Kitchen Design

Kitchen Design Trends For 2019

Kitchens have changed out of all recognition since the 1970’s yet those kitchens were very durable and there are plenty from that era still around today.  This poses a big challenge for kitchen renovators.  Lifestyle changes in society and technological advances have changed the role and opportunities of the modern kitchen.  However, the design of older houses does not take these changes into account and therein lies the challenge.

Homes built for the 21st century have been designed and built for today’s lifestyle so  the kitchen is placed in the centre of the home and integrated with the dining space and outdoor entertaining area.  Kitchen design has become more simple or even minimalistic with natural light becoming an important aspect of the overall look and feel of the sand changing social dynamics have contributed greatly to the rise of the modern kitchen. There is a far bigger focus on open concept homes that revolve around the kitchen so everyone can be together. As with any modern design trend, clean and simple styles have become favourites for home owners with natural light becoming an essential aspect of the overall look and function of the kitchen space.

kitchen design with island and curved corner, white cabinets, stone benchtop


White has returned as a big favourite for kitchen cabinets.  It’s attraction lies in the clean look, which is especially beneficial in a room that tends to get cluttered.  White cabinets are timeless and can be used in almost any kind of kitchen style and we expect white to remain a popular cabinet colour for years to come.  To break up the all-white kitchen islands can be made in a variety of different finishes and colours, maybe timber panels to add warmth, coloured doors or panels.  The mixing of finishes and colours creates a accents or, if you’re feeling brave, pops-of-color.

Light grey would be the second choice for many.  Grey cabinets have chameleon-like qualities.  Versatile for any look or project, grey cabinets work especially well when paired with natural elements, colourful accents, or on their own.

So with white and grey being the two big colours, probably for years to come, how about the accent colours or the alternatives?   Given the greater space available in modern kitchens,dark tones such as emerald green, navy, plum and even black are coming into play.  Dark colours, given enough space can enhance the kitchen with a dramatic and luxurious feel.  Just be careful you don’t overpower the space and make it dark and gloomy.

kitchen design white cabinets and bench and textured stone tile splashback

Styles, Materials and Textures

Given the preponderance of older housing stock, farmhouse, country and mid-century modern will still be popular and appropriate.  It’s not usually a good idea to have a kitchen style out of keeping with the style of the house and, more to the point, other rooms in the house.  So unless it’s a complete tear-out and rebuild renovation, it’s best to be guided by the rest of the house.

That said, there’s no reason why the kitchen cannot be modernised and streamlined with alternative materials and colours.  Farmhouse doesn’t necessarily mean timber panels and doors.

Fitted kitchens make it easy to cram as many cupboards into a room as possible but this can become oppressive.  Removing or doing without wall cabinets is a growing trend.  It makes the kitchen look bigger, benchtops more useful and, let’s face it, most people have trouble reaching the top shelves of the cabinets anyway.  Open shelving is a great alternative, especially for a focal point feature.

Modernised and streamlined doesn’t have to mean it has to be the same old boring and so-so.  Consider materials with texture and feel. If you are using open shelving,  timber brings in a natural elements, metal for a more industrial effect.  Floor tiles in a natural stone, backsplash tiles that are sculpted or bevelled make for the perfect focal point. These interesting textures can be used to effect a contrast to the usual polished or glossy finishes elsewhere.

galley kitchen design with peninsula breakfast bar, diamond tile splashback

Stone Benchtops

In the past, stone equated with high-end, stainless steel with functional and laminate with budget.  All these materials make for perfectly good benchtops of course but engineered stone has brought a stone benchtop into the much more affordable range, especially for a renovation.

Man made stone has lots of advantages over the natural.  It’s cheaper, there’s a good range of colours, it’s less absorbent than natural and so easier to keep clean.  For renovations, man-made stone comes in 10mm sheets that can be overlaid on an old benchtop for a stunning makeover at half the price of solid stone.  For a really high end kitchen natural granite can be found in wonderful natural patterns for a truly unique effect.  It’s extremely hardy but does require regular polishing to keep its look.

For more mainstream kitchens the trend is towards softer and more neutral colours.  More and more home owners are opting for colours like: grey, beige, creamy or white finishes.  Pattern preferences have changed to plain or veining rather than the particle patters that mimic natural granite.   The trend is definitely toward cleaner, less fussy surfaces.

The finishing touch to benchtops is the kitchen sink.  In the past the choice was stainless steel, porcelain or stainless steel.  But now the trend with man-made stone benchtops is to use sinks made from the same material.  Composite stone sinks mostly come in black, white or grey but it is possible to find them in all the colours of the rainbow.

kitchen storage utility storage, waste bins, crockery and pot drawersStorage

A big bug-bear for many people is kitchen cabinetry and the seemingly unnecessary waste of space.  Standard under bench cabinets have one shelf and are notoriously awkward to get into.  Access to the back of them means having to get down on hands and knees, often having to unload contents onto the floor first.  One way around this is to use pull-out inserts such as pot shelved that swing out.  But whilst these give good access they too are wasteful of space.

More home owners are recognising the utility and vale of drawers, deep full-extension drawers that pull the contents right out from the cabinet where you can easily access them.  Right away your kitchen is an easier and more enjoyable place to work.  Add pull-out waste bins, oils and spices pull-outs, pull-out pantries and such, and hey presto whatever is at the back comes out to greet you.

island kitchen design with appliances and seating

Kitchen Islands

The kitchen island is meant to create an impact, and its design must make a statement.  Because of its size, the kitchen island tends to intrude into the dining space and work as the interface between the living area of the house and the kitchen.

Islands are becoming jack-of-all-trades. They provide storage cabinets and be fitted with various under-bench appliances while also providing seating for a breakfast bar or casual dining and a servery for formal dining or party time.  Clearly they need a lot of space so are not always suitable for smaller homes but with larger spaces they’re becoming a must-have.

smart kitchen fridge-freezer with lcd display panel

The Smart Kitchen


Technology is entering the kitchen at an alarming rate,  From automatic, sensor controlled taps to fridges that tell you when your groceries are running low.  The Internet Of Things is connecting appliances to your smart phone so you can question and control them.  Voice activated shopping via Alexa (though not yet in NZ).  Lighting and heating you can adjust as you drive home.  Instead of recipe books you speak to Siri or ‘Hey Google’ recipes right onto the screen of your kitchen smart TV.  Come to think of it, you’ll be able to Internet shop for groceries from your local supermarket with voice control.

Smart kitchens developments will start to inform kitchen design from the ground up.  A place for the smart screen, enough space for the smart fridge, the oven you can set to cook from work, the coffee maker you can programme for when you get up, door phone access from your screen…

The smart kitchen will be a big trend for 2019 and even more so in the future as technology develops.