1. Full-tile backsplash feature walls. Attention-grabbing backsplash tile is nothing new in well-designed kitchens. We’ve seen colorful geometric and quirky patterns show up in a lot of kitchens for years now.
But what many professionals are seeing more of lately is an interest in taking the tile from countertop to ceiling, including behind floating shelves and flanking range hoods, to create a striking feature wall.
It’s also a relatively cost-effective way to achieve a stunning effect. Buying an extra several square feet of tile won’t break the budget, but it looks high-end.
Ott says she’s seeing an increase in interest for medium-tone woods rather than super dark or light ones. Wood also adds charm that aligns with the trend toward farmhouse style, which has been gaining in popularity every year for the past three years, according to the recent Houzz kitchen trends report.
Many homeowners are moving away from the bright, stark whites and embracing off-whites that feel warmer and cozier, like Skimming Stone by Farrow & Ball, shown here in a Boston kitchen by Lisa Tharp Design.
The natural stone and resin material is incredibly durable and can visually mimic the look of more expensive and maintenance-heavy materials like marble and slate.
In fact, quartz is so popular that even risings costs associated with trade tariffs haven’t dissuaded homeowners, who save elsewhere in their remodeling budgets in order to still get quartz countertops. “Prices for quartz that either was made in China or routed through China are now seeing 20 percent markups to make up the increased purchase price,” designer Carl Mattison says. “I find in my world people are relying on me, the designer, to help offset costs so they can still get what they want.”
“The perimeter cabinetry can be a neutral from white to gray and the island can bring a pop of color to the space,” Mattison says. “By doing only the island a color, people can see the color without it being overwhelming.”
Larger-format tiles in herringbone, chevron or stacked patterns — anything other than the traditional offset brick pattern — gives the same crisp look but with a bit more nuance and interest, without taking a huge design risk. “With the larger size, the grout lines are minimized, and a clean, fresh take on the old is just what people are looking for,” Mattison says.
She often encourages clients to go with a custom drawer insert in an unexpected color or stain, different than what’s on the cabinet drawer exterior. Shown here inside her own kitchen are custom stained walnut drawer inserts. “These are something I really try to talk clients into doing,” Robertson says. “You don’t think about how often drawers are open in the kitchen. You’re in and out of them all the time. It’s such a beautiful touch to have inside drawers.”
Large swaths of black range hoods, island accent colors and even full-on all-black cabinetry has been popping up a lot lately. Many of the most popular kitchen photosuploaded to Houzz in 2018 featured black or dark cabinets.
Pair black cabinets with white walls, backsplash and countertops for a dynamic, sophisticated and high-contrast look.
As homeowners see photos on sites like Houzz that show big doses of black cabinets or painted millwork, and as they work with professional designers and color consultants who tout black’s design strengths, they become more confident that they can pull off this elegant, luxurious look in their own home.
This kitchen combines almost every top trend from the recent Houzz kitchen report: an L-shaped layout, transitional style, white Shaker-style cabinets, white quartz countertops, gray walls, a white backsplash, wood floors and stainless steel appliances.
14. Destination bathtubs. There’s been a lot of debate over the years over whether you should keep a bathtub when remodeling your bathroom. But it’s clear that those who enjoy taking baths really enjoy taking baths. Couple that with people spending more to increase the size of their bathrooms and create a spa-like environment and you’ve got some homeowners who aren’t just keeping the tub, they’re celebrating it.
The ever-popular freestanding tub is now more like a free-range tub, out in its own pasture, creating a destination all its own, with a great view and other accessories to turn bathing into a significant event.
If you’ve got the room, it’s worth considering putting a freestanding tub off on its own. Most people don’t use their bathtub every day, so keeping it out of the more frequent daily path from shower to vanity makes sense.
Electric fireplace inserts are relatively low-cost and easy to install, so they can be a worthwhile investment for all the pampering they afford.
Relocating the shower controls to an opposite wall during a remodel solves that problem. You can see in this shower by designer Bronwyn Poole how the controls are on the wall opposite where you enter, far from the shower spray to the left.
Talk to your designer and builder about the additional cost that might come from adding the extra plumbing to get this feature.
