The Contemporary Kitchen: 10 Top Trends for 2015

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine 


Photo Credit: National Kitchen & Bath Association

Contemporary is the buzzword when it comes to kitchen designs this year, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association. Streamlined designs, eclectic touches, and multiples of appliances lead the trends, according to NKBA’s 2015 forecast.

Here are the top 10 overall kitchen design trends expected to be hot this year, according to NKBA’s report:

1. Clean with an overall contemporary feeling: A fusion of styles and multiple colors in one kitchen
2. European-styled cabinets
3. Multiples of appliances in one kitchen (most notably two dishwashers, like a dishwasher and a dishwasher drawer, or the addition of a refrigerator/freezer)
4. The rise of steam ovens
5. Furniture-like pieces (such as furniture-styled dry bars)
6. Outdoor kitchens
7. Fewer standard kitchen tables, replaced by counters or tall gathering tables
8. TVs and docking stations (many kitchens have desks or home office areas as well as flat-screen televisions and docking/charging stations)
9. Wine refrigerators
10. A focus on the user experience, from easy maintenance to accessible design

Most Popular Colors: The most common color scheme for kitchens: White, followed by gray, according to NKBA. About a third of NKBA remodelers also said they did black or blue kitchens in 2014. Kitchens in green tones were also gaining in popularity. Designers are increasingly reporting an appetite for kitchens with multiple color schemes.

“I am seeing lots of white painted kitchen perimeters with espresso stained islands and dark stained kitchen perimeters with light colored painted islands,” says Christine Shorr with Morris Black Designs in Allentown, Pa. “Lots of painted white kitchens with light countertops and espresso islands and painted gray cabinets.”

Out of style: Country/rustic, Tuscan and Provincial looks with distressed finishes, as well as color schemes in reds, bronzes, and terra cottas are on their way “out” in the kitchen.


Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. I would like to know where this trend is happening because it’s not a “one size fits all” design. What works in certain parts of this country does not work everywhere else. I live in southwest Florida which has a lot of people from the Midwest and this design does not appeal to a everyone from that area. People from the northeast, Canada and Europe may find this appealing and that’s okay.

    My opinion of contemporary is that it looks very cold and sterile. With the right colors, it looks colder than a morgue. I’ve never cared for the European look either. I like a kitchen that’s warm and inviting. The kitchen in the top picture is a far cry from warm and inviting.

  2. There are so many articles on this topic lately. One says no desks and all white Shaker and outdoor kitchens are out. Another says desks are in and colored cabinets are in.
    As a Realtor in Atlanta my experience has been White Shaker cabs at the Perimeter, large islands with seating and drawers and Granite or Quartz sell well. The island might have wood or another color with a contrasting counter color or material like wood. Drawers at 30″ width with lots iof storage are winners. Counter depth Refrigerator/Freezers are in. No one likes 6″ of metal sticking out into the room. At the very least that appliance should have a built in look. Walk in Pantries are sellers. Desks are not important but a dedicated counter area for charging is. Coffered ceilings are in. Large table areas are in because having a dedicated, seperate Formal Dining Room is not as important as it once was. Entertaining has become more informal today but Buyers still want a large space to host meals that’s part of the kitchen and Family room.
    Open kitchens that have direct access to a family room are a must. Perhaps this is a Southern thing but contemporary kitchens, as in Slab front high gloss cabinets are not prominent in the homes I see. The most popular look is traditional, classic and timeless. It works with anything, and when done well, absolutely sells the home.
    As for multiple appliances, the only time I see that is in high end properties, with the exception of ovens. Double wall ovens or a Range with a secondary wall oven are a must.

  3. I have been respraying many natural wood kitchens for several years now with these varied shades of solid colours and/or antiquing.
    This seems to be the new trend versus replacing a kitchen.
    The high solid acrylic urethanes are made for wood and provide that fine wood finish that comes from the factory! It is certainly trending and at 20-30% of the cost of replacing it’s an option many are looking at.