2018 Kitchen Trend Watch: Everything Begins and Ends in the Kitchen

This kitchen by NeONBRAND features an eye-popping blue-green island.

This multi-functional kitchen features an eye-popping blue-green island. Photo Courtesy of NeONBRAND.

NewHomeSource was in Orlando for the 2018 International Builders’ Show, where ideas for homebuyers are waiting around every corner. It’s an enormous event with 83,000 attendees and thousands of exhibitors, so we got a little help from our designer friends to drill down to the gold.

Laura Sullivan of ID.ology Interiors & Design and Deboni Sacre of Liv Design Collective presented a detailed slideshow charting out recent and upcoming trends in kitchen design. Some of the trends are continuing from last year, some are just starting to take off — and they are all fabulous.

Sullivan and Sacre both find that the main priority among homebuyers and owners is functionality, because the kitchen is no longer just for prepping and cooking. Kitchens are also used for storage, serving, entertaining, eating, doing homework and hanging out. Kitchen design has evolved to meet all those needs and more.

Kitchen Islands

While kitchen islands are nothing new, we are seeing more and more double and triple islands in kitchens. Kitchen islands are what make the space truly multi-functional. In the case of double or triple islands, the additional islands are used as more of a furniture piece for serving or dining.

We’re seeing lots of different shapes and arrangements, all of them allowing the family to cozy up to the kitchen experience. Islands also create storage space.

Sullivan explained, “If you have as big of an island as possible, there is room for storage on both sides in a kitchen that doesn’t have a big pantry and has to utilize all available space. Having a dining area extending off of the island is great for flexibility and ease of use.”

Kitchen islands are also a great opportunity to show your style. If the perimeter of the room is sleek and understated, unique and eye-catching islands will pop. It’s an easy way to add texture and character (as well as functionality) to a room. And it doesn’t have to be expensive! Since islands are stand-alone pieces, they are easy to change down the line.

The Pantry

As with kitchen islands, pantries are not new, but they are increasingly separate rooms and not just walk-in closets. Walk-in pantries store food, and are also used for storage of dishes, platters, linens, and small appliances for those who love to entertain. Pantries are great for containing a mess that guests won’t see. Modern butler pantries don’t come with a butler, but luxurious ones may include a dishwasher, a small refrigerator for wine and other beverages, and even a sink. They are usually located adjacent to the kitchen or dining room. It is a room all its own, and has many functions to make it another hub.

The Blantry, named after its designer Blair Fredrickson of Landforms Design in Bountiful, Utah, is an open pantry that blends seamlessly into a kitchen so that you can use all your small appliances without having to put them away.

Hidden pantries are also a big trend in 2018 -- and beyond, we suspect. We have reached a point in time when we can have a kitchen function the way we want it to without sacrificing design. A door to a walk-in pantry can be disguised as a cabinet door. A floor-to-ceiling column may be hiding pull-out shelving and hidden hardware, and a facade of drawers may hide a mini fridge. Anything can be disguised as anything.

Easier Living

While buying a new home and picking out all the elements that will go into it can be all-consuming, the final goal is a home that is beautiful, comfortable, functional, and peaceful. The 2018 kitchen design trends overwhelming point to a desire for easy living. Homebuyers want kitchens that are clean and uncluttered on the surface, while still being multi-functional spaces and storage powerhouses.

As the amount of time spent commuting or driving kids to their various activities increases, home owners want homes that are safe havens from the chaos of life. Kitchens should be easy to use and our appliances and accessories easy to access. Kitchens should be arranged in such a way and streamlined to save us time, and still be beautiful.

Learn how designers are alternately hiding and exposing kitchen features in our story 2018 Kitchen Trend Watch: Show and Tell or Hide and Seek?
Sarah Kinbar 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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