Feb 3, 2024 - Real Estate

All-white kitchens are out. Chicago design pros say do this instead

Data: National Kitchen & Bath Association 2024 survey; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: National Kitchen & Bath Association 2024 survey; Chart: Axios Visuals

After years of muted farmhouse-style kitchens, 2024 ushers in an earthier era, with greens, blues, natural wood tones and warm metals.

Why it matters: The kitchen sells the house! And even if you're not selling, you might be up for a refresh.

Driving the news: The National Kitchen and Bath Association's annual report, which surveyed around 600 design professionals across the U.S., reveals sleeker, warmer, more contemporary designs will dominate in the years to come.

What's happening: You don't need to tear out your kitchen to experiment with fresh design elements.

The big picture: Appliances on countertops are out, according to Marissa Nelums of Glasshouse Interior.

  • The South Side company's CEO and founder tells Axios she's seeing more cabinets built to hide appliances.

Zoom in: One lighter lift is adding cafe curtains. They can easily conceal clutter in a kitchen or pantry, says Kate Marker, who owns a studio in Barrington.

dark kitchen with cafe curtains covering storage
Photo: Margaret Rajic, courtesy of Kate Marker Interiors

What they're saying: Contemporary, organic and mid-century/Scandinavian styles are in, per industry professionals from the report.

  • Meanwhile, styles reminiscent of the "Fixer Upper" craze, like farmhouse, cottage and craftsman, are past their prime, per the report.
  • Color is making its way back into home design, a rebellious reaction to years of bright white and muted grays.
  • The goal of warmer, earthier tones is to create a sense of "nature, calm and harmony," according to the report.

Experts also sense more people will opt for casual built-in dining areas in the kitchen over separate formal dining spaces. Expanded islands will also be big.

State of play: Beverage stations are making a splash in 2024. It's the year coffee lovers pour effort into a dedicated morning ritual space, or winos spring for custom storage.

  • Pinterest searches for "coffee bar styling" were up 1,125% from September 2021 to August 2023, per the platform's data.

What we're watching: Pinterest search data show consumers are already moving away from minimalism.

  • Searches for "eccentric kitchen" were up 160% from September 2021 to August 2023; "kitschy kitchen" was up 75%; and "green kitchen paint" was up 55%, per data the platform shared with Axios.
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