The Top Kitchen Trends in 2019
We explore the hottest styles and products on display at the latest Kitchen and Bath Industry Show.
By Rebecca L. Rhoades
“Home design is moving faster and faster, much like fashion,” says Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award-winning interior designer Amy Klosterman.
Helping professionals and homeowners stay on top of the trends is the annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. The second-largest trade show in North America, it is one of the best places to discover the latest developments in kitchen appliances, storage and gadgets, and to see the hottest trends in surface materials, colors and smart-home technologies. This past February, more than 100,000 attendees converged on Las Vegas to experience the diverse collection of products and latest kitchenware from the most influential players in the industry.
While it would be impossible to cover everything we saw and loved, on the following pages we take a look at the three biggest trends that dominated the show: technology, integration and innovation, and color. One thing’s for sure: This ain’t your grandma’s kitchen anymore.
Cupcakes & Cabinetry
No one knows kitchens quite like a baker—or a cleaner. Gigi Butler has been both. As the founder of the nationwide chain, Gigi’s Cupcakes, she’s designed and cooked in professional kitchens across the country. But prior to hitting it big with her sweet treats, Butler owned a cleaning business in Nashville for more than 15 years.
“The kitchen is an extension of what I’ve done as a culinary creator,” she says. “I’ve also cleaned probably every surface known to man, so working with Serenade is a good fit because they’re trying to do something different with their new line.”
The cabinet company’s latest offering, The Lucullan Collection, features six door styles in two finishes: high-gloss acrylic and super matte. Available in an array of on-trend hues, including Navy blue, Garnet red and Mink black, the doors are designed to fit any decor, from ultramodern to traditional farmhouse.
“You can choose any finish and any design,” says Butler. “And the cabinets are frameless, so they offer 11 percent more storage. Not only are they stylish, they clean very easily. You can use any cleaning product on them and it’s not going to cause any harm. Cabinets usually aren’t very sexy, but Serenade worked really hard to make these cool.”
With so many new and innovative products on display at KBIS, it was hard for any one company to stand out among the masses. But that’s just what surfaces manufacturer Cosentino did, thanks to architect and designer Daniel Germani. The Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award winner has reimagined a kitchen staple—the island—and transformed it into an eye-catching feature meant for cooking, entertaining, service and dining.
Spotlighting Cosentino’s newest release, Dekton Slim, a revolutionary 4-mm-thick ultracompact surface, on doors, drawer fronts and working countertops, as well as the Alea Plus kitchen system from Italian brand Poliform, the concept “reorganizes the kitchen’s function in a beautiful way,” says Germani.
Two expansive islands are connected by a singular slab of Dekton. One endcap features a cooktop integrated directly onto the counter surface; the other is anchored with a service sink. “The cooking area becomes a convivial space where you can work on three sides of the island, while the bridge hosts the eating area,” notes Germani. The entire island spans 30 feet in length.
“There is usually a lot of dead space on an island, but here we have very operational areas,” the designer adds. “I envisioned two independent geometric volumes that create an equally stunning visual impact while maximizing use.”
The one-off formation is available on special request.
The Smart Home Revolution
The kitchen has always been considered the heart of the house. But now, it is becoming the brain—overtaking the living room and home office as the most high-tech space. While smart fridges, ranges and ovens have been on the market for years, they’re catching up to whole-house connectivity. Companies such as LG, Bosch and Samsung are offering appliance suites that not only connect to your phone or tablet but also with each other and with your home automation system.
The GE Kitchen Hub was a star of KBIS, not only for what it can do but for its eye-catching appearance. The “hub” is a 27-inch smart-touch screen and ventilation combo that easily fits above
a standard-size range. Built on GE Appliances’ U+ Connect platform, it features Google Assistant, entertainment options such as Netflix and Spotify, and access to thousands of recipes. To streamline household management and keep homeowners connected with friends and loved ones, the hub also offers social networking and access to calendars and schedules.
