As a reflection of the ever-changing American lifestyle, kitchens have evolved over the past 100 years from a space that was once viewed as a utilitarian work-room in the back of the house, to become the centerpiece of the home. While trends come and go, history has made its mark on kitchen design.
Transitional style kitchens are now the most popular, as evident in research such as the 2016 Design Trends Survey conducted by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). Today’s designers and homeowners are incorporating elements of past, present and future to create designs that are timeless, yet personalized to their needs.
To create the timeless kitchen of your dreams, consider these staple design-elements from the most significant decades in kitchen evolution.
1920s and '30s: In the early part of the 20th century, the luxury marble look began to emerge in the American kitchen, usually appearing in smaller spaces like the pantry. With marble once again making a comeback in today’s designs, incorporating the look for a pantry or island will take any kitchen from drab to fab, without the investment of a full marble makeover. To get the same look of marble in a non-porous product, look to engineered materials like the Neolith Classtone collection, which is as durable as it is low maintenance.
1950s: Fast forward to the 1950s, which was the start of a new era — kitchens were getting fancier, with homeowners focusing more on design, rather than simple functionality. During this decade, everything from kitchen appliances to wallpaper was bursting with color. Take a cue from the 1950s color trend by starting small. If you are not ready to commit to a bold new range or refrigerator, elevate your kitchen color with a toaster oven or hand mixer in a trendy hue like zesty yellow-green, inspired by PANTONE’s 2017 color of the year — Greenery.
1960s: The 1960s forever changed the modern kitchen by introducing the kitchen triangle — a model used to determine efficient kitchen layout. If you are in the process of renovating your kitchen, make sure to ask your designer about the kitchen triangle to best maximize the space.
1970s: Contrary to the bold colors of the previous decades, the 1970s welcomed muted earth tones to the kitchen, particularly browns and avocado greens, for a calm, grounding space. Give a nod to the '70s — without the bellbottoms — by updating countertops with Neolith’s Pulpis from the Classtone collection, a tobacco brown tone with white and golden veins etched throughout the slab. You can even experiment with the look before renovating by checking out the visualizer tool on www.neolith.com.
1980s: Oak cabinets and polished brass were all the rage during the 1980s. Brass accents are making their way back into the heart of the home once again. To get the look with a hint of retro '80s glam, update worn nobs and faucets with understated brass.
1990s: Watch any home improvement show, and it is more than likely the prospective buyer will have a kitchen island on their “must-have” list. We have the '90s to thank for that, when kitchen islands grew in popularity, allowing the host to mingle with guests while preparing the meal. When planning for a renovation, find space for an island or a peninsula for extra seating, storage space or to create a focal point.
2000s: The 21st century ushered in stainless steel appliances and granite countertops as the epitome of the modern kitchen. While the look of stainless is not going away anytime soon, newer alternatives to granite countertops, like Neolith’s sintered compact surfacing, are gaining ground.
The goal for today’s kitchen is form and function, with sleek, orderly and multi-purpose living spaces. By borrowing select trends from previous decades that speak to your personality and needs, you can be rest assured you will have a timeless kitchen for years to come.