With such a huge variety of cabinets, cabinet doors, veneers and other components on offer in today's home improvement market, designing or remodeling your kitchen can seem like a somewhat daunting project. Here at 27estore.com we know exactly how you feel – we sometimes get overwhelmed thinking about all of the possible combinations we offer in our own product catalog! That's why we got in touch with 7 interior design experts and asked them 4 key questions about kitchen design and current trends.

Question 1 - The kitchen can often be the central hub in the home, and yet when it comes to interior design it is often overlooked. Do you think it is important to pay just as much attention to your kitchen décor as you would in any other room? 

Barbara Elza Hirch - Kitchens need to be personalized and created for functionality. Functionality does not mean bad design. A well designed kitchen will offer quality cabinets, surfaces, plumbing fixtures, lighting and a floor plan and color scheme that all blend seamlessly together, creating an inviting space. Kitchens can look fabulous with great pendants, hardware, the right harmony of materials and colors. One big mistake is creating a cookie cutter space that feels cold and lifeless. I like to bring in decor, such as interesting framed art or color coordinated displays of stoneware! 

Samantha Culbreath - It is absolutely important to pay as much attention, if not more attention, to the kitchen décor as you would in any other room of the home. After all, this is a space where everyone gathers, whether it is just close family or you are entertaining guests. This is a space where function is and should also be everyone’s top priority while the look and décor is a close second. A kitchen that is appealing to the eye, but doesn’t accommodate a person’s natural movement throughout the space, it won’t be very attractive to the user on a daily basis. As design evolves we have seen majority of homeowners moving toward the open concept and incorporating details of a connected family or breakfast room into the kitchen details through the use of color, cabinet style, and hardware details which will make this space feel more welcoming and less utilitarian. 

Mindy Miles Greenberg - The interior design of the kitchen often falls under the "architect" or "contractor" or "cabinet suppliers" job function. It's only a wise client that sees the need to integrate the feeling of the entire home and bring in a professional interior designer that can pull all the specialties together while integrating the feel of the entire residence together. Furnishings like: a sofa, chairs, fabrics, window treatments, light fixtures are all of utmost importance but so are the floor + back tile materials, counter materials, cabinet finishes, hardware selections, etc. All the details count when designing this most important space. 

Vicki Poulter - Absolutely – kitchens should always be approached as part of the interior design of a home – not as a separate sales item. The kitchen needs to be in context with the home and lifestyle of the owners and leave room for furniture and circulation. I see many large kitchens that have been designed to be fabulous but at the expense of the other important spaces like sitting, dining, desk, traffic ways etc. etc. The function, flow and feel is really important. It is better to have a smaller kitchen and for everything to work and it’s also better to spend money on getting light into the area than the cups themselves. 

Gary Baker - I think the kitchen is becoming much more of a multifunctional space and with that in mind it is important to think about the use of space as well as how it looks. Kitchens aren’t just about cooking now, they’re for dining, entertaining, socializing, spending time as a family... there are lots of uses you can get from this one part of your home and as such functionality is more important in this room than any other. With all the different materials, colors and technologies on offer for homeowners, they are exploring different options and are becoming more adventurous. The kitchen can be a reflection of your own personality just as much as your living room or bedroom. 

Kerrie Kelly - Oh yes! The kitchen is where we create meals together, drink wine, do homework and socialize the most in a home. The backdrop {flooring, tiles, tops, cabinets, plumbing and appliances} should be thoughtful to support a variety of life’s activities.

Nitzan - Absolutely. The kitchen is the most important part of the house. It is where family meets for meals and where guests gather when entertaining, which is why so many clients are favoring open plans, and beautiful yet highly functional kitchens.

Question 2 - Are there any particular kitchen trends that you are seeing emerge for the year ahead? 

Barbara Elza Hirch -Granite is out. it's been overused and designers are looking for and using many different surfaces. New engineered stone surfaces such as Silestone's Nebula line or Cambria's countertops make beautiful counter tops for example. We are still seeing huge slabs of marble stone as backsplash, and interesting tiles are being created as we speak. Anything from glass tiles to porcelain tiles imitating wood grains and look are very appealing. If anything, I'd say technologies are opening many doors for us in the kitchen. For example the SmartTouch Technology from Brizo offers beautiful and ergonomic faucets that allow one to operate a faucet hands free, an ideal setup when manipulating raw meat. LED lighting is fantastic technology under cabinets.

Samantha Culbreath - I am seeing more clients wanting an appliance garage to hide and tuck away the unsightly small appliances we use on a daily basis, i.e. coffee maker and toaster. Also, a trend that is definitely more of a luxury is the use of interior cabinet and drawer LED lighting. 

