Happy Fall, Everyone!
I got an email from Starbucks this morning saying Pumpkin Spice Lattes have officially returned. So even though it’s close to fire-and-brimstone temperatures here in Tennessee, it’s officially fall.
I’m actually having a pumpkin spice latte right now at home because I found a great recipe for pumpkin spice syrup. I posted the recipe on Instagram, but if you have trouble finding it, let me know and I’ll post it here.
So anyway, as promised, I am doing a blog post about kitchens and trends! The coolest thing about being in the kitchen design business is that we get to see what everyone is choosing. Before we specifically designed kitchens and had cabinet lines of our own, I used to look through magazines and wonder how people dreamed up these fancy kitchens with all the features. As it turns out, magazines aren’t a very good example of what regular people are doing with their kitchens. Most kitchens in magazines look so good because they’re so darn expensive. They’re full of fancy upgrades and customizable features (and to be honest, they are what dreams are made of).
The good thing about the trends right now, though, is that it IS possible to get a high-quality kitchen for less money than with previous trends. Now I know some of you are thinking (if not you, than everyone else), “I just want the look I’m seeing on Pinterest/Fixer Upper/Instagram and what do you mean about quality?”
Kitchen cabinets are like cars. You can get a cheap car or an expensive car, and it still has four wheels and gets you from point A to point B either way. But, that doesn’t mean they’re the same thing. You could get a Hyundai or a Mercedes or anything in between. The difference between a Hyundai and a Mercedes is in how it looks, feels, runs, and lasts. If you are flipping the house, get the Hyundai. If you’re planning to touch, use, clean, and look at the cabinets for more than a year, get something better. You could get a nice mid-line (Toyota) or, if you have the budget and you like nice things, get the Mercedes. But, keep in mind, if you get a Hyundai, it’s going to be a used, broken down Hyundai soon because it wasn’t made to stand up to a lot of use.
(If you have a Hyundai and are offended, I’m sorry. Try substituting a 1993 Ford Tempo like I had in high school and college).
Now, when we’re talking about trends, I’m talking about what people are actually putting into their kitchens right now. I will do another post another time about my personal favorites and what I would put into my kitchen if I were redoing it. I actually have no idea what I would put in at the moment, because there are so many cool choices. But I’ve been thinking about it and will let you know what I come up with.
Top Trend in Color
Okay, you guessed it. Everyone is doing white. No longer are fancy woods the “it” thing that all the upscale people want. It’s white in a variety of shades (but not cream). Yellowish cream is OUT and white is in and has been for awhile. Because so many people are ordering white, our cabinetmakers have come out with a few door styles that come in a couple different whites that are quite a bit cheaper. Since glazes aren’t the thing right now, they can select a few door styles to paint white in large numbers, keeping the price down. And that leads us to door styles. You can probably guess the most popular style.
Top Trend in Cabinet Door Style
You guessed it…Shaker-style cabinets. The nicer quality ones have softer edges and a nicer feel so get those if you can. This has been a happy style for low-quality cabinets because they can exist in Shaker style without a lot of people realizing that they’re made of marshmallows and sawdust with a little toxic glue inside. Once the trends swing back to fancy woods, it’ll be harder to pass off low-quality. But for now, get American-made Shaker style and you’ll have a nicer product.
Top Trend in Overall Cabinet Style
The newest trend (which became popular more recently than Shaker style) is inset cabinetry. Inset cabinetry is where the doors and drawers sit right into the face frame rather than on top. It has been popular in Europe forever and is the main kind of cabinetry in British design magazines.
This is the most expensive kind of cabinet construction, though there are cabinet lines that make it cheaper by not having the doors and drawers fit in quite as seamlessly. We have that as an option. But, our highest-quality cabinet line (Starmark) has sales on inset cabinets sometimes and they can be up to 30% off, so if you want inset, get Starmark if at all possible.
Here’s an example of Starmark inset in progress:
This is a white called Dove and it reminds me of white in the shade. Here’s a look at the island:
This is a Shaker-style cabinet door with inset cabinet construction. A lot of people are choosing a variation of this. In the kitchen above, there is a detail around the doors (on the cabinet box) called a bead, giving it a little dimension. The ones without that are amazing, too (see picture above, right under the cabinet style heading.
What Cabinet Style Is Next?
After people got tired of exotic (and non-exotic) woods from the early 2000’s, plus all the heavy glazes and warm colors, they made a beeline toward plain and simple and decided on Shaker style cabinets to be the thing of the Two-Thousand-Teens. Some people, when they come into our showroom, ask how to choose something that will not look dated. I’ll put in my two cents and we’ll wait and see what happens.
- I think Shaker will stay in style for awhile ONLY if it’s done with quality cabinets. Obviously, Ikea cabinets aren’t going to stand the test of time, and the door style will go right along with them. But, if they’re finely-crafted Shaker cabinets, they have a different look. They look more like part of the architecture of the house and it’s less noticeable what “style” they are, making them outlast even the Shaker-style trend. These are some nice ones…
- Mixing cabinet styles by doing an island in a different door style and finish is a good way to not make your kitchen look like it was all done at the same time, screaming “trend”. However, if you get quality cabinets, you’re less at risk for this anyway. The kitchen below mixes a different color and door style of uppers and lowers, plus a contrasting pantry cabinet. It also combines inset (top) with full overlay (bottom). Pardon the stuff in the photos and the blurriness of the bottom one…these were taken during the construction.
- Experiment with variations of Shaker style if you love it but worry if it’s too trendy.
- Get something you love. That way, you’ll still love the look and feel of it no matter what everyone else is doing. This client loved the 1940’s look and picked white Shaker cabinets because they blended well into that style.
- Do a good job with the overall design. Don’t make it look like a shiny new kitchen was parked in your house. Blend it in through wall treatments, decor, and furniture. The kitchen below was for a client who wanted rustic but not outdated early 2000’s rustic. We used a modern color on traditional cabinets, with aged cedar on the walls to make it look like it had always been part of the house but still updated.
- Add something old to your kitchen. Use some antique crocks for utensils, get some copper pots or corral your coffee bar in a vintage crate on top of your shiny new countertop.
- If you can’t afford quality materials, keep what you have until you can. Paint your cabinets (yourself) or paint the walls. Nothing is worse than investing money in junky cabinets just to have the look. Looks made of junk don’t look good for long, and then you’re out the money.
Doing that is kind of like marrying the wrong person just so you won’t be alone. It seems good at the time, but then you realize you’re stuck with crap and the only guarantee is that you’re no longer in the market for something better.
Never say “I do” to a kitchen that isn’t able to make you happy for long.
And there you have it.