Local experts give us their 2020 kitchen predictions

(and long-term trends)

Today’s interior living spaces are designed to bring family and friends together, and the crossroads of activity is the kitchen—the one spot in the house that brings everyone together at the start and end of the day.

Kitchen cabinets, countertops, and layout are a more permanent reflection of your home’s design and the lifestyle of those living in it. So, you really need careful forethought if you decide to design a new kitchen (or completely redesign an old one). And a full-blown kitchen renovation in 2019, according to a study by HomeAdvisor, costs an average of more than $20,000 (with a range of $75 to $250 per square foot).

But it’s the small, annual-or-so upgrades that can make all the difference.

We reached out to area kitchen experts for their 2020 trends—especially the ones with staying power—to build on for next year and beyond.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Prominent pantries

When designing a kitchen, it’s important to give careful consideration to how the space will be used. Appliances should reflect the way the homeowner lives and entertains.

Jessica Markley, interior designer at Elias Construction, sees pantries playing a bigger role in the near future. "The addition of a pantry, or increasing the size of an existing pantry (butler’s or traditional), is becoming increasingly popular," says Markley. "There are so many new kitchen gadgets to store, such as air fryers, instapots and deluxe coffee machines. All of these small kitchen appliances need ample storage space."

For Shannon Range, interior design stylist at Range Custom Homes, kitchen features will slowly extend, and mesh with, adjacent rooms. "We will start to see the pantry as being an extension of the kitchen rather than just its own separate, hidden space," says Range.

"Homeowners today desire the look of clean, clutter-free countertops and purposeful kitchen organization," according to the staff at Studio M Kitchen and Bath in Plymouth, Minn. "An emerging trend in today’s kitchen design is the larder-styled storage cabinet. This custom-designed cabinet can be used as a beverage center, a cocktail bar, or a baking center, keeping all the necessary tools and supplies organized and close at hand. When you want to keep the clutter at bay, simply close the cabinet doors."

Bright(er), bold(er) colors

White walls and empty spaces, most everyone agrees, will be replaced with brighter colors and art and, sometimes, dramatic décor.

"I’m seeing a few different kitchen trends for the year that we are loving," says Ashley Moberg, owner of Real Deals in Rochester. "For the entertainer, for example, we are seeing taco and margarita-themed décor everywhere. Bright, bold colors, items that have funny sayings, and great conversation pieces are easily added to your kitchen."

Other homeowners may make a slightly less-bold statement, but, either way, warmer colors will be replacing the traditional whites.

"I think we will see a pull away from the beautiful, all-bright, white kitchens," says Shannon Range. "We will start to see the earth tones, specifically warm cream colors, coming back into the kitchen, with accents of warm wood tones and patina accents. Kitchen art is another trend that we expect to see. Hanging art in the kitchen, or using open shelves to display items that showcase your style."

Organic aesthetic

"A specific kitchen trend people can expect to see for 2020 and beyond is an organic aesthetic," says Kailee Klevan, kitchen and bath designer at Beyond Kitchens. "We are seeing a lot of natural wood used for cabinetry or open shelving, brushed gold/brass fixtures, and warmer off-white cabinetry finishes and wall colors. Additionally, many clients are wanting natural stone-looking countertops, but without the maintenance. Therefore, quartz (a manmade product) has been a popular selection for us. People love to bring the outdoors in, so large windows, natural forms and materials, neutral colors, and added accents with greenery are and will continue to be popular."

Tiles, expanded

After years of the popular 3-inch-by-6-inch subway tiles, homeowners are now in search of something even bigger or more dramatic. And manufacturers have capitalized on the trend, creating larger formats (like 4x8 inch and even 4x12 inch) and textured designs.

"Graphic geometric tiles will be increasing in popularity, whether installed in flooring or backsplash installations," says Jessica Markley with Elias Construction. "Subway tiles will continue in popularity, but you will see them in larger formats, and set in orientations that aren’t traditional, such as stacked, vertical and herringbone."

At Studio M Kitchen and Bath, they are seeing more orders for custom tiling. "We are seeing backsplashes crafted from dramatic slabs of stone that feature beautiful veining, or tile with a fun geometric pattern," according to staff designers.

