Credit: August de Richelieu / Pexels

As we enter the holiday season and prepare to don our literal or figurative party hats, I can’t help but think about the center of it all: the kitchen. Kitchens represent the heart of the home, and one of the greatest changes in home interiors that we’ve seen in the past 50 years involves the kitchen. 

Kitchens have gone from small, enclosed spaces to expansive, large, open-concept areas that are the focal point of entertaining. Most home renovation projects today involve knocking down walls between the kitchen and living room to create a great room, while large kitchen islands with spaces for family and friends to gather remain one of the most dominant features in new construction.

Credit: Courtesy Sherwin-Williams

At the same time, the materials used in kitchen design continue to evolve. Over the past few decades, kitchen materials have cycled from heavy, dark woods and granite countertops to the all-white kitchen still popular today. In the past few years, we’ve seen a rise in “Organic Modern,” a modern-leaning design balanced by organic elements.

Organic Modern design uses earthy tones and rustic elements in a clean, sleek way. Colors and textures of this style are nature-based and tend to blend into a space rather than act as a bold statement. Light, warm wood tones play a large part in this trend with designs favoring white oak or other light to mid-tones in flat-panel cabinetry, creating an approachable yet elevated look. Concrete countertops or floors have also become increasing popular for enthusiasts of the Organic Modern aesthetic and large picture windows helps to bring the outdoors inside.

As a fan of streamlined design, this is my favorite trend in kitchen design to date — and I’m pretty sure we’ll be sitting around the Thanksgiving table for a few years to come with this style still at the head of the table. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter what your kitchen looks like or where you gather this holiday season — may it simply be filled with love, family, and friends! Happy Thanksgiving!

Christine S. Cowles is owner of Styled & Staged Santa Barbara, an interior design company specializing in short-term rental properties. She is a certified Short-Term Rental Stylist™, member of Santa Barbara Association of Realtors and Real Estate Staging Association, and a proud WEV graduate. She can be reached at

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