This week, Thermador and Traditional Home magazine co-hosted 11 incredibly talented designers at the Thermador Experience & Design Center in Irvine, Calif., to engage in open discussion about design that makes for a great kitchen.

A highlight of the day was a roundtable discussion with the designers, as well as Beth McDonough, publisher of Traditional Home magazine, and Amy Elbert, senior architectural editor for Traditional Home, that provided insight into the latest kitchen trends and the future of kitchen design heading into 2016. As no surprise, personalization was a continuing trend – with designers focusing on ways to create elegant, timeless kitchens while honing in on appliances and details that enable true personalization.

Evolving Use of the Kitchen

The kitchen is the true heart of the home because it acts as a control center and it is where family gathers to share memorable moments. Designers are seeing this space becoming a more casual setting rather than for formal dining and entertaining. Guests are becoming more involved in cooking and as multiple cooks gather in the kitchen the traditional kitchen triangle is slowly being redefined. For example, culinary enthusiasts are requesting separate breakfast stations, beverage centers and are either expanding the kitchen triangle or creating multiple work triangles based on their personal cooking preferences and entertaining style.


Hottest Colors for Today’s Kitchens

White remains a prevalent focus of color palates when designing the primary kitchen, alongside other light neutrals in beige and grey tones for a more timeless look. Splashes of color, such as fresh floral arrangements or small countertop appliances, add a flavor of the cook’s personality. For those culinary enthusiasts who want something different, the peripheral dark kitchens have emerged with black, blue and grey spaces that are bold, eye-catching standouts.

RMBB Beach Court Kitchen


Integrated Refrigeration

The designers noted that they are increasingly selecting integrated refrigeration columns with custom panels because they are essential to achieving the highly personalized homes desired by ultimate entertainers. Frequently, built-in refrigerators , freezer refrigerators and wine refrigerators are not only seen within the kitchen but they are also included when designing spaces outside the kitchen, such as master bedroom suites, guest quarters, home offices, dining and entertainment rooms.

Personalization with integrated refrigeration plays a big role in kitchen design because there are so many differences in how a home cooks select and preserve ingredients, such as the cook who hosts large gatherings and requires multiple refrigeration columns to store large quantities of ingredients at a time, to the entertainer who selects fresh produce from the market several times a week for nightly culinary creativity and requires a smaller amount of preservation space. Trade professionals enjoy the flexibility provided by the Thermador Freedom® Collection culinary preservation line – they offer a variety of widths that can blend seamlessly into any room with custom panels and fully flush installation.

Thermador Freedom Collection

In addition to integrated culinary preservation centers, dishwashers are almost always integrated with custom panels while standout appliances like stainless steel professional ranges are intended become the focal point of the kitchen.

Small Spaces and Secondary Locations

Designers are becoming more daring when designing small kitchens, such as those within guest suites, by experimenting with color, tile, mixing metals and highlighting the range as the focal point of the space.

An example of this trend can be seen in the 2015 High Point show house in North Carolina, within the carriage house kitchenette that was designed by Holly Phillips.


For smaller spaces, industry professionals enjoy the option of the new Thermador 30” Five-Burner Pro Harmony® Range, because it allows them to bring professional-style appliances to smaller kitchens as well as kitchens that may have strict ventilation requirements. Design and culinary enthusiasts will place appliances from the same brand as the main kitchen in guest houses or cabanas so guests can enjoy the same cooking experiences.

Designers are also seeing an increase in butler’s kitchens where real cooks can put away and store their culinary tools and ingredients. Media rooms, specialty bars, outdoor kitchens and many other rooms are also continuing to emerge and gain prominence in the homes of culinary enthusiasts.

Ventilation Trends

As personalization and integration take hold of the kitchen, designers are also seeing that culinary enthusiasts are opting for customizing the vent hood as well. As real cooks continue to look for powerful and large ranges that standout as the focal point in the kitchen, powerful ventilation is required to match – thus the vent hood is becoming a very important part of the overall design aesthetic.


Continue to visit our blog for more design insights, and for more inspiration on outstanding kitchen design check out the digital Traditional Home Great Kitchens edition and also the Thermador Kitchen LookBook.