This fall, spice up your kitchen with a dash of quartz and a pinch of pendant lights  

The kitchen is the heart and hub of the main living area in today’s home, so when thinking about kitchen design, it’s imperative to balance trends such as pendant lights with timeless options like kitchen islands in order to create a space that will be both playful and practical for years to come.

There’s something comforting about the warmth of the kitchen as summer wanes and the weather starts to turn – something sacred about the smell of an aromatic soup simmering on the stove, of bread baking in the oven, of loved ones laughing around the table. 

As the weather turns cool, we’re serving up the hottest tips to spice up your kitchen. 

1. Top requested feature? The working pantry.

Drees Architecture Design Manager Paige Foss said the working pantry is the top requested space in a floor plan. The working pantry is a walk-in pantry feature that offers ample countertop space and cabinetry for additional out-of-sight storage. This space eliminates the need to store air fryers, crockpots and toasters – just leave them on the counter for easy use. 

The Bedford working pantry

“The working pantry is really becoming the workhorse of the kitchen, allowing the main kitchen to become the sparkly ornament,” Paige said. 

In terms of kitchen layout, more homeowners are selecting a floor plan in which the kitchen is located along exterior walls so that appliances can be placed along the perimeter. This allows the island to stand alone or allows for windows in the kitchen. The working pantry is increasingly being placed around the corner, sometimes hiding the door from view. 

The Sebastian working pantry

2. Full quartz backsplashes

One thing’s certain as far as backsplashes go – homebuyers want this feature to reflect their personal style and feel unique to them. Design Center Director Alexa Drees Walker said full quartz backdrops are becoming increasingly popular. 

The Bedford kitchen

“This is an appealing option that brings continuity to the kitchen and pulls that gorgeous countertop up to eye level. It’s also a practical reason because it completely eliminates grout which can get messy and be hard to clean,” Alexa said. 

While this sleek, rich look is highly sought after, unique shapes and textures are also in demand – a departure from traditional subway tile.

3. Warmer colors and cabinetry tones

We know, we know, the white kitchen is classic. But, homeowners are slowly moving away from this look and embracing warm tones. While white cabinets remain the most popular choice, stained wood cabinetry is returning and along with it beiges, and pops of green and terracotta tones.

The Brenden kitchen

“All white was all the rage, and while the look is classic, we’re seeing a shift away from monochromatic towards kitchens that feel a little more eclectic,” Paige said. “High-contrast paint applications, ebony paints and stains, and even warm and familiar wood grains are blending with our whites to create a more casual and lived-in vibe.” 

The Quentin kitchen

For countertops, white marble looks remain popular, but warmer tones with more color depth and even dark countertops are making a comeback. Selecting a moody or textured countertop is a unique way to bring personality into the kitchen.

4. Cabinetry is getting creative (and minimal)

Simply put, it’s not enough for cabinetry to be functional. It must be functional and beautiful. 

“Since the kitchen is becoming a visual focal point in the home, people don’t want to look at a standard six-panel door if they can help it,” Paige said. 

The Brookdale II kitchen

With this in mind, kitchen design is trending ever so slightly towards minimizing upper cabinetry or foregoing it altogether. Sometimes homeowners opt to confine floor-to-ceiling cabinets to one section of the kitchen, allowing for windows and full wall backsplashes to take center stage.

5. The bigger the better – pendant lights, islands

Brushed gold and matte black are still the most popular shades for light fixtures and cabinetry finishes. Oversized pendant lights continue to be a highly requested item for the kitchen. Alexa said designers are seeing new styles emerge that derive inspiration from the past, such as mid-century modern and new traditional.

When it comes to the kitchen island – the bigger the better. (In fact, the most requested ask from our homeowners is how they can get their kitchen island bigger!) When it comes to this must-have item, homebuyers are going big and bold. Waterfall islands, islands with quartz or granite that extend down the sides, bring a touch of glam to the kitchen.

The Marabelle kitchen

Start designing your dream kitchen today!

From Instagram inspiration and Pinterest pins to your final floor plan, Drees makes it easy to bring it all together. We know your home is more than a dwelling. It’s an expression of who you are and what you value. Designing a custom home is a very personal endeavor, and we want to be here to help you every step of the way. To learn more about building your dream home, visit,

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