“This goes far beyond the kitchen,” says Shawn Stover, vice president of SmartHome Solutions for GE. “Families will be able to manage their home from one place, including preheating the oven, brewing coffee, starting the washer, playing music, dimming lights and using their favorite apps—all through the hub.”
Rival Samsung introduced artificial intelligence into its Family Hub refrigerator. A large touch screen lets homeowners control schedules, write notes and connect with their favorite websites. The system also customizes recipes based on items in the fridge. The addition of Bixby voice command, with voice ID technology to distinguish between household members, allows for a more natural, hands-free interaction.
Not to be outdone, LG added the popular Tovala cooking solution and gourmet meal service to its ovens and ranges; simply scan your food’s barcode with your mobile device, and the app will automate your appliances to cook the meal to perfection. Café offers assisted cooking through the Hestan Cue, an app-guided cooking system with temperature-sensing smart cookware; and KitchenAid combined with Yummly, which learns users’ preferences and creates personalized meal planning. Meanwhile, Thermador and Bosch let consumers remotely manage their appliances through Home Connect, a free app that not only provides recipes but notifies owners if the refrigerator door is left open or if there is a leak in the dishwasher.
“Smart-home options are especially great for vacation-home owners, since it’s not just about turning on your oven at a certain time,” says Klosterman. “You can also know when something goes wrong with an appliance. It will alert you to a problem and even connect with the manufacturer for assistance in repairing it or ordering a new part.”
State of the Art
One all-encompassing trend, especially in the high-end kitchen market, was contemporary minimalism, and luxury European brands delivered with appliances that offered flush, seamless integration, allowing them to blend smoothly into walls and cabinetry and visually disappear.
Leading the way was German manufacturer Gaggenau. The company introduced its sleek new Vario cooling 400 series, which features refrigerators, freezers and wine cabinets with handleless glass-and-stainless steel doors that open with a simple push, combining modularity with smooth lines. Monogram offered its Minimal Collection with touch-to-open features and a large LCD touch-display panel. Thermador put forward integrated wall ovens with side-opening doors, ideal for those with limited mobility or flexibility and a nod to the increasing age-in-place market.
Vying for exhibit-goers’ attention were concealed appliances that disappeared behind cabinet doors. Monogram showcased a home bar that, on the outside, looked like a sophisticated library or office. Contained within the rich cabinetry were two integrated freezer columns, a dishwasher and a double-drawer refrigerator.
“Fisher & Paykel has had a dishwasher drawer for a while,” notes Klosterman. “But now we’re seeing fridge drawers, microwave drawers, even wine drawers. These are ideal for people with kids, because little ones can easily reach drinks and snacks, or those who just want to organize things differently.” Perlick’s leather-wrapped refrigerator drawers offer an elegant solution for maximizing space. “Undercounter appliances are also good for wet bars and outdoor kitchens,” adds the designer.
Cabinet interior organization has also stepped up its game. Storage leaders Rev-A-Shelf and Hafele captured the crowds’ attention with an array of in-drawer and in-cabinet solutions, including shelves that gently pull down, stay in place while being loaded or in use, and smoothly return with the touch of a finger, making even the highest cabinets easily accessible. Kesseböhmer brought its pullout Lavido pantry to the stage. Using a single center tube for support, the unit features adjustable floating shelves that hold up to 44 pounds each. The company’s new Le Mans system makes use of hidden corners.
“Organization has been coming along a bit over the past few years, but it seems as though it’s really emerging now,” says Scottsdale-based kitchen designer Les Sturtevant. “There are a lot of new options for specialized drawer and cabinet inserts.”
Integrated specialty lifestyle appliances, such as pizza ovens, sous vide functions, steam ovens and coffee machines make people enthusiastic about cooking and entertaining. GE and Frigidaire both presented ranges with air-fry technology, incorporating one of 2018’s most popular countertop appliances.
