Decorating your home is a deeply personal endeavor, but when it comes to insights on trends, we can always count on Southern interior designers to deliver inspired advice. With the new year on the horizon, we asked a few decorators from across the region which kitchen trends they feel are on the way out, and which ones are swinging back in. Here’s what they told us about kitchen design trends for 2023.
Outdated Kitchen Trends for 2023
Stark White Kitchens
Never fear: All-white kitchens aren’t a total no-no, so long as you bring in personality through other design choices in the space. “I think the white kitchen often gets a bad reputation, which is totally unfair,” says Greenville, South Carolina, designer Taylor Hill. “White kitchens can be awesome, especially when you focus on layering textures and interesting elements within the design.”
In the coming year, designers expect homeowners to shake things up, from hardware to materials. “I don't want to see a kitchen that has all pulls or all knobs,” says Washington, D.C., decorator Rashida Banks. “Vary it up and give the cabinets a mixture of hardware between pulls, knobs, and latches.”
Montgomery, Alabama, designer Ashley Gilbreath says they’re embracing a combination of different metals for fixtures and hardware, while Lexington, Kentucky’s Isabel Ladd is incorporating a blend of warm woods on the floor and cabinets for a “cozy and inviting” feel.
Mosaic Tile Backsplashes
“I don't prefer mosaic tile as kitchen backsplash,” says Hill. “It typically reads too busy and more like a shower floor, where it's supposed to be located!
Too Much Lighting
There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, says Gilbreath. “A pet peeve of mine is three pendants over an island,” she admits. “Two or more is too many in my book!”
“In the last ten years, so many people started to associate great kitchens with giant islands, which is not always the formula for success,” advises Hill. “It's important to assess whether an island works in the first place. If it works, then study the scale closely to ensure the space will circulate well: Functionality is key.”
Gilbreath agrees, noting that “ridiculously huge islands” are something she’d like to see disappear.
Kitchen Trends Designers Love for 2023
Color, Color, Color
Go ahead and pick up that paint brush—especially if you have a predominantly white kitchen. “While I don't necessarily think you can go wrong if you go the all-white route, there are so many features you can add to warm up a kitchen and give it its own personality. Painted cabinets are an easy and impactful example,” says Raleigh, North Carolina’s Maggie Dillon.
Banks says rich hues, particularly, are on their way back. “The mushroom-tone cabinetry is definitely still a homeowner favorite,” she says. “But I'm seeing a lot of jeweled-color cabinets, like a deep ruby red or fuschia, making a comeback in the new year.”
Consider a new way to add prep space and seating. “I see many designers moving away from built-in islands [and instead using] a more vintage style table that can swing as extra prep space, but also [serves as] an eat-in kitchen with chairs all around,” notes Banks. Birmingham, Alabama, decorators Anna Still and Marguerite Johnson say they too are seeing a shift from islands to tables, at both counter and table heights.
“I think people are realizing that there's a certain amount of charm that comes with using and abusing your kitchen,” says Dilllon. “If you have marble or soapstone countertops, don't be afraid of the scratches or dings that might accompany late nights with guests or prepping for a big family meal.”
Hill agrees: “Natural materials are on the rise, and people have finally learned that patina on countertop surfaces and metals add a depth that nothing else can.”
They also lend the space an easy liveability, notes Lexington, Kentucky, designer Isabel Ladd. “Exposed brick, soapstone countertops, rattan counter stools, and wood pendants are all earthy elements that keep the kitchen from feeling too precious.”
Working pantries for easier prep and clean up are something Still and Johnson are anticipating more of in 2023. Utilitarian spaces like those are great for leaning into throwback charm too. “I love an old-school washboard sink, which can be such a fun addition to a back kitchen,” says Gilbreath.