Trends for kitchens and baths in 2023 are expanding.
Story by Tracy Dickinson
Featured in Winter 2023
The two most popular remodel projects by far are kitchens and baths, and there’s good reason for that. Not only do those two spaces offer the best return on your remodeling dollar, but they’re the two rooms whose function is as important as their form.
A bedroom or family room can feel updated simply by replacing the furniture and repainting the walls. Outdated fixtures, aging appliances, and worn finishes in a kitchen or bath require more of an investment, but those improvements offer so much in return.
Whether you’re looking at a remodel this year or planning a new home, consider incorporating some of these popular trends in kitchen and bath designs.
Bigger is better
Not only are homeowners drawn to open kitchen layouts, which often extend the space into the family room, but features within the kitchen are getting bigger.
Woodharbor’s Jammie Pekarek says, “Everyone is wanting that bigger chef kitchen, and the open layout allows for this to happen. Adding islands or peninsulas for additional counter space without hindering traffic flow makes this possible without closing off the space.”
Larger, single-bowl sinks are the most common request in new and remodeled kitchens, far outpacing double-bowl and farmhouse-style sinks. Stainless steel or composite materials are the popular choices. Fewer kitchens are incorporating the sink in the island or work station.
Pantries are almost a given in any new home and one of the highest-demand features in remodels. “When space allows,” says Deb Pudenz of AIM Kitchen & Bath, “full walk-in pantries or butler pantries have become a must-have. They offer a space to not only store all the dry good items, but potentially house a second fridge or a beverage fridge or small countertop appliances that aren’t used every day.”
Although walk-in pantries are coveted, large built-in and butler’s pantries may be most common, offering generous storage without requiring the same square footage.
With the open layout in today’s plans, the island has become a dominant feature, and oversized islands top the “must have” list.
Those oversized islands represent another growing trend—features that serve multiple functions. By providing a work surface, dining space, storage drawers, and even a location for undercounter appliances such as warming drawers and microwaves, today’s island is much more than a dumping ground for the day’s mail.
“As kitchen designs change, islands will continue to be part of the space,” says BMD/Moehl Millwork’s Jeanine Weinzierl. “They offer a place for more drawers, which are more ergonomically friendly, and they keep the cabinet contents near the higher-usage work area, adding multifunctionality to the island.”
Walk-in pantries and mudrooms often serve multiple purposes as well. Incorporating counter space in the pantry creates a breakfast prep area and keeps the kitchen free from the morning’s clutter.
Mudrooms typically do double duty, too, as a laundry area, charging station, or both. Finding ways to use a space for more than one purpose is not only a wise budget stretcher, it makes daily life more efficient.
Smarter is better
Technology in the kitchen goes far beyond charging stations and island electrical outlets. In addition to appliances with Smart Controls, homeowners are opting for LED integrated lighting, touchless faucets, and appliances that offer high-end features like steam cooking and humidity controls.
Homeowners are also looking for new twists on traditional designs, to go with all that new technology.
Kitchen and Bath Company’s Maria Bramer says, “We have a new cabinet door style that is trending. A thin shaker that’s a nice modern update between shaker and slab doors.”
A bit of color
Painted cabinetry has been the trend for a while. That continues to be the case, although designers are often mixing painted cabinetry with wood finishes for a unique look.
Pekarek says, “We’re seeing mixed woods with paint and mixed metals, such as black cabinets with wood-tone floating shelves or wood-tone base cabinets with painted uppers. We’re still seeing greens and blues, but even some blacks now.”
Black is popular for countertops as well, according to Bramer.
“Black quartz countertops are a popular request,” she says. “And with white kitchens, cafe white appliances are becoming more common rather than the standard stainless, which stands out more.”
BLC Projects’ Rob Walker says, “White cabinets are still king, but we do see stained- wood cabinets more often.”
“Neutrals seem to dominate, but on the warmer side of the color palette,” says Pudenz. “For finishes, matte black and brass are still extremely popular, although we still see plenty of polished chrome and brushed nickel.”
Another place homeowners are opting for a bit of color is with the backsplash. “The full- height backsplashes are very popular,” Walker says, “especially with the countertops and backsplash being the same material. Quartz is growing in popularity for counters as homeowners are becoming more knowledgeable about the different products available.”
As Pudenz says, “Kitchen trends haven’t changed drastically from the last year or two, but one thing has remained key. Homeowners want user-friendly spaces that fit their lives.” •
- Deb Pudenz AIM Kitchen & Bath
- Rob Walker BLC Projects
- Jeanine Weinzierl BMD/Moehl Millwork
- Maria Bramer Kitchen and Bath Company
- Jammie Pekarek Woodharbor