Search IconA magnifying glass icon.

LAS VEGAS • FEB 27 – FEB 29, 2024


Contemporary Kitchens Surge in Popularity According to Leading Trade Group

Jan 28, 2015

Streamlined designs, eclectic touches and multiples of appliances lead 2015 kitchen trends from the National Kitchen & Bath Association

Contemporary is the watchword for North American kitchen design, according to the 2015 Kitchen & Bath Design Trends report from the National Kitchen & Bath (NKBA). Here are the top 10 overall kitchen design trends NKBA expects for 2015:

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
4. The rise of steam ovens
5. Furniture-look pieces
6. Outdoor kitchens
7. Fewer standard kitchen tables, replaced by counters or tall gathering tables
8. TVs and docking stations
9. Wine refrigerators
10. Focus on the user experience, from easy maintenance to accessible design. Considering the needs of all users in the space, including pets

More than half of the NKBA designers surveyed expected to do more contemporary kitchens in 2015, running a close second behind transitional styles in terms of popularity. The rise of contemporary and transitional kitchen designs have been swift. Both styles have increased in specifications by more than 15 percentage points in just four years.

Versatile shaker styling is a popular interpretation of transitional, and almost 40 percent of NKBA survey respondents said they will do more shaker-styled kitchens in 2015. Several designers also noted the rise in industrial chic, while others cited momentum for mid-century modern designs.

Traditional ended 2014 as the fourth most popular kitchen style, although a quarter of designers will do fewer traditional kitchens in 2015. While decreasing in popularity, it remains a dominant kitchen style with 63 percent of designers reporting that they did at least one traditional kitchen in 2014.

White is the most common color scheme for kitchens, followed by gray. About a third of respondents did black or blue kitchens in 2014, with about 20 percent expecting to do more kitchens in those colors. Almost 40 percent did kitchens in green tones in 2014.

Designers reported that kitchens with multiple color schemes are emerging. ““I am seeing lots of white painted kitchen perimeters with espresso stained islands and dark stained kitchen perimeters with light colored painted islands. Lots of painted white kitchens with light countertops and espresso islands and painted gray cabinets,” said Christine Shorr, AKBD, Morris Black Designs in Allentown, PA.

“We’re doing color blocked kitchens, using two different colors in the same kitchen,” noted Rosemary Saggese, kitchen and bath designer at Interior Indulgences in Saugus, Massachusetts.

“An eclectic mix of rustic and contemporary is today’s modern,” another survey respondent noted.

Clearly passé are country/rustic, Tuscan and Provincial looks with distressed finishes, as well as color schemes in reds, bronzes, and terra cottas.

Solutions to make life easier in the kitchen abound. Pullouts and rollouts for kitchen cabinets were specified by more than 90 percent of NKBA respondents in 2014. About 40 percent expect to see pullout and rollouts increase in popularity in 2015. Ease of use extended to accessibility, with more than half of NKBA designers specifying accessible or universal design features into kitchens during 2015.

Easy prep, maintenance and clean-up features are in demand. Multiple designers report that they install multiples of appliances—most notably two dishwashers—in the same kitchen. “It appears that a lot more of our clients are aiming to create what could be considered a gourmet kitchen,” said Jessica White of Kitchen Encounters in Annapolis, MD. “A lot of clients ask for the additional refrigerator/freezer and dishwasher drawers for extra storage and more function.”

About two-thirds of kitchens now have desks or home office areas, as well as flat-screen televisions and docking/charging stations. “Kitchens have been, and still are, the hub of the home and clients want everything in their kitchen, i.e., televisions, docking stations, convenience appliances, etc,” said Donna Marie Mushinskie, D M Designs, Yucaipa, CA.

The hub of the home is increasingly centered on counter areas vs. kitchen tables, according to multiple survey respondents. “Islands are replacing tables,” said Audrey Macdonald, Creative Interiors By Audrey in Mississauga, Ontario.

“We have experienced an increase in popularity for incorporating furniture-styled dry bars into kitchen designs,” said Tori Johnson, AKBD, of Geneva Cabinet Gallery, Geneva, IL.

Half of all NKBA designers specified an outdoor kitchen in 2014, up seven percentage points from 2013, a statistically significant increase.

NKBA members specialize in full kitchen projects, both remodels and new construction. More than half do kitchen projects in the $20,000 – $49,000 price range while another nearly 40 percent report that their average kitchen price is more than $50,000 for design, materials, and labor.

“This report is so valuable because NKBA members are on the cutting edge of kitchen and bathroom design,” said Maria Stapperfenne, CKD CBD, 2015 NKBA president. “It gives us the point-of-view from the specialists who are on the front lines creating beautiful and beautifully functional kitchens every day.”

The National Kitchen and Bath Association has tracked kitchen and bath design trends throughout its 52-year existence. A version of this NKBA Design Trends Survey has been in existence since the 1980s and this iteration has tracked trends since 2010. More than 400 designers participated in this study conducted online in late 2014.

More details, including product trends, are included in the full 2015 NKBA Kitchen & Bath Design Trends report, available free to NKBA members on

To find NKBA members near you for kitchen and bathroom projects, please visit

About The National Kitchen & Bath Association
The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) is the not-for-profit trade association that owns the KBIS®. With nearly 14,000 member companies representing more than 60,000 individuals, the NKBA has educated and led the kitchen and bath industry since its founding in 1963. The mission of the NKBA is to enhance member success and excellence, promote professionalism and ethical business practices, and provide leadership and direction for the kitchen and bath industry worldwide.

For more information, visit or call 1-800-THE-NKBA (843-6522).

#gallery-6 {
margin: auto;
#gallery-6 .gallery-item {
float: left;
margin-top: 10px;
text-align: center;
width: 33%;
#gallery-6 img {
border: 2px solid #cfcfcf;
#gallery-6 .gallery-caption {
margin-left: 0;
/* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

NKBA_Connors Kitchen