After a year full of unpredictability, many gained a newfound appreciation for our kitchens and the many purposes they serve. The heart of the home is getting the attention it deserves as homeowners realize the importance of having a multi-faceted kitchen and are ready to invest in new solutions for the way we now live. As we head into a new year, homeowners seek more space and sophistication in their kitchens while also creating a sense of sanctuary. Overall, aesthetics are becoming more adventurous.
“Spending more time at home has made us value an elevated home environment, and at the same time, there is a lingering desire and need for our homes to provide sanctuary and safety as an outcome of the pandemic,” said Danielle Mikesell, global vice president of marketing and design at Wilsonart. “People are eager to start welcoming friends and family back into their homes and are willing to splurge more on updates and upgrades to achieve the aesthetic they desire.”
This year, experts are predicting fewer homeowners will be embarking on entire kitchen renovations. Rather, many are likely to focus on upgrades such as countertops, backsplashes and other surface refreshes like island bases and cabinet fronts.1
“These relatively easy updates can be absolutely transformative,” noted Mikesell. “Countertops and cabinets are the first places visitors look when they enter a room, and surface updates can deliver a dramatic new look in days.”
Wilsonart has conducted research with both design and industry experts as well as homeowners to compile its forecast for five design elements expected to dominate kitchen surface trends in 2022.
As we all continue to spend more time at home, there has been a renewed sense of wanting to bring the outdoors in through nature-inspired design elements. We’ve never needed the healing powers of nature more than we do now, so it’s no surprise that biophilic design, the practice of creating a closer connection to nature through building, design and landscaping considerations, is set to be one of the top design trends this year.
Homeowners are choosing nature-inspired materials for all kitchen surfaces – from countertops to cabinets and islands. Products that deliver the appearance of natural elements are in significant demand. Stone-inspired looks, like marbles and granites, are highly sought after for countertops, backsplashes and islands, and can be found in new colors and patterns in engineered Quartz, Solid Surface and even in High Pressure Laminate (HPL) for more budget-conscious consumers.
Texture is everywhere, too. From the continued love of natural stones to the growing popularity of natural woven material and exotic woodgrain looks, a textured finish can provide a whole new look and feel to a space.
According to Mikesell, “We’ll be seeing texturized wood looks pop up everywhere. Matching refrigerator doors to cabinet facings is once again rising in popularity,2 and many designers are enveloping kitchens with natural materials and woodgrain interiors, balancing crisp white finishes with warm wood tones.”
Fueled by the drastic decline in travel during the pandemic, homeowners are looking to replicate the sophisticated style and comforts of an upscale hotel or luxury resort in their homes from the kitchen to bathrooms and beyond – further blurring the lines between residential and commercial design.
White marbles, especially Carrara marble, continue to be one of the most sought-after looks to achieve this clean, sophisticated, resi-mercial style and looks beautiful when incorporating the waterfall edge craze on both countertops and islands. Thanks to engineered materials like ultra-durable acrylic Solid Surface, homeowners can achieve the luxurious look of marble without the price tag and maintenance of natural stone, as reflected in Wilsonart’s Crafted Collection.
Industrial design is another staple in the resi-mercial trend that continues to evolve as a modern standard. Evoking a minimalist style, this look is softer, lighter and more delicate in direction and illustrated through sleek and sometimes darker surface selections for countertops and backsplashes, like Wilsonart’s ultra-thin European-inspired THINSCAPE® Performance Tops, which provide a strong and sophisticated look perfect for modern spaces.
Our new hybrid schedules have created the need for “zoning” and creating spaces within our homes for each activity. More than any other space, the kitchen has taken on a multi-purpose role and the need for flexible design has become essential for today’s homeowners.
“From cooking and homework to Zoom calls and entertaining, having a countertop material with an on-trend look that can withstand the wear and tear from near-constant use and cleaning is a high priority,” explained Mikesell
But multi-functionality isn’t the only element in high demand. Homeowners are also seeking more elbow room, requesting larger islands and even double islands for added space to accommodate the range of activities.
Sustainable and Sanitary
Eco-conscious material options for kitchens are rising, with 97 percent of interior designers agreeing that sustainable materials will remain a popular trend in the coming year.3 More and more homeowners are showing interest in sustainable alternatives to natural products; alternative materials like laminate, solid surface and quartz mimic the best of Mother Nature without impacting the environment, offering appealing options for eco-conscious consumers.
The pandemic has also led to a focus on cleanliness and regular sanitation of high-touch surfaces like drawers and cabinets, yet not all surfaces are built to handle this challenge. Homeowners prioritizing this are seeking specific features like non-porous, high-performance materials.
High-Style, Low Maintenance
Our new home-centric lifestyles mean our homes need to perform as never before. Homeowners are increasingly seeking high-style surfaces that will live up to the rigors of everyday life but which don’t require a lot of work to maintain. While granite, marble and other natural stones typically top homeowners’ wish lists for their aesthetics, not everyone desires the cost and ongoing maintenance that comes with such materials.
Also emerging from this low maintenance trend, traditional tile is out, and large-format slab backsplashes are in, made from countertop slabs that wrap around the back wall for a bold, grout-free statement.
“Besides being easy to clean, this look creates a natural design flow from countertop to wall for a clean, modern look that ties the entire room together,” commented Mikesell.
For those looking to give their homes a fresh look for the new year, Wilsonart offers residential inspiration encapsulating all of these top trends. For more kitchen, bath and design inspiration, visit www.wilsonart.com.
1 – 2021 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study
2 – NKBA 2022 Design Trends
3 – 1st Dibs 2022 Interior Designer Trends Survey