Mindy Miles Greenberg - I love a microwave drawer. It makes so much sense to put the machine under the counter and push a button for it to open! I also love an under counter vegetable crisper. Makes so much sense for those who chop a lot of salads, to just be able to throw all the ingredients inside rather than to fill the fridge with all those messy items. 

Vicki Poulter - I really concentrate on what people feel comfortable with – not so much on what is “in”. Kitchens are not usually changed every few years! Having said that I am doing a lot of quite warm and cosy with industrial touches like concrete floors and benchtops and corrugated iron

Gary Baker - Extending the kitchen out is a big trend as homeowners are discovering all these purposes for the kitchen. We’ve seen some gorgeous ‘infinity’ look kitchens this year and lots of light, airy spaces. White is always going to be popular in the kitchen but we’ve noticed more requests for bolder colors people really are becoming more daring! Hand-painted kitchens are making a resurgence and so we’ve seen lots of requests for matt Corian doors as an easy to care for alternative in greens, blues and reds. 

Kerrie Kelly - Sleek surfaces like Silestone with waterfall edges that wrap island walls create a great aesthetic. Pair with brushed brass faucets and you have a warm yet, contemporary look. {Yes, I said brass—its back!}

Nitzan - I think there is an obsession in suburban America to have all stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops. Everyone wants the same exact thing. It's like in the 50's when housewives all seemed to be wearing pearls.... When we are working on kitchens for our projects, we tend to favor hiding appliances and brand labels, and finding more modern solutions for countertops.

Question 3 - When you choose kitchen cabinetry for a client's home, what do you look for?

Barbara Elza Hirch - Quality construction, functionality, good design, interesting colors. Large drawers are very appealing to put pots and pans.

Samantha Culbreath - If budget allows, we love to have not only soft close drawers, but doors too. We look for a durable solid wood cabinet door with a very durable finish. 

Mindy Miles Greenberg - How long will they live there? How much do they cook? Is it part of a great room or hidden in its own space that is isolated? Do they already have wood floors? Do they appreciate the difference in the different construction methods? Lots of details that usually end up pointing right back at the budget. The main thing people are not honest about at the start!!

Vicki Poulter - Firstly I do not choose for my client – I co-design with them. I make suggestions and let them own the decisions. I look for practical first and foremost and a style which will suit the home – not just the current owner - be it traditional with a modern twist or clean and clinical. Most people I find don’t want to live in a “showroom” but something that they can unwind and relax in or cook up a storm. 

Gary Baker - We’ve seen a lot of huge, sweeping curves lately and LED under cabinet and recess lighting is starting to appear more and more. I think some people are always going to favor the minimalist look and go for straight, clean lines, but as homeowners are becoming more adventurous they are more willing to play with shape. We’ve also seen that there’s more of a mixture of large pull out drawers with straight forward hinged cupboards you don’t just have to stick to one type.

Kerrie Kelly - Durability, simple styling and great hardware. Organization elements behind the doors is a must!

Nitzan - We look for quality craftsmanship,discreet hinges, and interesting materials/veneers.

Question 4 - Do you have a favorite wood finish when it comes to kitchen cabinetry?

Barbara Elza Hirch - Well, I like to be able to offer painted cabinets. White and gray are very popular. In terms of natural wood finishes, I would have to say bleached oak, maple or cherry. Light and warm.

Samantha Culbreath - I personally am leaning toward a cabinet wood finish that resembles a wire brush finish and is more rough as compared to the typical very refined and polished kitchen cabinet. While it can’t work for everyone in every space, it is something that has character and as it gets dented and scratched over the years, it only adds to the look. Kitchens are not an untouchable, gentle space- it is a work space. 

Mindy Miles Greenberg - I love a furniture look like walnut, marble and something that is grey. 

Vicki Poulter - I really like painted timber in a traditional style or dark brown veneers in a modern kitchen – often teamed with a white stone or corian benchtop. However i just run different finishes past the client until they fall in love with something. I don’t have to live with it.... 

Kerrie Kelly – Painted!

Nitzan - Recently we've been working with heavily wire brushed woods, that at first glance seem more "rustic", but when executed in a very modern way, take on an entirely new and unexpected look. Like a heavily scrubbed pine, in a matte white finish, paired with simple glass.

Hopefully these answers have given you lots to think about and maybe even inspired you to take action on that remodel you have been putting off! Get in touch with our kitchen designers today and talk about your needs!

Our thanks go out to Barbara Elza Hirch of Elza B. Design, Inc., Samantha Culbreath from Beckwith Interiors, Mindy Miles Greenberg of Encore Décor, Vicki Poulter of Designing Woman, Gary Baker from , Kerrie Kelly of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab and Nitzan of Nitzan Design for taking the time to share their valuable design skills with us for this feature.