2 Kitchen Layout Trends on Their Way Out, According to Real Estate Agents
When the topic of dated kitchen trends comes up, there are inevitably hot takes on the all-white look, subway tile backsplashes, recessed lighting, and other popular looks. But how your kitchen is laid out has a major influence on its design; it’s a lot more challenging to rearrange major appliances, reimagine your dining set up, or knock down walls than to, say, swap out hardware on your cabinets or add some statement pendant lighting.
Some kitchen layouts are decidedly outdated. Plenty are embraced for that reason, like the early 1900s-era galley kitchen. The slender space with cabinets facing each other has garnered devout fans who appreciate its compact beauty (and the ability to hide your stack of dishes while eating dinner). Then there are the tried and true L-shaped kitchens that worked just as well with black-and-white checkerboard tiles and mint green cabinetry as they do with today’s wide-open spaces, complete with marble backsplashes, gold faucets, and giant islands accented with vases of pink peonies.
But what about the more contemporary kitchen designs that enjoyed a solid test run — and are now beginning to feel stale? Ahead, real estate agents share the two arrangements that are on their way out (and why).
The Bilevel Breakfast Bar
Interest is waning in the bilevel breakfast bar, says Randi Dukes, a real estate agent with Repeat Realty in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. You can think of the breakfast bar as an abbreviated version of the kitchen island. It’s slender and adds a little extra counter space, and is often attached to an existing counter, but is higher in height.
“The counter and seating space are both too small to create effective areas for either cooking or sitting,” Dukes says.
Kitchen islands, on the other hand, are all the rage right now. So much so that designers are seeing people even double up on them as home entertaining makes a return.
“Large, flat countertop islands have taken over and will continue to be popular because they allow a great space for serving food when entertaining but also for seating during a regular day,” Dukes says. “And because of the lower height, they’re much more attractive in an open-concept home.”
Floor Plans That Put Dishes and Appliances on Display
At first glance, features like open shelving may seem more like a design choice than a layout-related one. But today’s trendiest kitchens conceal a lot of their components for a clean and continuous appearance, explains Brandy Aguirre, a licensed real estate agent in the metro Phoenix area. Think: Floor-to-ceiling cabinets, or breaking away from the popular format of putting the microwave above the stove and instead stashing it away in a built-in cabinet — but that’s just the start, Aguirre says.
“One of the biggest kitchen layout trends I see over and over again on new-build homes, luxury homes, and freshly remodeled homes are hidden features such as built-in refrigerators and dishwashers that blend in with the cabinetry,” Aguirre says.
Other hidden features include cabinets meant to hide trash cans and electrical outlets added under the cabinets and inside of drawers, she says.
And while the open shelving has enjoyed a good run, it’s tough to manage IRL.
“A few years ago, open shelving made its way back to kitchen design. When displayed in a model home, or one that’s not lived in, open shelving can look stunning,” she says. “However, unless you are Marie Kondo and keep your home ‘show ready’ all the time, these open shelves can be stress inducing. With open shelving, there’s no way to hide the faded Ninja Turtle cups your kid won’t let you toss.”