Carpet One sales associate Mike Hyde thinks the trend of more creative backsplashes is just beginning. "More detail in tile kitchen backsplashes will evolve immensely," he says. "Tile to the ceiling, large format subway tile, patterned tile, and even metallic and mirrored tile will be at the forefront of style and design for years to come."

Cabinets, with color

While stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops receive most of the admiration in a kitchen design, cabinets have become look-at-me stars, too. Modernizing them can change a kitchen’s personality or vibe.

"Painted cabinetry need not always be white," says Markley. "We will see a rise in colored cabinetry in shades such as gray, blue, and green. Darker walnut cabinetry will start to have a moment, as clients are embracing the beauty and richness of natural wood."

Other cabinet trends for 2020, according to our experts? Deeper drawers (to hold some of those new appliances), fewer upper cabinets (for a more open look and to open up space for art), mixed finishes (upper and lower cabinets in two different finishes), and mesh fronts (think metal or wire).

Floral wallpaper? Mixing metals? The return of enamel?

Local experts give you other (non-kitchen) home design trends and tips for 2020.

Keep it simple

"A trend that people can expect to see for 2020 and beyond is simplified design. Clean lines and minimalism is gaining popularity every day. Many people are getting into the ‘less is more’ mentality when organizing their homes, and that is also being reflected in interiors. Our clients are drawn to simple colors, palettes, and clean spaces. That being said, it doesn’t mean we aren’t having fun with color and pattern anymore—we certainly are! Color and pattern are still very much a part of my designs, but they are used in a way that still produces a clean aesthetic. For example, in a recently completed master bath, the vanity is a rich green color, with a patterned marble tile floor, light gray walls, and a simple white square tile in the shower. Together the finish selections create a fresh and calming atmosphere that is full of character true to the age of the home. It’s all about balance!"

—Kailee Klevan, Kitchen and Bath Designer, Beyond Kitchens

Keep it clean

"For the farmhouse style, it’s all about enamel: enamel clocks, signs, and other décor. It’s a nice, clean look that a lot of people are looking for. With it being black and white, it’s extra easy to change out your florals seasonally, or bring in other colors with ease."

—Ashley Moberg, Owner, Real Deals

Go for a natural look

"Hard surfaces (LVP, tile, vinyl, and laminate) will continue to increase in popularity in 2020. Hard surface manufacturers will continue to push towards replicating natural wood and stone flooring trends."

—Mike Hyde, Sales Associate, Carpet One

Mix it up

"Mixing metals is becoming quite popular. No longer must the metal finishes of faucets, hardware, and lighting ‘match.’ Also, clients are leaning toward natural wood tones as they seek more of a connection with nature. We’re seeing more interest in the visual texture and depth of wood grains, as well as increased interest in highly pigmented hues. While white kitchens will always have a classic appeal, we’re seeing more clients interested in mixing finishes, either by using two different paint colors or mixing painted finishes with stained finishes. We see trends toward even bolder designs: adding a third color or texture to create asymmetry or define work zones. Darker colors, including dark blues, greens, and even black lend contrast, and mixing matte finishes with glossy finishes adds additional interest."

—Claire Teunissen, Megan Dent, Danielle Lardani & Danee Bohn, Designers, Studio M Kitchen and Bath in Plymouth, Minn.

Get cost-efficient

"Customers can expect to see an increase in cost-saving measures, such as energy- efficient lighting solutions as well as improved home insulation. Energy-efficient appliances are important, in addition to water-conserving plumbing fixtures. All of these cost-efficient measures result in real annual savings for homeowners. Another trend we will see is the emphasis on home wellness. Water and air purification systems will be very popular, as well as designing for the aging or disabled populations. Ease of use will be highlighted in floor plans, bathroom amenities and kitchens."

—Jessica Markley, Interior Designer, Elias Construction

Get beyond those basic whites"

In 2020, we are predicting a shift toward spaces that go beyond just whites and cool tones. We are expecting to see the natural earth tones make a comeback, along with accents of darker wood, as opposed to the lighter woods that have been used the last few years. We will see a mix of both light and dark woods, along with clean and transitional textures, pops of vintage accents, and more wallpaper, specifically floral wallpaper."

—Shannon Range, Interior Design Stylist, Range Custom Homes