2012 kitchen design trends

2012 kitchen design trends

2012 kitchen design trends Author: Style At Home


2012 kitchen design trends

Looking for ways to update your kitchen for 2012? We polled some of Canada's leading style meisters to get the 411 on the coming year's hottest kitchen design trends. Unlike fashion, home decor trends have lasting power, so use these design tips to plan a kitchen makeover that'll improve form, function and style for years to come. Not renovating this year? No worries: just punch up your current space with a few new and trend-driven updates that won't break the bank. Here's what's on the 2012 kitchen horizon.

TREND: Updating with colour

DESIGNER INTERPRETATION: "I've just come back from a trip to the UK to see what's going on there, and in the kitchen, we're really seeing more colour. I think because of the economy, people are still updating their kitchens with accessories and paint, rather than with full renovations," says Debbie Travis (,  the Montreal-based design expert known for her books and TV series including Debbie Travis' From the Ground Up and Debbie Travis' Facelift. "Paint can really hold you for a few more years!"

And don't restrict paint to walls, says Debbie: "I've been seeing a lot of painted kitchen cabinets. It's something you can do on your own."

"I'm also seeing a lot of really bright colours, too: red, orange, a lot of juicy citrus shades like orange, lemon and lime, being used in small appliances. It's become mainstream now, to have a lime green mixer, for instance, whereas in the past, people were frightened to buy them in bold colours.  But the trend for years has been families gathering together in the kitchen, so the spaces have become more fun and friendly," explains Debbie.

TREND: The streamlined kitchen

DESIGNER INTERPRETATION: "Design trends are reflecting our more casual and collaborative method of living, preparing, cooking, eating and entertaining. Integrated appliances like drawer-style fridges, and fridges, ovens, microwaves and dishwashers fronted to match the cabinetry, all give a much cleaner look to the kitchen. We can now hide most of the ‘operations,' and our kitchens look a lot neater and simpler. Although this has been around for a while in Europe, and in higher-end kitchens, most manufacturers are now catching-on," says says Céline Pitre, principal at Vancouver-based Céline Pitre Interiors.

Consider an island or peninsula de rigueur to today's kitchen: "It's where the ‘real work' happens in the home's new gathering place," adds Céline.

Mixing and matching with stained-wood and painted-wood cabinetry

"It's no longer just a stained-wood kitchen or a painted kitchen. We are starting to use stained wood and paint in the same kitchen. But not just any regular stain and paint: We're using grey-wash stain on walnut cabinetry, mixed with white shelves," says Alicia Sass, partner and senior designer at Carey Mudford Interior Design, in Toronto.

"High-gloss paint is also going to be big. High gloss can be overwhelming if used too much, so a good way to bring it in, is through high-gloss paint on a 2" frame around the cabinetry, as well as on gables and any open shelving, with the remaining cabinetry being stained," says Alicia.

"Stainless-steel appliances, a mosaic backsplash, thick stone countertop, and great lighting over the island, will tie it all together and be a perfect blend of materials to ensure for an exciting kitchen," she says.TREND: Mixed materials

DESIGNER INTERPRETATION: "I love the austere palette of high-gloss white floors, stainless-steel appliances and countertops, with modern natural wood cabinetry. The combination is warm and welcoming rather than sleek and impersonal," says Lynda Felton, a Toronto-based stylist and co-founder of the online style magazine Covet Garden.

TREND: Tech stations

DESIGNER INTERPRETATION: Rather than a jumble of cords all over the house, busy homes increasingly feature one docking station, often in the home's Command Central: the kitchen. 

Another increasingly popular tech tweak? "An iPad shelf replacing the old cookbook shelf," says Céline.

TREND: Wood investment accessories

DESIGNER INTERPRETATION: "When it comes to accessories I'm loving wooden items – big or small," says Lynda. In an era of throwaway plastic accessories, the timeless warmth of wood is especially appreciated. It's worth splurging on quality pieces you'll cherish for years or even decades to come.

Some of Lynda's top wood choices include "wooden cake stands from Herriott Grace; midcentury Cherner chairs; the Tomiyama Koichi walnut coffee lamp; the hand-hammered Yukihira Pot, and Willough by distribution's wooden coffee mugs."

TREND: Eco-friendly countertop appliances

"My green-kitchen favourite is the SodaStream Penguin Seltzer Maker. Make your own sparkling water and store it in the reusable glass carafes that come with it. No more plastic or glass bottles to throw away!" Lynda says.TREND: Lighter and brighter kitchens

"Colour palettes are moving away from dark colours and paneling to medium and light to lighter finishes and veneers. To achieve this lighter, more contemporary look, details are being simplified, materials are getting pared-down, colours are lighter and brighter, and textures are softer," says Céline.

"Now that technology has enabled us to have composite counter tops in white (without the fear of stains), you'll see countertop materials extending to the backsplash. Dark, polished and sparkly granite – be gone!" says Céline.

Frosted-glass cabinets will glow from within, while china displays will be highlighted through clear glass, thanks to today's next-generation, longer-lasting, lower-profile, LED strip, puck, and recessed lighting, says Céline. Improved performance and energy efficiency mean more people will be lighting up.

TREND: Wall murals

DESIGNER INTERPRETATION: "Photo mural wallpapers are coming back," says Debbie. "I used them a lot on my TV shows, but they used to be rather expensive to order. They're great as a small focus wall between cabinets," or behind a breakfast nook, she suggests.

A giant fork or massive daisy would be lovely in a kitchen, suggests Debbie, who recommends checking online for contemporary styled photo murals featuring strong, graphic elements blown up onto easy-to-apply wallpaper panels.

TREND: Nostalgic prints

DESIGNER INTERPRETATION: "Nostalgic prints and patterns are appearing a lot in dinnerware and bake ware. You'll be seeing polka dots, cottage florals and gingham patterns," on the on-trend table or breakfast bar, says Debbie. They're not just for melamine picnic ware, anymore.

These prints look fantastic paired with the bright colours popping up in the 2012 kitchen, she adds.

Find everything you need for designs and renovations with our kitchen design guide.


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2012 kitchen design trends