Five Hot Kitchen Trends

Consumer Reports: Five hot kitchen trends

Try putting outlets under a kitchen shelf to create a tucked-away charging station.

Try putting outlets under a kitchen shelf to create a tucked-away charging station.

Gray walls and counters, beverage centers, distressed wood and appliances in orange, turquoise and other cheery colors are big design trends in kitchens, according to ShopSmart, the shopping magazine from the publisher of Consumer Reports. Check out those hot looks:

>> Shades of gray. All-white kitchens have been the rage in recent years. They’re still popular, but more designers are shaking things up by using grays and beiges (or “greige,” a combo of the two), according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s 2014 Kitchen & Bath Style Report. Those neutrals look crisp and classic on their own and blend well with many other colors.

Get the look without remodeling. One of the easiest ways to give your kitchen a cool and modern vibe is to paint the walls, backsplash or cabinets a neutral shade of gray. But you have to do it right, or gray can end up giving your kitchen a chilly, industrial look. One way to warm things up is to pair gray with wood tones or energetic accent colors such as red, orange or yellow. And be sure to choose a semigloss paint, which is the perfect finish for a kitchen because it’s easy to clean.

>> Built-in charging stations. With more people downloading recipes, using FaceTime with friends and reading their morning news on a tablet, the kitchen has become a hub for electronic devices. That has led to the rise of cleverly concealed charging stations showing up in drawers, utility closets or cabinets with built-in electrical outlets and USB ports.

Get the look without remodeling. To keep a tangle of cords from messing up your countertops, ShopSmart suggests looking for a freestanding multidevice charging station that looks nice when left out or that can be tucked into a cabinet. Or consider an electrical outlet with a built-in USB port, about $20 at When installed on a backsplash, those outlets let you charge your phone or tablet while using the blender.

>> Distressed wood flooring. Traditional kitchen flooring — tile, laminate and vinyl — still has its fans, but hardwood floors are becoming more widely used in open-plan kitchens. They create a warm, seamless look between living areas. What’s new is that designers are using hand-scraped, grooved and other distressed floors because their dents and dings conceal wear and tear.

Get the look without remodeling. You don’t have to rip anything out if you install floating floors. They fit together without being glued or nailed down to a subfloor and can be laid over an old, dingy floor as long as it’s flat and level.

>> Beverage centers. For people who entertain a lot, creating a designated spot where guests can hang out and help themselves to coffee, cocktails and more is catching on. It can be anything from a simple coffee station to the works — liquor cabinet, wine chiller, ice maker, sink, built-in coffee maker or espresso machine and cabinets for mugs, glasses and supplies.

Get the look without remodeling. If you have space, add a pretty armoire to house wine racks, glasses and coffee fixings. Or park a freestanding coffee maker on a counter with wall-mounted coffee mugs above it.

>> Colorful appliances. Move over, stainless; ShopSmart says it is seeing a lot more colorful appliance finishes. The latest design shows, including the spring 2014 Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York, were ablaze with dishwashers, ranges, range hoods and refrigerators in vibrant hues from high-end manufacturers.

Bertazzoni, based in Italy, says that 10 percent of its appliances are sold in bold colors, including an eye-popping orange. Big Chill, based in Colorado, offers more than 200 bright and cheery colors on its retro-style appliances. And Miele recently unveiled a subtle shade called Truffle Brown. Sounds yummy!

Get the look without remodeling. Keep the expensive stuff — cabinets, counters, major appliances — in neutral shades and inject color with easy, affordable accents such as canisters, place mats and small appliances.

Editors, Consumer Reports

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