Buying & Selling Homes

Kitchen Trends to Bank On

Baked-in obsolescence is the last thing you want in your kitchen remodel. Classic layouts, finishes, and styles are much more likely to appeal to tomorrow's buyers, even if that tomorrow is a decade away. Based on ongoing research by the National Kitchen and Bath Association, here's what to include and what to avoid if you're undertaking a kitchen renovation:

Something Old and Something New
'Transitional' styles have eclipsed 'traditional' for the first time. The top five styles are:

• Transitional
• Traditional
• Contemporary
• Shaker
• Arts & Crafts

Tomorrow's trend: Unless your project is a period-perfect restoration, consider a light touch with the vintage details. Transitional styles blend classic materials with streamlined style-for instance, dark wood cabinets with minimal molding. If you want to live with a vintage vibe, choose period-appropriate hardware that can be easily updated.

Cherry Not on Top
Natural wood continues to reign. But cherry, which is usually tied with maple as the most in-demand natural wood, has seen a steady decline in popularity. Oak appears to be making somewhat of a comeback. Also rising in popularity, though still relatively rare, are walnut, birch, and bamboo.

Designers specify dark natural wood finishes twice as often as they specify light finishes. White rules as the number one painted finish; distressed finishes cycle 'in' and 'out', eroding their long-term appeal.

Tomorrow's trend: Dark natural wood or a pure-white finish are likely to be desirable kitchen design features in the years to come.

Splashing It On
Pull-out faucets are the new norm, specified by 91% of designers. Fortunately, these faucets-which feature a spray head that retracts back into the faucet-are available in a wide variety of styles, including some that are consistent with vintage looks.

Tomorrow's trend: Buyers are unlikely to sacrifice faucet functionality for form, so put in a faucet that looks old but acts new.

Counter Intuitive
Solid surface counters are on the upswing, though granite and marble are still by far the most popular.

Glass tile is upstaging ceramic tile as a backsplash, though natural stone is consistently popular, most likely as a continuation of counters in the same stone. Take a cue from the glass trend and choose a backsplash material that's shiny.

Tomorrow's trend: It's hard to go wrong with natural stone. Just bear in mind that granite and marble must be continually re-sealed. Solid surface counters will probably hold up better for the long term.

For more on kitchen remodeling, consider:

Fresh Ideas for Kitchen Flooring
Counter Intelligence: Choosing the Right Countertop
Radio: Kitchen Faucet Options