Kitchen updates that stand the test of time

Design trends come and go, but your kitchen needs to look great for years to come. So how do you give it an update that’s not just timely, but timeless? By incorporating style with staying power. Happily, some of the best new designs we’re seeing in luxury kitchens today are not just super-stylish, but super-livable for the long run. Here’s how to bring the best trends home.

Colorful appliances

Move over, stainless; we’re seeing a lot more colorful appliance finishes. The latest design shows, including the 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 models in a subtle shade called Truffle Brown.
Get the look. If you’re thinking of going with a boldly hued appliance, keep the surrounding areas—cabinets and counters—quiet and neutral. Or, stick to small appliances to add colorful energy.

Full appliance Ratings and recommendations

Simplified designs

“The pot-filler faucet is dead,” declared architect Erica Broberg, during a New York Times hosted seminar Kitchens & Baths Transformed. Though the statement got some gasps and pushback from some of the pros in the crowd, we’re clearly seeing a simplification of design elements in the kitchen. This is evident in the exceedingly clean lines on many new appliances, including some that accept integrated cabinet panels, making them disappear completely.

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. Beverage centers are extremely popular, often reflecting the lifestyle of the homeowners, says Sharon Olsen, a certified kitchen designer in Portland, Ore. The set-up can be anything from a simple coffee station to the works—liquor cabinet, undercounter wine chiller, icemaker, bar sink, dishwasher, built-in coffeemaker or espresso machine, and cabinets or drawers for mugs, glasses, and other related supplies.
Get the look. If you have enough kitchen real-estate, consider including a built-in coffeemaker or an undercounter wine chiller in your appliance plans. Place them for easy accessibility; ideally, outside of the main cooking area, so guests won’t get underfoot.

Full coffeemaker Ratings and recommendations

Gray matters

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. These “new neutrals” look crisp and classic on their own and blend well with many other colors and materials, including stainless steel.
Get the look. 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 creating a chilly, industrial look—especially if you have pro-style appliances. 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 semi-gloss paint, which is the perfect finish for a kitchen because it’s easy to clean.

Full interior paint Ratings and recommendations

—Adapted from The Best for Your Kitchen + Home

More from Consumer Reports:
Best refrigerators of 2014
Best washing machines of 2014
5 secrets to a long lasting kitchen

Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this website. Copyright © 2006-2015 Consumers Union of U.S.