The look of the kitchen is changing -- already granite countertops and dark wood cabinets are starting to look a little late 90s. If you're thinking of renovating or building a house (or just like looking!), here are five of the top trends for modern kitchens. And the best part? Some of these are things you can do right now, without spending much money at all.
2. White and wood and black is an intriguing combo. I spy IKEA cabinets. From Desire to Inspire.
3. It's the reverse of what you usually see, but wood cabinets with a white countertop work equally well. and is that...a laminate countertop? could it be making a comeback? From Klikk via Planete Deco.
4. How about white cabinets and wood cabinets together? Contrast is good. Ashley Capp via Desire to Inspire.
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Marble has a reputation for being a bit high-maintenance, but if you're willing to put forth the effort, it is really breathtaking paired with the white cabinets that are so popular right now. (It's also equally striking with black cabinets.) Because it's a natural material, like wood, marble is wonderful for adding a little bit of visual texture to a modern kitchen.
Painting upper cabinets and lower cabinets a different color keeps things interesting -- and it's an easy makeover you can do by yourself (potentially by painting only half your cabinets!).
1. White and green, from Better Homes and Gardens.
2. Black and white cabinets give this traditional kitchen from Canadian House & Home a little something extra.
3. Contrasting uppers in wood from Cissy and Robert's kitchen (click to see full tour).
4. Bright white upper cabinets in this kitchen from Est blend into the wall, making the kitchen seem more spacious.
5. White uppers and wood lower cabinets in a contrasting kitchen from Better Homes and Gardens.
More Two-Tone Cabinet Inspiration:
• Growing Trend: Bi-Color Kitchen Cabinets
Open shelving -- highly controversial, freakishly popular. Pros: open shelving can make a small kitchen look much larger, and it's a great way to put all your lovely things on display. Cons: all those plastic stadium cups and souvenir pint glasses are going to have to be stashed in the lower cabinets.
1. Elegant wood shelving, seen in a kitchen from The Marion House Book.
2. Open shelving makes this small kitchen from Lonny seem more spacious (the subdued color palette of the dishes definitely helps).
3. For your bohemian kitchen, crates and baskets can take the place of upper cabinets. I love the contrast of the super-sleek white lower cabinets (complete with white faucet!) and the rustic look of the crates. Katarina Grundstromer via The Brown Workshop and The Kitchn.
4. A great example of open shelving mixed with traditional upper cabinets, from Stadshem via Superb.li.
5. At the far end of the spectrum is this kitchen from House to Home with hardly any upper storage at all. Some people are choosing to take this one step further and go with no upper cabinets at all -- a clean look, but one that must involve a lot of squatting down and scrounging around.
This particular trend is actually quite accessible -- if you'd like to try it out, all you have to do is remove your cabinet doors and see how it looks. Then you can choose to go 'soft' by replacing cabinet doors with glass-front doors, or replacing a single section of cabinetry with open shelves to display the pretty things -- or you can go whole hog and tear out all your cabinets and replace them with shelving. (Hanging shelving won't be particularly hard, but you may have to re-think your backsplash.)
Tired of your kitchen, but convinced that kitchen remodels are only for people with lots of money? Edie, of the Life in Grace blog, embraced a few of these trends on a tiny budget, by removing the doors from her upper cabinets and painting the lower ones. You can see the transformation -- and get inspired -- here.
(Images: 1. Leela Cyd Ross/Ryan's Stunning San Francisco Remodel (click to see full tour). All others: as credited above)