. Hidden hardware is generally not used in traditional kitchens because hardware is such an essential element of that style.

Hood No More

Deboni Sacre of Liv Design Collective declared this her favorite kitchen design trend of 2018: “No longer are we seeing the hood. More and more the hoods are being hidden. It is very sleek and it feels very calming to me, so I’m loving this trend.”

While hoods are still there, serving their important function, they are being hidden with clever designs. We’re also seeing innovations in ventilation technology. Elica’s Nikolatesla Cooktop sucks away cooking smoke without any need for an overhead hood.

The Art of Exposition

Layered Lighting

To accomplish full illumination, we will continue to see layered lighting in 2018. While dim mood lighting has its appeal, it just doesn’t belong in the kitchen. Good lighting can be the difference between slicing a tomato and slicing a finger. Poor kitchen lighting that creates dark shadows instead of proper illumination can be dangerous.

Layered lighting is a mixture of recessed, under-cabinet, accent, overhead and wall lighting. Classic Revival is back and it makes its appearance in the kitchen with wall sconces. Overhead lighting is essential, but we’re seeing more wall lighting than we have in a while. Toe-kick lighting feels luxurious without a big expense.

Open Shelves

It took some time, but the minimal look of open shelves is finally being more widely embraced. Removing those upper cabinets creates more space in the kitchen and plates and pantry items that are kept on the shelves are easier to access.

As Sacre stated, “People are not afraid to share their stuff with the world and their guests, making the kitchen a lot more open. People are really wanting to have a simpler life, getting rid of all the stuff in the cupboards and just displaying some of their beautiful and actually useful things.”
Sarah Ristorcelli is a freelance writer and editor for leading print and online publications. Formerly editor in chief of Garden Design, she has also written and edited for Cottage Living, Modern magazine and Orlando Arts. You can find her on Google+.

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