Kitchen designers Charlene Taljaard and Juanita Hubinger of Inside Living’s design studio, offer their insights on kitchen trends to look out for in 2020 and beyond.

Each year a delegation of kitchen design experts from Inside Living travels to Germany to attend the various Hausmesse, a month-long extravaganza hosted by the leading German kitchen, wardrobe and furniture brands, for a sneak peek at the latest design trends for the year ahead. After their visit, we sat down with them to chat about their predictions.


While neutral hues are still a staple in kitchens and interior design in general – grey and white remain the hot favourites – a general trend towards adding warmth and comfort is evident in the increasing use of unexpected colours and natural matte textures. Classic kitchen design will look to soft creams rather than stark white, and forest-floor hues including deep reds, rust, sand and mushroom shades for inspiration. This focus on the natural world extends to counters too, and there is a shift towards the use of natural stone – think marble, slate and granite – as opposed to engineered stone.  I wouldn’t say “as opposed to” most engineered stone is bringing in the mentioned textures. (Engineered stone is a more reliable counter material so we don’t want to discourage readers from choosing it)

The increasing popularity of coloured cabinetry that creates a dramatic focal point against a neutral background is another trend that will continue well into the new year. Think dark moody hues in deep shades of midnight blue, anthracite and even moss green.


Touch and feel play an important part in the modern kitchen, say Juanita and Charlene, but while open shelving may seem like a fabulous idea, if your kitchen is not showroom-organised you could end up with a very messy looking space.

A wonderful way to open up kitchen space, a naked kitchen is only suited to those who have the time, temperament and creative bent to keep the visual appeal going. If you have the required personality an open kitchen will give you a great opportunity to experiment with on-trend textures such as concrete, stainless steel and polished stone, all of which create a dramatic backdrop to warm wood shelves and countertops.


Functional task lighting has and always will be a must in the kitchen as it clearly illuminates the practical preparation and cooking spaces where sharp knives, hot ovens and electrical appliances are used daily. However, that’s not to say there isn’t room for lighting that creates mood – such as a glamorous pendant shining down on a central kitchen counter and transforming the kitchen from a task-driven area to a multi-functional space as suited to relaxing as it is to cooking. Other easy-to-include lighting trends extend to the addition of ambient lighting inside glass-fronted cabinets and on open shelves.


Beautiful new cupboard finishes in steel, concrete, stone, veneer, solid wood and colour are all trends to watch, as are touch-to-open and other handle-free cupboard doors. The idea is to create a look that is seamless and not jarring to adjacent spaces in the case of open-plan kitchens that often double up as entertainment and relaxation spaces. In short, less is more.

“Specialised kitchen cupboards designed to house specific items and appliances boast internal drawers and bespoke racks, hooks, shelves, pull-outs and swing-outs creating innovative storage solutions for items you want to keep out of sight,” says Charlene. “It’s the ultimate in decluttering.”


Please note that our next issue (#276 March / April) will contain the bi-annual Kitchens & Bathrooms FOCUS Feature

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