Kitchen renovations are among the most popular home improvement projects, allowing homeowners to update the look and function of one of the most-used rooms in the house. Each year, there are countless beautiful and innovative new kitchen designs unveiled that can serve as inspiration. Looking at the top kitchen makeovers from the past year reveals some exciting trends and ideas that can help guide your own kitchen refresh.

In this article, we will explore highlights and key takeaways from 10 of the best kitchen remodels over the past 12 months. These kitchens demonstrate creative uses of color, materials, layouts, and styles that can spark your creativity. Read on for an inside look at some of the most gorgeous and functional kitchen designs from the past year.

Embrace Warm, Natural Tones and Materials

One standout trend this year was the use of warm, natural materials and earthy color palettes. Homeowners gravitated toward organic textures like wood and stone paired with cozy neutral tones. This creates a welcoming, lived-in look and feel that pairs nicely with both traditional and contemporary styles.

Several of the year’s top kitchens incorporated wood elements through cabinetry, ceilings, floors or accents. Mixing natural wood finishes like light oak or walnut with painted cabinetry is an attractive combination. Wood introduces organic texture and warmth to balance sleek, modern materials like metal or glass.

Earthy color schemes also dominated, with hues like beige, brown, tan and terracotta. Painting walls, cabinets or islands in these natural, muted colors imparts a soothing, casual atmosphere. Accent walls in rich wood paneling or brick are another way to work in natural materials.

Make a Statement with Colorful Appliances

While stainless steel has reigned supreme for years, this year saw homeowners embrace bold, colorful appliances as a focal point. Vibrant reds, blues, greens and more make appliances stand out rather than blend in.

Several top kitchens incorporated brilliant statement appliances to inject visual interest. For a subtler take, consider muted blue or green appliances. Regardless of hue, painting upper cabinets to match appliances unifies the look.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match colors for appliances – pairing a cobalt blue range with a bright red refrigerator is totally on trend. Contrasting appliance colors create vibrancy and dimension. Just be sure to stick to one or two main hues.

Creative Layouts and Island Designs

Clever kitchen layouts that provide better workflow and plenty of functionality emerged as a key trend. Several stellar galley kitchen makeovers this year optimized space through smart placement of cabinets, appliances and islands.

Thoughtful kitchen layouts incorporate convenient appliance garages, pantry pull-outs, bar carts and other space-saving elements. Custom built-ins like banquettes, window seating and cabinetry arches help delineate spaces for prep, cooking and dining.

Islands also took center stage this year, with innovative shapes, sizes, materials and placements. Large rectangular or L-shaped islands maximize surface area, while unusual curved or rounded island designs make a statement. Using an island with contrasting cabinets and finishes from the rest of the kitchen is on-trend.

Don’t Overlook Lighting

Lighting is a crucial kitchen design element that sometimes gets overlooked. This year’s standout kitchen transformations incorporated layered lighting plans to create ambiance and illuminate task areas.

Pot lights and track lighting provide general illumination, while pendant lights over islands or prep zones deliver targeted task lighting. Under-cabinet lighting illuminates countertops beautifully.

For drama, install delicately cascading chandeliers or dramatic light fixtures with Edison bulbs over dining areas. Sconces flanking windows infuse natural light. Dimmer switches enable adjusting lighting schemes for different needs.

Mix Up Cabinetry Styles

Playing with different cabinetry styles in one kitchen emerged as a notable trend this year. Mixing and matching cabinet colors, materials and designs lends compelling visual interest.

Several stellar kitchens combined painted cabinetry on the perimeter with wooden cabinets on the island. Others coupled traditional cabinetry with modern floating shelves. Using glass-front cabinets for display purposes is also popular.

If your kitchen layout includes a butler’s pantry or bar area, consider distinctive cabinetry in these spaces, like glass-front upper cabinets to showcase glassware. Mixing metal finishes, like brass hardware with matte black pulls, keeps the look cohesive.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the hottest kitchen design trends right now?

Some popular kitchen trends include warm, earthy color palettes, bold statement appliances, creative island designs, an emphasis on lighting, and mixing up cabinetry styles. Using natural materials like wood and stone is also on-trend.

What colors work well in a kitchen design?

Earthy neutrals like tans, browns and terracottas are popular right now. Navy blue, forest green, and other rich hues also look great. Vibrant reds, blues and greens are trending for appliances and accent walls.

How can I make my small kitchen feel bigger?

Optimize storage with pull-outs, organizers and appliance garages. Add mirrors and glass-front cabinets to reflect light. Keep the color scheme light and bright. Have open shelving rather than upper cabinets. Make sure there’s plenty of task lighting.

What are some unique island ideas?

Creative island shapes like curved or rounded designs are trending. Contrasting finishes or colors from the rest of the kitchen also looks great. Include distinctive features like a waterfall edge breakfast bar, statement pendant lights, or reclaimed wood.

How important is lighting for kitchen design?

Proper lighting is extremely important. Layer general, task and accent lighting through fixtures like track lights, pendants, under-cabinet lighting and sconces. Include dimmers so you can adjust brightness as needed.


This look at the past year’s top kitchen designs reveals some exciting trends to inform your own remodel. From bold color palettes to innovative layouts, there are countless ways to create a kitchen that is both beautiful and highly functional. Use these highlights as inspiration when planning your dream kitchen transformation. Careful attention to lighting, color, cabinetry, appliances, materials and more can make your new kitchen truly spectacular. With some creativity and forethought, you can craft a gorgeous, contemporary kitchen space perfect for cooking, entertaining and making memories for years to come.