Finishes: Cabinets, countertops, backsplashes and plumbing fixtures mixed in new and unexpected ways.

Appliances: Popular options: Commercial type ranges; built in refrigerators; warming drawers; microwave drawers and convection microwave ovens. Steam ovens and speed cook ovens are gaining popularity. Induction cooktops & ranges are also growing in popularity due to their energy efficiency & ease of cleaning. Energy efficiency is becoming increasingly important. Other appliance trends: under counter refrigerator & dishwasher drawers; multi-function appliances; electronic controls with LED lights; fingerprint resistant stainless steel; smart technology (see below).

Cabinets: Wood cabinets remain popular, with dark finishes as one newer option, although white is still popular. Soft-close doors and drawers are becoming standard.

Cabinet Storage: Trash/recycling pull-outs, spice pull-outs & roll-out & pull-out shelves are increasingly popular.

Countertops: Natural stone is still the #1 countertop material. Most in demand is granite, followed by limestone. Mixed materials are being done more often, with stone on some counters, wood, glass, stainless steel or concrete on others. There is a trend toward green/sustainable countertops such as Caesarstone and other quartz products. These products vary in properties and I recommend you review the latest comparisons and try spilling various substances you use on a sample before finalizing your choice.

Smart Technology: Internet and cable service to allow integration with computers; video; smart phones; tablets and appliances via WIFI. This integration is being used to pay bills; do homework; access email and recipes; play music; get service center alerts; start dinner and see who is at the front door.

Space Planning: Along with the work triangle, which is concerned with the proximity of the range, refrigerator and sink, workstations such as a baking center; recycling/composting center; electronics charging station and coffee bar are being employed. If a desk area is included, it increasingly will be planned for a laptop rather than a desktop computer. Fresh storage considerations are also being given to the primary zones in the kitchen: consumables; non-consumables; cleaning; prep and cooking.Universal Design: Counters of different heights, including a lower counter that could accommodate a stool, wheel chair, baking, a shorter adult and children. Wall cabinets that come down to the counter; appliance garages; front controls on ranges or cook tops; raised dishwasher 6” – 18” and a lower microwave or microwave drawer.