Kitchen Design Trends At IMM Cologne - LivingKitchen 2013

As I get settled in to closely study the nearly 1800 images that I took in a 3 day period at the fabulous IMM Cologne's fabulous LivingKitchen trade fair, I see that this first post needs to simply be an overview of the trends that I spotted. The images that I captured of the stunning displays at the show demand multiple posts, an expanded visual documentation of these trends-coming next. 

I will also be spreading the image love throughout my other social channels, so please follow me here: The Kitchen Designer blog - right here! Sign up for the feed top right or via email, under my picture on the sidebar:   Twitter  +  Google+  +  Facebook +  Pinterest (Pinterest will have both blog images as well as lots of new images from my hard drive). I'm barely beginning to add those images, so check back.

As I look through the images, there are two main categories of design that come to the forefront for me. The first category is those companies whose sole purpose is to be on trend and second, those companies whose purpose it is to do their own thing without much, or less, concern for trends. BOTH types of design are extremely creative, but that word, "trend" can manifest itself in a tricky way if the entire kitchen design one puts in one's home in 2013 is solely based on the hot, new, trends. Like chocolate, trends are fun to indulge in, but an all chocolate diet (while enjoyable to dream of) will cause problems later! Don't trend-binge design! 

Since I also attended this show when it was last held two years ago, it's an interesting exercise to compare both sets of images that I took to get a better sense of how design has evolved in Europe. Here and there, I will be mentioning what's evolved since 2010. And, a thank you to the U.S. and German teams at BLANCO for inviting their U.S. Design Council members, of which I am one, to experience this show with them, providing opportunities for our group to bond as colleagues and friends.

Here are the 2013 Kitchen Trends I Spotted - Brief notes are below with more details/features/thoughts to come in subsequent posts! "M" means it's a mainstream trend throughout the show. "P" means some dots were connected throughout the show but it is not mainstream. "P+" means more than peripheral, less than Mainstream.


Cabinetry Style:

  • White (lots), light woods, and greige colors - NEUTRALS as a foundation - M
  • Use of texture/natural elements integrated into the design, whether in countertops, backsplash, or cabinetry, often driftwood-y looks, real or faux - M
  • More warmth in the designs overall than I found two years ago-definitely, added comfort - M
  • Gloss or glass combined with texture/more glass in general - P+
  • Color blocking - the color accent of choice for this show was orange! P
  • Blue/dark gray, usually medium to dark GE's new slate finish is on that one! P+
  • Warm, modern design overall - M
  • Usually soft contrast in coordination of material colors in a kitchen display, but sometimes bolder contrasts - P+
  • Use of horizontal lines in overall design (not new, but an important European design element) - M

Cabinetry Features:

  • VERY long drawers, lots of countertop lifts for multi-use (countertops/wall cabinetry/more) and as always-useful, very cool drawer inserts - M
  • Seemingly even shorter toekicks - P+
  • More cabinet cubicles than open shelves-often in unexpected places, always with lighting - P
  • As in 2010, lots of fun and playful geometry in cabinet design - P
  • Integrated benches to rest, sit, or display decorative or useful items - P
  • Tight/seamless appliance integration - M
  • Integrated handles or long, modern, pulls - M
  • Same countertop as cabinet fronts - P
  • Channels between drawers and under countertop - P+
  • Concealed close-like tall and wide sections  - P+
  • Open concept philosophy, considering a kitchen's design connection to surrounding living areas-very clear to me - M
  • Intersecting design elements - P+
  • Open cubicles designed into tall cabinetry for interest - M


  • Organic in nature via textural ceramics, hand carved wood pieces, real greens and other handmade items - M
  • A fair amount of skins seen on floors and benches - P+
  • Rather than pattern, accessories communicate the style and theme - M
  • Large in size (perhaps to call attention to the display since it is a trade show) - M
  • Lots of rail systems - attention to universal design, seemingly even shorter toekicks - P+


  • All thicknesses - super thin, thick, or in between - M
  • Different materials next to one another in a flush installation - P+
  • Patterned countertops - plaid, modern art, new designs (new look, not a trend) - P
  • Glass - P
  • Wrapped countertops - waterfall on each exposed side (not new, but it's still current and is SO chic) - P+
  • Lifts to raise/lower or conceal a cooktop - much more prevalent than two years ago - P+
  • Cooktops integrated flush with the countertop - P+
  • Built in dining configurations - M
  • Intersecting design elements - P+
  • Stainless steel with integrated/seamless stainless sink - P
  • Virtually no granite or marble - just simple, understated, tightly patterned surfaces - M


  • Simple, plain, continuous, whether wood, engineered stone, or glass - M
  • Sometimes a 1/2-3/4 height, leaving wall space below the upper wall cabinets - peripheral trend - P
  • Very little tile - M
  • Real wood or faux - M


  • Hoods - Look like lamps (not new, but getting nicer) - P+
  • Hoods - double hoods over cooktop - P+
  • Hoods - Integrated/toned down/hidden hoods and blowers - P
  • New, warm, greige mid tone to dark glass appliances - P+
  • Stainless/color mix (reminds me of Whirlpool ICE - P
  • All appliance types very seamless/tightly integrated into cabinetry - M
  • More white appliances seen - P+
  • Ovens concealed - as seen last time too - P+
  • Ovens as an important design element - M
  • Flexible, open, vessel placement (anywhere) on induction cooktop - P+
  • INVISIBLE refrigeration - M
  • Sinks & Faucets - matte, modern, quietly elegant - M


  • Doubles - double hoods, double light fixtures, double cabinets, other doubles - P+
  • Not much vintage/retro/industrial representation - a touch here and there but mostly warm/earthy/modern design - M
  • Occasional attempt at what looks like American Shaker - P

Cool Factor! - Images to come, for now, just descriptions (these are sometimes one-offs)

  • Countertop lifts 
  • Glass patterned countertops
  • Framed multiple ovens
  • Nearly invisible induction burners integrated into countertop
  • Choice of touch screen or knob controls
  • Plaid cabinets
  • Colored glass cabinetry applied as modern art (wait for the image)
  • Awesome, seen more than once, patchwork of wall cabinetry
  • Glass countertop, cabinetry and glass supports in one display
  • Loved the function of a glass sink surround
  • Glass drawer inserts
  • I'm sure I'll select more! 


  • LED lights for shelving, around cabinetry, in open shelf cabinets - M
  • LEDS een as a feature in color in appliances (not a trend, just something new)
  • LARGE lighting fixtures, oven seen in doubles over an island - M
  • Simple, rounded, modern shapes in fixtures, often in matte finishes - M


  • Lots of light, textured, natural wood, very light, very Scandinavian - M
  • OR, gray or white solid flooring of some sort, with no pattern, perhaps vinyl - M


  • Benches - M
  • Benches with cushions or skins - M
  • Modern design - M
  • Natural, matte, wood surfaces or matte stone tabletops - M
  • Fresh, modern, designs - M
  • Surprisingly, chairs are often matching or closely coordinated - M

This post is so long that I'm only going to show one image that I took from the show - shortly, LOTS AND LOTS OF IMAGES to illustrate my points above!!!

Leicht Display-Image by Susan Serra


Posted on January 24, 2013 and filed under Kitchen Trends.