PhotoThe kitchen: it’s where party guests congregate, families gather, and meals are lovingly prepared. With all that happens in a kitchen, it’s no wonder this room is known as "the heart of the home."

It’s with good reason, then, that the kitchen is often first on a home decorator’s list of renovation priorities. Homeowners are eager to transform their kitchens into spaces that match their style and appease their functionality requirements.

This year, homeowners have hopped on board with a few new kitchen trends. From clutter-free countertops to cabinets that do more than store dishware, 2016 has seen kitchens become spaces that seamlessly blend stunning style and smart design.  

Here are a few of the kitchen trends that homeowners have embraced in 2016.

Flexible palettes

Neutral kitchens can be a good choice for those who may occasionally suffer from design ennui. You’ll be able to shake up the look of your neutral kitchen at any point, simply by adding a few personalized touches.

"Keeping a kitchen neutral allows you to personalize it to reflect your style," IKEA spokesperson Mary Ann Barroso told Adding an unexpected light fixture to a traditional kitchen, for instance, can give the space a fresh look in no time.

Smart spaces

Kitchens are an ideal space for homeowners to incorporate technology that can make life easier. Hidden charging spaces, touch-activated faucets, and smart appliances are popping up in kitchens everywhere, helping homeowners get the most out of their kitchens.

Interior Designer, Gail Drury, says convenience is key in 2016 and beyond. “Expect kitchens full of state-of-the-art appliances, from steam ovens to built-in coffee machines to wine coolers,” she told Houzz.

Rollout cabinets

A clutter-free space can do wonders for the mind, and homeowners are embracing this idea by adding pullout and rollout kitchen cabinets. Rollout cabinets and drawers can help declutter a kitchen by keeping items off of countertops and workspaces.

Having a butcher block knife organizer built into a drawer or cabinet, for example, can eliminate the need to store knives out in the open. Pet owners may opt to keep dog bowls tucked away building a feeding station into a low, pullout drawer.

Smaller appliances

As multigenerational living becomes increasingly popular, many homeowners are looking to add small, secondary kitchens for their returning kids or aging relatives.

It's not always practical to bring bulky appliances into these micro-kitchens. Instead, homeowners are adding appliances such as two-burner cooktops, 18-inch dishwashers, and 60-inch refrigerators.

Clean lines

Beveled edges and intricate patterns aren’t as popular as they once were. Writing for ImproveNet, Jacob Hurwith notes that clean lines and subtle design gives kitchens a modern look that stands the test of time.  

Simpler cabinet door styles give kitchens a sleek look. They can also help “offset the tension between rustic, modern, and transitional kitchens,” Hurwith says.

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