“One of the neat offerings from Monogram was its Forge Sphere Ice Press, which makes those large ice balls for bourbon drinks,” says Klosterman. “I also loved the Glass Rinser from Delta.” Taking its cue from restaurants, the feature can be used to clean out a variety of vessels, including baby bottles, food jars and wine glasses. “You hold the glass upside down, and water shoots up into it, washing away residue and dust,” the designer notes. “Both it and the ice press are great new releases because in many custom homes, a bar area is often adjacent to the kitchen.”
In the Kitchen with Genevieve Gorder
You may remember her as the barefoot boho decorator from TLC’s early-2000s hit series, “Trading Spaces”—as well as its recent reboot that debuted last year—or from any of the 20-plus shows on which her work has been featured, including her self-hosted HGTV programs “Dear Genevieve” and “Genevieve’s Renovations,” along with “Best Room Wins,” which premieres May 2 on Bravo. Her globally inspired style and genuine enthusiasm for her work made her a darling of the design world and a favorite of TV viewers around the world.
When the cameras stop rolling, interior designer Genevieve Gorder doesn’t slow down. In addition to having created multiple lifestyle collections for the home, she’s designed spaces for hotels, restaurants and cruise lines, in addition to private clients. Now, as the spokeswoman for Samsung Electronics Co., she’s helping promote the latest in home appliances.
We recently met with Gorder at KBIS in Las Vegas to get her advice on kitchen design. “The kitchen is the most valuable room in the house,” she says. “As cliche as it sounds, it is indeed the heart of the home, and if it isn’t pumping, your house probably isn’t functioning either.”
Phoenix Home & Garden: What are some hot trends you’re seeing in kitchen design?
Genevieve Gorder: Technology, first and foremost. Smart-home devices are in every room of the house. Appliances that connect to your phone or computer can ensure that you’re not working for your kitchen but that your kitchen, all of a sudden, is working for you. And it goes beyond kitchens—I see it when it comes to window treatments, thermostats and even washing machines. The other trend is color—it’s the new neutral in so many ways. We’re not just sticking to the white and stainless steel palettes of the last 100 years; we’re delving into patterns, as well. You’re seeing a lot more use of Moroccan tiles and midcentury motifs. We’ve become a more global society, and that affects how we cook. Compare how you ate as a child with how you eat now—not what you liked or didn’t like but what’s available to you. All these details culturally change the home landscape dramatically and affect what our kitchens look like.
PHG: Do you like colorful kitchens?
Gorder: I’m happy to see cabinetry going to color. The emerald greens, blues and even pure brass cabinetry, whether used on an island or throughout the entire kitchen, are gorgeous. We’ve long had this idea that white equals sterile, but technology is helping us realize that it isn’t color that determines whether something is clean or not; we aren’t worrying so much about bleaching everything. Brass is also prevalent in hardware and fixtures. It’s the warmest metal of them all, with a champagne sunshine overlap. I don’t see it going away any time soon.
PHG: You’re a big fan of mixing metals, correct?
Gorder: You need to mix it up to make it look good. That doesn’t mean that you can’t buy a full set of appliances all in the same color, but you don’t have to. Mixing of knobs, pulls, lighting and hardware is a popular trend, which makes me very happy. Design is about balance; it’s not about matching all the time. You can have black wrought iron knobs with a brass sink faucet and pewter pulls—and that’s okay.
PHG: What’s the easiest way to update a kitchen?
Gorder: Paint is the most forgiving, least expensive and probably one of the most dramatic tools that we have when it comes to home design. Bring in some color, whether it’s on just the backsplash or on all of the walls in the breakfast nook. You can always repaint if your tastes change down the road.
PHG: Where’s the best place to start when remodeling a kitchen?
