In 2022, kitchen designs will build on the momentum created by last year’s trends, including an emphasis on storage, nature-inspired accents, and upgraded technology in lighting, appliances, and fixtures. This year’s designs complement the simple luxury of organic style, while increased functionality becomes the main goal of updates and upgrades. These six trends are all about helping your kitchen work your way, adding substance and style that’s sure to last for years.
1. Flexible Lighting
As the kitchen continues to transform into a multifunctional space, lighting will play a key role. “Lighting controls, and the ability to adjust your light to the task at hand, is an important trend,” says Greg Martin, creative director of design at Kichler Lighting. “This could be as simple as the ability to dim light levels or as complex as app-controlled color temperature and light intensity.”
According to the 2022 Design Trends Report by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), app- and voice-controlled lighting will be as popular as traditional dimmers and motion-sensing lighting in the coming year.
Multiple sources of light are another significant feature for a space used for varied tasks, and Martin says adjustable sconces are especially hot for kitchens. Hardwired or plugged in, these fixtures can be installed how and where they’re needed, adding both illumination and style. For all fixtures, he continues to see strong trends toward black and gold finishes and notes white light fixtures are beginning to gain popularity.
2. Walk-In Pantries
Last year, kitchens burst with new cookbooks, small appliances, and cans of food following changes in cooking and shopping habits caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In its 2021 “What Home Buyers Really Want” report, the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) found walk-in pantries tied with double-basin sinks as the most desirable feature homebuyers look for in a kitchen.
Not content with simply finding a place for everything, homeowners look to add functionality to kitchen storage in 2022, too. “Working pantries,” which include areas like coffee centers or a place to store and use small appliances, come in at #5 on the NKBA trend list.
3. Sink Workstations
Sinks will see major upgrades in 2022, and there are two styles vying for your attention. “The past 20 months have proven that spaces in our home must serve multiple functions, and your kitchen sink is no different,” says Caroline Danielson, director of showrooms at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery.
The NAHB report identifies side-by-side double sinks as the most-wanted kitchen feature. According to Danielson, these sinks are popular because they allow for simultaneous tasks, like food prep and washing dishes. They also offer a variety of configurations, allowing the homeowner to select from various basin sizes and depths, as well as faucet location and mounting style.
“Instead of your average stainless under-mount sink, we are encouraging clients to choose workstation sinks,” says Ebony Stephenson, owner of Designs by Ebony. Workstation sinks feature a built-in ledge for accessories like colanders, dish racks, cutting boards, and ice holders; and often multiple faucets for added productivity. Stephenson expects to see galley-style sinks (wider than a standard 36″ sink base cabinet), which could be especially popular in larger renovations and new construction where countertops and cabinets are specified.
4. Rounded Accents
Organic style quickly became a top decor style in 2021 and continues to influence kitchen design. Now, rounded accents are showing up as a complement to this nature-inspired aesthetic. “We expect that curves and organic shapes will be integrated more into kitchen spaces, promoting comfort, whimsy, and natural elements,” says Katherine Cohen, manager of visual merchandising and photography at FLOR.
For a grand approach, Cohen suggests arched windows, doorways, and ceiling treatments that structurally integrate swells and curves. On a smaller scale, look for accents like circular trays, scalloped backsplashes, seating with curved backs, and soft furnishings with rounded geometric and abstract patterns. Cohen also notes a trend toward “pairing curved and wavy decor elements with each other,” such as round tables with circular rugs or round cutting boards with curved earthenware serving pieces.
5. Modern Wood Finishes
Greens and blues will continue to dominate home design in 2022, and the kitchen is no exception. But according to the NKBA, white and wood tones will also be popular. Together, these hues are the foundation for today’s popular organic style. While the NKBA reports painted wood is still the most-popular cabinet choice, designers agree that wood grain, especially in light and medium tones, is gaining ground in the kitchen.
“I’m seeing a renewed love for wood kitchens. Not the country oak from the 1980s, but gorgeous, grained walnut or white oak,” says Kelly Finley, founder and principal designer at Joy Street Design. Finley says these warm woods balance the coldness often found in tile and stone countertops. And it’s not just wood tones; prominent wood grains and textures are finding a place in kitchen design as well.
6. Smart Appliances
Tech-savvy appliances are moving into more and more kitchens for multiple reasons. First, many companies are simply updating and adding new features to their line of appliances to better align with today’s connected homes. Additionally, homeowners are willing to splurge, even if appliances are more expensive right now.
“Given the delays in receiving appliances, homeowners are opting to wait to get everything they want in the ‘perfect’ appliance,” says Finley. Saving time by preheating before getting home, being alerted when timers are done no matter where you are, and the possibility of having appliances serviced without a technician are all reasons homeowners are getting excited about adding more tech functionality to their kitchens in 2022, says Finley.