1. Embossed fronts. While we might think of modern style cabinets as having minimalist flat-front doors and drawers, many companies now are producing fun versions with embossed patterns, adding a sense of texture and personality while still maintaining a modern sensibility.
You can opt for simple linear grooves, like the previous example, or a fun geometric shape like this charming fish scale pattern.
Embossed cabinet doors look especially great in a dark, glossy finish, with reflected light catching the pattern and making it pop.
2. Jewel tones. Speaking of dark colors, after so many years of white kitchens being the dominant look, we’re definitely finding that more and more people are now choosing to use rich, deep hues, with jewel tones being particularly popular.
Classic jewel tones like amethyst, sapphire and emerald introduce an unmissable dose of color to shake up the all-white mold. They feel sophisticated and timelessly luxurious, making them a safer long-term choice than, say, bright orange or trendy pink.
3. Blue. For those who want a little color in the kitchen but not such a radiant tone as jewel purples, a soft, friendly blue is another timeless choice. But lately, we’ve had more clients looking for this hue than ever before.
4. Mesh inserts. Glass door cabinets and open shelves continue to be popular ways to make a kitchen seem more open and airy, but many homeowners prefer to keep their storage a bit more discrete behind closed doors.
Metal mesh inserts are a great middle ground, giving a slight peek at what’s inside the cabinet but without putting your stored goods on full display.
I’ve used mesh inserts instead of glass on many recent projects. It works beautifully in both traditional homes and contemporary designs with some transitional flair, bringing a slight sense of old-world charm.
Consider using mesh inserts on the “upper-upper” cabinets in a tall space on a full pantry wall …
… or on a single cabinet at a specific station like a mixing center or coffee bar.
5. Metallics. For those homeowners who love the crisp, industrial appeal of steel, why stop at the appliances? Consider bringing that “chef’s kitchen” vibe to your entire set of cabinets.
Stainless steel door and drawer fronts give a cool, ready-to-work look to your cabinets, for serious home chefs or just fans of industrial-style kitchens.
For those who find that steel looks a bit too cold, there are also many effects inspired by gold, brass or bronze. These can be created with foil finishes and other techniques that provide a metallic gleam for a Midas touch kitchen look.
You can opt for a more matte foil finish, like the previous example, or a highly reflective metallic version like this glam modern kitchen.
Either way, your cabinets will definitely stand out and bring a warm glow to your kitchen from sunrise to sunset.
Keep in mind, of course, that glossier finishes will show fingerprints more readily, so you’ll have to decide whether the look is worth the extra upkeep.
6. High gloss in dark tones. Metal isn’t the only finish that can bring a glossy sheen to a kitchen. Lacquered or lacquer-look cabinets are a powerful option, and many suppliers at every level now offer high-sheen cabinets. In a murky tone like a charcoal gray, the deep, mirror-like appearance becomes all the more noticeable.
7. Gray. Is gray the new white? It’s hard to say for sure, but for those who like a light and airy look but are tired of white, a sumptuous gray or gray-beige is the next best thing.
At first thought, you might expect gray to seem cold and off-putting. However, as you can see in these examples, a wide range of tones, from charcoal to clay to just-off-white, make an excellent complement to wood floors or shelves for a welcoming palette that feels anything but chilly.
8. Sliding doors. Barn-style doors on a sliding track have become a very popular choice for interior doors, both as a functional solution in tight spaces and as a style statement. Now they’re starting to pop up more and more in kitchen cabinets as a fun way to create a gallery-case look.
A sliding door on a set of uppers combines the appeal of open shelves with the tidiness of a classic door cabinet, and it works in farmhouse style kitchens and modern spaces alike. Plus, not having to swing a door open and shut will make your kitchen feel just a bit bigger, and it makes a world of difference when two cooks are in the kitchen.
9. Two-tone cabinets. Throughout this article you can find many examples of two-tone cabinets, which feature upper and lower cabinets in different colors. Here’s a twist that takes the idea to another level: using two-tone doors on individual cabinets. For example, this breezy kitchen uses a single row of wood drawer fronts on otherwise white cabinets to get just a little touch of natural interest and a fun personality.
This idea is a great one to consider for people who want to give cabinets a little update but not a complete overhaul. You can swap out a few drawers or doors and leave the remaining ones as is to get a unique mix.
Alternately, if you have wood cabinets and want to freshen up the look without completely removing the wood, consider having some of the door or drawer fronts painted while leaving some wood elements remaining, to get the best of both worlds.
10. Mixing modern and traditional styles. Speaking of not wanting to choose, many homeowners and renovators are deciding not to choose only modern or only traditional cabinets. Instead they’re using a mix of both to create spaces that are rich with inviting character while looking current and interesting.
This kitchen, for example, uses crisp white traditional drawer and door fronts on the lower cabinets and flat, glossy upper doors in a coordinating taupe-hued off-white for a disparate style that comes together beautifully.
11. Black. Finally, let’s end on bold black: the ultimate punctuation mark in interior design. While black can seem gothic and harsh, when used to dress a wall of kitchen cabinets, and balanced with a few elements of crisp white, stark black makes for a sophisticated statement.
While black is hardly new, we do find more and more clients being bold and asking to include some elements of black to bring a stately appeal to their kitchen, especially when used as part of a two-tone look.
Using black on the lower cabinets, or a pantry area, paired with black entry doors and even some modern black fixtures gives a room an effortless, fashionable look.
This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.