Gorder: Space planning is definitely the most important element of design. There are some fundamental truths you need to consider when designing a kitchen, such as the work triangle, which is the proximity of your sink to your stove to your fridge. I’m a rule breaker, but this is a rule because it actually works. As a cook, you need easy accessibility to all these things in order to function well. And even if you don’t cook, adhere to this plan, because if you decide to sell your home, you don’t want to have the wrong layout. The kitchen is the biggest investment in your home, and it’s also the one that pays you back the most.
A World of Color
White kitchens, popular in the early 1920s, saw a resurgence in recent years, thanks in large part to TV shows such as “Fixer Upper,” which brought farmhouse style back in vogue. Paired with stainless steel appliances, the look is adored by traditionalists and minimalists alike. But appliance and cabinetry makers are betting that their fresh lineups of colorful ranges, refrigerators and cabinet doors will make homeowners want to ditch their monotone fixtures for bold, jewel-tone statement pieces.
Appliance manufacturers showcased products in a range of primary colors, from ovens in canary yellow and scarlet red to wine cabinets in emerald green and refrigerators in cobalt blue and carrot orange. Saturated hues dominated the show floor.
“Color is everywhere; it’s indoors and outside,” says Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award-winning architect and designer Daniel Germani. “But it’s not just color for color’s sake; it’s color with intention. I think we are tired of exploring natural materials; we’re bored of all the neutral shades and wood tones. We need to have something else. Color is going to be a huge impetus in the way we look at our home kitchens.”
Luxury maker Smeg has long been known for its pastel-hued retro-inspired appliances. It’s new Portofino line, with sharp angles and stainless steel accents designed for more contemporary and industrial settings, comes in six cheery shades, as well as classic white and stainless. Fisher & Paykel, ZLine, Hestan and Dacor also unveiled a rainbow of appliances. BlueStar took the colorful concept a step further with its powder-coated printed ranges. Homeowners can take any digital file, from a pattern that matches the room’s wallcovering to a photograph of loved ones, and have it printed on the face of the appliance. “Dacor also introduced a concept, DacorMatch, that allows you to pick any shade from a paint catalog and, for not a lot of money, custom color your range,” says Klosterman.
For those seeking a more subtle change, deep black and metallic shades of gray, gold and brown were also seen on appliances. Black stainless steel from companies such as Bosch offered a fresh, updated look on a classic, while Meile’s graphic gray and brilliant white options epitomized the sleek, European aesthetic. GE Appliances’ Café Collection included a matte white stainless steel refrigerator, and Samsung got in on the color action with the introduction of its golden-hued Tuscan colorway.
“Introducing these warmer colors into tech experiences, such as appliances that are now small computers, is a really beautiful synergy. It gives a bit of life and earthly resonance,” says celebrity designer Genevieve Gorder.
Not to be outdone, cabinetmakers displayed a range of vibrant options. Thermador showcased its integrated appliances in cabinet solutions in shades of burgundy, blue and even pale pink. Wellborn and Serenade featured high-gloss flat-panel cabinetry in primary reds, blues and greens. Metallic finishes, including brass, were also popular.
Brass and black were the hot finishes of the show, popping up on everything from kitchen faucets and light fixtures to sinks and appliance and cabinet pulls and knobs. Mixed-metal fixtures—from brass faucets with black handles to knurled steel refrigerator door pulls with copper cuffs—permeated displays. “Many appliance manufacturers are coming out with new trim kits and face pieces that can be swapped out,” notes Klosterman. “As the metallics change every few years, you will never be out of date.”
Café’s Professional Collection features four hardware options—bronze, stainless, black and copper—that can be interchanged for a fully unique appliance. True Residential, which offers refrigeration systems in eight rich shades, put forward six hardware finishes. And Kohler’s Ombré Vivant takes mixing to a new level, with graduated metallic hues—for example, rose gold to titanium—in an ombré effect.
While color adds a breath of freshness to the kitchen, industry experts realize it’s not a style for everyone. Don’t worry: Stainless steel and white cabinets aren’t going anywhere. The key with any hue, as it is with all products shown as KBIS, is giving people a variety of options from which to choose.