We visited Boston Design Center general manager Kristan McLaughlin during Boston Design Week to get her thoughts on what’s trending in kitchen design. She pinpointed the top five design elements that are making our kitchens more efficient, comfortable, and beautiful.



Pops of Color

Although the classic white kitchen may never fall from grace, McLaughlin sees pops of color introduced into these spaces, which add personality and interest. “Jet black is a hot hue for the kitchen this year; however, for New England sensibilities, it might be easier to introduce this color in small ways—for instance, in the range, lighting fixtures, or even your choice of cabinet hardware,” she explains. “The backdrop stays neutral, but, ultimately, you get to have fun with the trending color.” Another popular color is Pantone’s Color of the Year, called “Greenery.” “One designer chose to incorporate a sink in this shade for a renovation project—keeping the kitchen on-trend without going overboard on green,” she notes.


Smart Technology

What if your oven not only cooked your meal but helped you prep a gourmet dinner for friends? And what if your refrigerator could let you know when you were running low on milk or eggs? Well, a new partnership between food-prep technology company Innit and Whirlpool’s high-end Jenn-Air appliances is making that happen. Jenn-Air’s Wi-Fi–connected ovens will have sensors that can automate the cooking process, while a companion app will offer the home chef food-prep instructions. Innit describes this as GPS for cooking. It is essentially guidance and automation for the home cook. “Innit has also developed cameras and sensors to let you know when you have run out of juice or butter—and the company has also developed an app to connect you with a third-party [grocery] delivery service,” says McLaughlin.


Christopher Peacock


Sleek Cabinetry

“New Englanders are opening up more and more to the idea of modern kitchens, and we are seeing a shift to flat-front cabinetry,” notes McLaughlin. Showrooms, such as Scavolini Kitchen & Bath, offer sleek Italian-style cabinets that create sophisticated, refined, and ultra-modern looks for kitchens. Designers are dressing up these clean lines with mixed-metal hardware for a creative touch.


Open Shelving

Whether you want a traditional kitchen or a more modern design, open shelving continues to stay a strong trend in the marketplace. “Open shelves have replaced upper cabinets in many new kitchens,” notes McLaughlin. Open shelving allows the focus to be on our collection of earthenware or pretty vintage pitchers. Just make sure you group items by pattern, color, or material so the shelves look stylish rather than cluttered.


Furnishings for the Kitchen

Another trend McLaughlin sees is furniture for the kitchen. This room continues to be the command center—the heart of the home. “It’s the place where everyone comes to gather and visit,” notes McLaughlin. Designers are making these spaces ultra-comfortable with soft upholstered pieces, such as club chairs and even sofas, for kids to cozy up with a book while mom is cooking. Washable and durable fabrics will stand up to the wear and tear of this high-traffic area.