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Kitchen Features We Love

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By Lee Rennick | Photos by Erin Kosko and Submitted

Today’s adult spends half as much time cooking as their parents did a generation ago, but the kitchen still remains the hub of most every home. It has become the place where homework is done, school projects are spread out, friends are entertained, a part or full-time office is found, reading can be done, pets are fed and hobbies can be indulged in.

Modern Kitchen Usage

Because the kitchen is the heart of the home, homeowners want it to be beautiful, relaxing and easy to use. Where kitchens were merely functional in the past, now they need to be functional and quick to clean. In our busy world, homeowners want to be able to get to everything they will use in the space quickly and efficiently and local builders are listening.

As both technology and social norms change, the kitchen will continue to morph to keep up. No longer are women bound to the stove morning, noon and night. As a matter of fact, the average woman spends 61 minutes a day making meals in the modern kitchen, and today’s man spends 22 minutes, according to a study done by the Independent in the United Kingdom.

With new technology and refinement of design, builders, interior designers and homeowners keep updating the “must have” features. Finishes, colors, cabinetry, appliances and even storage favorites change annually. Some of these changes are just trends and fade, but those that make the kitchen more beautiful, practical and serviceable tend to stick around. 

Top Must Have Kitchen Design Elements

In 2022, there are a number of elements that are “must haves” in the best kitchens. Some have been around for a number of years, others are just catching on or are catching on again due to technological changes in the product. Here are the current top kitchen design features according to,, and

Popular Design Styles

Modern farmhouse has been dominating kitchen styling for a number of years, and that trend continues. Still minimalist in concept, farmhouse kitchens focus on natural materials, multiple textures with contrast, wood beams, statement lighting over the island and/or kitchen table and a blend of vintage and new furniture pieces. 

Industrial elements have been creeping into kitchen design in the form of stainless steel appliances, exposed brick walls, dark steel and wood furniture, brushed nickel or black metal accents, caged lighting, distressed leather, dome lamps, Edison bulbs and vintage pieces from old factories. 

Another style that is found in contemporary kitchens is Scandinavian design. It can predominately be seen in the use of flat panel kitchen cupboard doors, which are popular due to IKEA. Other elements of this style include lots of wood, clean clutter-free lines, minimal accents, lots of natural light and fresh greenery. 

No matter the style, current home owners want their kitchens to have upgraded detailing, unique features, a casual look and feel, a sense of drama and the ability to be used for multiple functions. 

As the open concept kitchen becomes less desired due to COVID-19, contractors and interior designers are finding ways to keep an open feel, while creating zones for the many different uses of the space, according to  

Top Color Choices

Forty-one percent of people prefer white kitchens, followed by medium-tone wood according to the most recent survey. Gray is now third as a choice for kitchen coloring. And, while monochromatic kitchens are very popular, the newest trend that has been catching on quickly is adding a dash of color, be it contrasting cabinets, a colorful backsplash, or even colored appliances. 

While colored appliances are a slow-growing trend, people are getting tired of a lack of color in their kitchens after spend the majority of the last two years stuck in their home and are looking for new ways to add that color into their kitchens. 

The most popular accent colors for the kitchen are shades of blue and shades of green. Some home owners are going for the pale shades, while others are going for dark and moody. On the light side of blue, there is Aleutian, which is HGTV Home by Sherwin-William’s Color of the Year. For green, a good light pick is PPG’s Color of the Year, Olive Sprig. Darker shades include Mountain River by Valspar and Benjamin Moore’s Palmer Green, which is a dark olive.

Interior designers are also using mixed metals to add contrast to a kitchen. The faucets, lighting and drawer pulls may all be a different metal, or incorporate a blend of metals.  

Islands and Countertops are Changing

No longer are islands just a space to do food prep work and serve the kids a quick breakfast, they are becoming larger and a part of the function of the kitchen. According to an article on, 36% of homeowners upgraded or added an island to their kitchen last year that is six or seven feet long; with a rectangular shape by far the most common.

In those islands homeowners are adding storage, the dishwasher, a prep sink, a trash compactor, a range top, and/or a drink cooler for bottled water and soft drinks, along with casual seating.  
More and more, the look of the island contrasts with the rest of the kitchen cabinets, and even the countertop may be a different color or material. While most of the cabinetry may be white, gray or wood, the island cabinetry may be painted blue or green. Or it may be wood, when the main cabinets are painted white or gray.  

Another way to contrast the island is with the countertop. More homeowners than ever are splurging for high end countertops. While engineered quartz is still number one, white or marble-look quartz countertops are overtaking dark-gray and black countertops. And Interior designers are now often using alternate materials for the island countertop, like butcher block, poured concrete or Quartzite, which is a natural type of quartz. 

Speaking of island countertops, homeowners want them to be zero maintenance statement pieces. Some ways of doing his include “waterfalling” the countertop to the floor or using organic shapes, like rounded edges. 

Storage and Organization Are a Must

Cabinets and pantries are getting makeovers. Ceiling high upper cabinets are becoming the norm, offering additional storage and insuring every inch of space in the home is functional. 
Butler’s pantries are being hidden behind cupboard doors that match cabinetry, and the pantries include integrated storage. 

Shaker style kitchen cabinet doors continue to be the number one choice by a mile, followed far behind by flat panel cabinets. 

Custom shelf and drawer organization, appliance garages and small appliance drawers are now being built into kitchens to get clutter off the counter, create a cleaner line and provide easier access. 

Open display shelves turn dish  and glass storage into art, especially when the plates are in playful colors like Fiestaware or interesting textures like handmade pottery. 

Kitchen Technology is Growing

According to, “thirty-five percent of renovating homeowners report that at least one of their upgraded appliances includes high-tech features, up by six percentage points from the previous year. The most popular features are wireless smartphone and tablet controls (26%), up by 8 percentage points from the previous year.” 

Other technology integrated into kitchen design includes built in charging stations, smart lighting controls and touchless faucets. The number one reason for adding technology is efficiency and tighter control of electricity and water usage. 


Interesting backsplashes are what are drawing new homeowners, and they are one of the top renovations to kitchens by current home owners. Top choices for backsplashes include an interesting layout of tiles, tiles with bold colors or patterns and slab backsplashes. While most homeowners are going with interesting ceramic or porcelain tile backsplashes, marble or other slab backsplashes are increasing. 

Traditionally, backsplashes go to the bottom of the upper cabinets and range hood, but now homeowners, builders and designers are often taking them to the ceiling. 


Kitchen lighting today requires multiple sources, like task lighting under upper shelving, ambient lighting from canister lights overhead and accent lighting from statement light fixtures. Farmhouse lantern style lighting and industrial caged lighting with Edison bulbs make popular statement lights. 


Hardwood is still number one for kitchen floors, but luxury vinyl is gaining traction. Ceramic and porcelain tile now come in third. 

New technologies have made luxury vinyl tile beautiful, water-resistantx and affordable. It can look like real wood or ceramic tile and be softer underfoot. According to, “Vinyl or resilient flooring continues its ascent, nearly doubling in popularity since 2019….”

The best kitchen features of 2022 may incorporate all or some of these elements, with the most important thing being that the kitchen serves the owners of the home, their family and friends according to the way they live. 

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