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Kitchen And Bath Design Trends Reveal Shift Toward Sophisticated Neutrals (PHOTOS)

09/09/2013 11:30 am ET | Updated Nov 09, 2013

The trend for grey has risen dramatically in the last three years, bringing a sense of chic sophistication to kitchens and baths. In fact, warm grey finishes have become the third-most popular color in remodels behind white and beige cabinet finishes. Today, in cabinetry, we're seeing shades of grey paired with pale blues, earthy tones and neutral finishes to create sleek, comforting color schemes in the most frequently used rooms of the home.

In my travels around the world to research design trends, I continue to see a move toward simple and subtle designs in cabinetry as homeowners decide to stay put in their homes longer, rather than sell. With that, variations of greys, blues, browns and off-whites create a subtle beauty while providing the design flexibility that homeowners desire for the long term. Along with that flexibility, there's a shift toward rooms designed in more thoughtful and purposeful ways, pairing great style with smart function.

Here are eight ways to create a sophisticated kitchen or bath using today's most popular neutrals.

Simply gorgeous greys. Cabinet door styles are shifting to simpler, subtler lines and softer edging. A flat-panel door with a substantial wide rail offers both modern beauty and transitional utility. I like to complement this type of cabinet style with an on-trend neutral finish such as Cloud, a true gray that highlights its sleek lines without stealing too much attention from the rest of the room.

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Pictured: Diamond Cabinets Maple Breman door style in Cloud finish

Darker, richer woods. Today's cabinet preferences are moving toward medium- and dark-colored woodgrains. Maple and cherry are two popular wood choices. I love the look of these darker woods for bringing out the rich gray and brown tones being used in today's kitchens and baths.

Cool, comfortable blues. In recent years, blue tones have become popular with both designers and homeowners alike. I've always felt that cool blues are an especially soothing option for a bathroom, and they work well with today's neutral color palette. I use pale, spa blues and muted colors of the sky and water to complement bathroom cabinets that have a raw wood finish. This can create a very comfortable and relaxing atmosphere in a bath.

Transitional and modern. Some of the most popular looks right now are transitional and modern, and can be found in everyday cabinetry and room designs for every homeowner's budget. The idea is to create spaces that blend different styles together. To get this look, use deep rich gray or brown cabinetry in one room and a medium-to-lighter version of it in an adjacent room to create a smooth room-to-room transition.

Art Deco details. Art Deco design from the 1920s has remained very much in vogue and works especially well with today's shades of gray. To capture this timeless look, I love to accent cabinetry with bold horizontal and vertical lines of color, door styles and hardware. Deco-inspired details such as frosted glass cabinet door inserts, chrome fixtures and silver-toned hardware work well with this style of décor, adding refined glamour to a kitchen or bathroom.

Fresh colors of the Earth. Cabinet finishes in fresh, earthy hues can add a subtle radiance when used in the bath. Pairing dark graphite colors with glossy white accents to create a high-contrast design is one of my favorite ways to incorporate these natural color palettes into a room. For example, a deep, mineral-toned thermofoil finish, such as Ore, offers a deep-in-the-earth color that works beautifully with white mouldings, countertops and fixtures. A lighter shade of gray in the floor brings out the best of both tones.

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Pictured: Kitchen Craft Cabinetry Soho Thermofoil door style in Ore finish

A dash of splash. Go ahead. Adding a splash of color in unexpected places, such as the inside of cabinets, Canary yellow, salmon or a deep moody blue, can accent the shift to neutral tones we're seeing. If you're feeling daring: add a pop of orange. Try it in a bathroom vanity to balance a deep finish like Sandstone or Bark.

Take a cue from Mother Nature. She never makes mistakes when it comes to color. If you need help getting started with home design, Mother Nature has inspired thousands of timeless cabinetry colors, finishes and custom hues available from MasterBrand Cabinets, making it easy to bring chic sophistication to your home.

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