Clean Slate: Kitchen Trends to Watch in 2015

Flexibility, functionality and personality drive kitchen updates. When it comes to renovations, it’s out with the ‘80s.

Forty-one percent of homeowners are remodeling kitchens that are more than 15 years old, and another 25 percent are updating kitchens more than 30 years old, according to the 2014 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Remodeling Survey of more than 3,500 Houzz users who are in the midst of, planning or have recently completed a kitchen remodel.

“We already know that kitchens are the biggest driver of discretionary spending in the remodeling market,” said Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz. “As the economy has improved, many homeowners who delayed spending on kitchen updates feel like they now have the means to remodel. We should continue to see an uptick in discretionary spending on home improvements into 2015.”

Kitchen renovations are a major investment, commanding the largest spending levels among remodeling projects. Homeowners make choices they can live with for years to come, selecting products and designs with staying power.

The Houzz study found they’re sticking to the classics with finishes. We’re talking white cabinets in shaker or raised-panel styles, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.

Broken down by demographics, farmhouse and traditional kitchens claimed top spots as the most popular styles in rural areas. Urban and suburban dwellers trended toward transitional and contemporary designs.

Breezy Struthers Drake at Modern Kitchen Design, 514 Iowa St., and Naomi Anderson at Central Kitchen and Bath, 844 Gordon Drive, shared their insights on what was popular this past year and predictions for 2015.


Midwesterners may love the modern look but can’t quite commit. The solution: something transitional. Clients don’t have to break up with their traditional style.

“In our showroom, we have a shaker door from Mid Continent Cabinetry, out of Eagan, Minn., on display, in a dark briarwood stain on cherry wood. We’ve incorporated a hammered copper farm sink with some sleek black appliances and black pulls,” she said. “Right now, that is one of our top sellers. With that said, many are starting to transition to some gray tones.”


“We are using metals in so many ways whether it is as a copper range hood, aluminum backsplash or gold accents on lighting. It adds a completely different dimensional depth to the space,” Struthers Drake said.


“The shaker style is very popular today,” Anderson said. “That straight-lined look is still many clients’ go-to favorite. Clean lines are in high demand, whether it is a kitchen or bathroom. Many are considering the ease of cleaning as a necessity, not just the look.”


As living rooms and kitchens have all but merged into one, some design elements from each space are starting to mingle.

“Furniture-style designs have been quite the trend for islands as well as other pieces,” Struthers Drake said. “The key is to hide the plumbing and electrical outlets so that it still remains very functional.”


“Many are watching HGTV or going on Pinterest or Houzz and seeing a more open concept, and they’re requesting accents of open shelving,” Anderson said. “We are also seeing statements with bold colors or accents with the open shelving, especially if they want to set off their favorite bowls, glasses, etc.”

Done right, open shelves can make a small space look larger. The trick is picking the right kitchen wares to put on display.


While much of the ‘80s is on its way out, wallpaper continues to make a comeback – often covering one accent wall to make a bold statement, Struthers Drake said.


“Lighting is another aspect many people fail to remember or incorporate into a kitchen. Layering your lighting can bring a new look to your kitchen design. Ambient lighting in a kitchen can consist of strategically placed recessed lights, especially in more modern or transitional home décor,” Anderson said.

“Task lighting is great for illuminating a backsplash, or better yet, being able to chop vegetables. Many will do under-cabinet LED lighting for this. Decorative and accent lighting can bring the ‘bling’ to any kitchen design – like a line of gorgeous glass pendants to set off an island or an elegant chandelier hanging over your dining room table.

“Lighting can be so effective is completely changing the look of the kitchen or bathroom. There are so many options available.”


“So much can be done with a ceiling for it to accent the room’s design,” Struthers Drake said. “We have done various floating glass ‘clouds’ in a kitchen space to mimicking the island shape with a bulkhead. If nothing else, the ceiling should be painted to compliment the colors of the room so it is not just white.”


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