There’s no denying how the pandemic fundamentally changed the world—including how we live (and work) inside our homes. An overall trend toward celebrating the history and originality of our homes is displacing ultramodern aesthetics and sharp lines as we all look to create cozier, colorful, more personalized spaces that better suit our lifestyles. We’re turning away from big-box stores and toward vintage items—first, out of necessity due to supply-chain issues, and now, for design reasons—to add charm and character to every room in the house, including the kitchen. Here, interior designers from around the South share their predictions for what’s trending in kitchen design for 2022 and beyond.
One upside to the widespread supply-chain issues and long lead times: Antiquities and formalities are back, says Grace Frederick, an interior designer in Charleston. These events are turning even her younger clients toward antique and vintage pieces, which add an interesting story and personal touch to your kitchen. Try an heirloom table in place of an island, or a cabinet filled with delicate antique ceramics to add unexpected charm in a clean space. Frederick also likes using antique lighting, such as a pair of Parisian crystal chandeliers over a kitchen island to add drama.
“People are itching to have a change of scenery within their personal spaces,” says Claire Zinnecker, an interior designer in Austin. “We are craving calm, and green brings just that.” She predicts “the green renaissance” will be in full swing by 2022 in both paint and decor. Not ready to slap emerald paint on your walls? Try incorporating soft greens, like Farrow & Ball’s French Gray (despite the name, it reads green, says Zinnecker) or Sherwin-Williams’ Evergreen Fog, that keep your design neutral while introducing a subtle a sense of nature into your home.
As we have been living more in our homes than ever, the need for multi-functional design has become extremely important, says Zinnecker. “The kitchen is the perfect [multi-use room] because people naturally gather here,” she adds. That might take the form of a bar where kids can do their homework, adults can work from home, friends can sit to chat and families can spend time together while preparing a meal.
While bold hues in the heart of the home aren’t brand new, the main difference for 2022 is that colors will continue to get warmer, moving away from the cooler gray tones that were bit the last decade or so, says Shannon Eddings, an interior designer in Austin, Texas. Eddings expects to see even more adventurous use of unpredictable dark paint colors around kitchens next year. “Clients are hiring us more and more for our use of color, and most of them are not afraid to use darker color in the kitchen,” she says. Two to try: Mauve Desert or Tate Olive, both by Benjamin Moore.
Traditional tile is out. The most modern kitchens feature a countertop slab that wraps up the back for a bold statement, says Eddings. Besides being easier to clean (since there’s no grout), this look enables continuity of your stone from countertop to the wall. The more glam and vein-centric your stone, the better. “[Slab backsplashes] let one-of-a-kind stones like marble or quartzite shine,” Eddings adds.
The days of moving into a historic home and ripping down walls to create an expansive kitchen are gone. Now, it’s about embracing those spaces as they are. “Cottage kitchens are defined as those in an older home, and they often have a smaller footprint than modern kitchens,” says Shawna Percival, owner and founder of Styleberry Creative Interiors in San Antonio, Texas. “We are starting to see more of these because we’re reconsidering how we live.” She adds that the pandemic has pushed more young people into rural areas with historic homes, and they’re feeling excited about preserving a piece of history. Plus, cottage kitchens have a sustainable side. “Bringing new life to an older cottage kitchen is the epitome of green living,” Percival says.
“2022 will be the year of tone-on-tone cabinetry and hardware pairings,” says Anastasia Casey, founder of IDCO Studio in Austin, Texas. For a recent project, she designed a kitchen with ebonized oak cabinets and matte black hardware to create a sleek, modern luck with a hint of rustic. Cabinetry in general is back in full force, too. After years of stacked floating shelves being popular for kitchen renovations, these are finally on their way out as people look for a sleeker, more refined look, adds Casey.
Kevin Francis O’Gara, an interior designer in Atlanta, says we’ll see shades of this happy hue make a splash in 2022—but in vibrant, more energized ways than your typical mellow buttercream. “Think citron and marigold for bringing saturated sunshine inside,” he says. Try painting your island cabinetry yellow to boost energy in your kitchen or incorporate it more subtly by adding a vintage yellow runner to your table.
It’s coming back strong, including the rise of floral patterns: Think fresh takes on chintz on clean, white backgrounds or classic bird-and-flower prints making their way onto upholstered pieces and wallpaper installs, says O’Gara. Bring this style into your kitchen by choosing updated florals or abstract leaf patterns for your drapery or upholstery, especially for breakfast room banquettes or dining chairs, O’Gara suggests.
This abundant shade is even making its way into countertops. Mark Lavender, an interior designer now based in Memphis, says homeowners are rediscovering the beauty of a forgotten natural stone. “While classic countertop options like Carrera and Calacatta marble are always beautiful, verde marble adds a luxurious richness to any color scheme,” says Lavender. Pair it with light wood tones (skip the cherry wood; it will look dated) or with other shades of green cabinets and millwork for a tonal effect.
While this was a big trend of 2021, people are becoming even more tuned in to the difference lighting makes in a home, says O’Gara. He predicts we’ll see more smaller table lamps on countertops and warmer-colored LED bulbs making their way into the kitchen. “Bringing in more of this ambient lighting is always a win, and I’m excited to see retailers bringing more lighting options [to this space],” he says.
While a white kitchen will forever be classic, homeowners are getting bolder with their kitchen style. “We are seeing more pattern mixing and vivid color in kitchens than ever before,” says Shayla Copas, an interior designer in Little Rock, Arkansas. To update your own kitchen, try a colorful backsplash or a bright island cabinet to contrast with surrounding cabinets, Copas suggests.
This material gets you the look of marble or natural stone, but without the maintenance. “[Porcelain] is stain resistant, easy to clean, and now comes in a variety of different patterns and finishes,” says Tara Fust, an interior designer in Atlanta. (For instance, she recently used a matte-black porcelain that looks nearly identical to soapstone in a client’s home.) One thing to note: Due to the thickness of porcelain, you’ll need to extend the edge slightly.
As people seek a cozier look and feel for their homes, stark lines and shapes are out—and curves are in. We will start seeing more curved lines introduced in architectural details, from doors and windows to cabinet door designs, says Kim Armstrong, an interior designer based in Rockwall, Texas. She adds that she’s begun to see curved islands that are very interesting, as well as backsplashes with curved lines incorporated into the design.
We’ll continue to see the upward trend of smart appliances in the kitchen, says Lavender. Manufacturers are developing and enhancing appliances with AI technology, enabling them to better integrate with your smartphone or devices like Alexa (think notifications when your oven is done preheating, or your dishwasher finishes its washing cycle). Lines like the Samsung Family Hub take appliances way beyond basic functions, doing things like making your grocery list, managing family schedules, mirroring shows from your TV, tracking food expiration dates, and more.
Next year, we’ll be leaning more into the trend of keeping things cozy, having a home that feels like home and simplifying down to what really matters, says Fust. You can bring this idea to life in your kitchen by editing down all the “stuff” that’s in plain sight (i.e., moving unused appliances and knife blocks off the countertops and into a cabinet) and adding in items that are both useful and look good on the counter. Think: Decorative cutting boards that double as serving trays, a stack of pretty cookbooks you always reach for, or an attractive tray filled with frequently used ingredients like olive oil and your favorite spices.
Lighting is an essential ingredient in home decor. The right lighting can lift your spirits and make you more productive. It is the jewelry of a room.Lighting is an essential ingredient in home decor. The right lighting can lift your spirits and make you more productive. It is the jewelry of a room, especially if...