In this bathroom by designers Alexandria Hubbard and MJ Englert of Case Design/Remodeling, concrete tiles with various Moroccan-inspired patterns read as one pattern, and correspond with a shower niche.
The station features an inset white oak drainable drying platform, a linen closet made of custom maple in a driftwood stain, a built-in bench and a skylight.
If you’ve got the room, you can create a completely open shower area like the one in this Tiburon, California, bathroom by Schneider Design Associates. A small curb and partial wall offset a large marble-tiled wet area with enough room for multiple wall-mounted shower heads, a rain shower head and a freestanding tub.
22. Spanish style. Implementing Spanish-inspired style and other Mediterranean influences in a living room will automatically check a lot of the boxes on many homeowners’ wish lists. Light, airy, relaxing, casual, comfortable — these are all elements that come naturally with the style.
Creamy white plaster walls, linen upholstery, a collected look, wrought iron light fixtures, large fireplaces and natural wood architectural elements like ceiling beams define this approachable look.
One way designers and homeowners are embracing this is by mixing various fabrics and patterns for a generous collection of textures and sheens.
This New York living room by Studio Aubergine Interior Design features a mix of leather and upholstery, a deep-pile rug and textured wallpaper behind the display shelves.
With other projects he’s nailed up 1-by-2-inch wood strips directly to the wall, and has played around with creating diagonal or herringbone patterns or other style treatments. “Having a custom wall or walls in any home easily gives it a higher-end feel,” he says.
Expect to see a lot more glass-and-steel dividers and doors between interior rooms. They create an open feel and allow light to pass between rooms while still providing some privacy and noise control. Plus, they just look cool, adding a stylish graphic element or contrasting color to otherwise white walls.
26. Stand-alone furniture benches. Built-in bench seating in a dining nook off a kitchen is highly prized for its comfiness and storage. But when you can’t afford the built-in approach, or it’s not practical, consider a stand-alone furniture bench, as designer Amy Storm of Designstorms did in this Chicago kitchen.
27. Compact laundry stations. Don’t think you need a full-on dedicated room for doing laundry. Many designers have created super-efficient laundry areas in spaces the size of a hallway closet.
Here, designer Janie Hungerfordtucked a laundry station into a closet-size nook of custom millwork in a light oak stain. It includes dog-print wallpaper (Best in Show by Osborne & Little), graphite-colored appliances, a hanging rod and an ironing board on the door.
28. White board and batten. The modern farmhouse look isn’t just sweeping through interiors. Exteriors are also seeing some of that throwback love. Five out of the 10 most popular exterior photos uploaded to Houzz in 2018 featured white board-and-batten siding.
A board-and-batten method of construction delivers a charming, homey look and adds texture and interest to what might otherwise be a boring flat facade. And white makes a home pop against any landscape.
29. Dark and moody. As mentioned earlier with kitchen cabinets, the dark side is expanding its force. “There’s been a sharp turn toward deeper, darker, moodier shades such as navy, black and forest greens,” Ott says. “It’s a reaction against all the whites and brights that have been popular for so long. Colors swing in and out of popularity, so it’s darker, moodier colors’ turn in the spotlight.”
31. Voice-assisted appliances. Indeed, the robots are here, and more are coming, whether we like it or not. Home tech is a tricky thing. Everyone seems to like the idea of the convenience promised by more technology in the home, but many people find a headache where there should be relief.
Still, voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home seem to be here to stay. Houzz research shows that home assistants in kitchens, for example, increased in 2018 compared with 2017. And with the devices showing up in more and more homes, more appliances that integrate with voice assistants will become more prevalent.
In 2018, for example, Amazon launched its own microwave, seen here. The appliance connects with an Amazon Echo and allows you to ask Alexa, the company’s voice assistant, to “reheat, defrost or microwave your desired cook time and power level.” Whether or not that’s a feature you think you need in your kitchen is up to you.
It’s a nifty feature that feels like something sci-fi has promised us for a long time. The timing, however, isn’t great. With all the security and misuse-of-data issues now dogging Facebook, some homeowners may think twice about giving the company a literal peek into their homes. Nevertheless, die-hard early adopters will make this something you can expect to see in homes in 2019.