3 Fashion Trends Influencing Multi-Family Unit Cabinet Design: Color, Metal and Texture

3 Fashion Trends Influencing Multi-Family Unit Cabinet Design: Color, Metal and Texture

It should come as no surprise that fashion trends influences home décor and design. What may be surprising is the rapid pace of this trickle-down effect and the breadth of fashion styles that are now being interpreted in home interiors. Thanks to the popularity of social media networks such as Instagram and Pinterest, high-style fashion is accessible to larger audiences than ever before, and as a result the transition of these trends from runway to other interpretations, such as home interiors, is happening at a rapid speed.

As casework designers, an important part of our job is to keep pace with these trends. That way, as we guide clients through the design process, we can advise them on incorporating the latest styles to ensure their developments are “on trend” and provide a fresh, inviting aesthetic, while also delivering a look with staying power. Here are some of the most current trends influenced by fashion that we’ve been observing in terms of colors, metals and textures:


In the spring, we saw a great deal of black on the runway, especially from designers like Tom Ford and Dolce & Gabbana. In interiors, we are now seeing black in places we didn’t previously – such as kitchen cabinets and backsplashes and even in bathrooms. Black as an interior design color has often been considered daring. But, done right, it is beautiful and sophisticated. Designers like Ashley Stark and Kara Mann aren’t afraid to incorporate black throughout the home, and neither are we.

Today, we are seeing a rise in monochromatic kitchens in deep shades, with glimpses of metal or white as accents that soften the dark tones for a classy, elegant look. Further supporting our belief that this is more than “just” a trend is the popularity of matte black color options being introduced by appliance manufacturers. Keep in mind that the black appliances today are not the shiny, glossy ones we saw in the late 90s. These are a matte black, almost a pewter-toned stainless steel – truly gorgeous (and fingerprint-proof).


Silver and platinum have been the rage in fashion accessories for years, but recently we’ve seen a shift back to gold, with jewelry designers like Nalin Studios and Italian designer ILoveMyJaipur featuring light and airy gold pieces. These style influencers show us we can’t go wrong with brass when it is used in a contemporary way, and in fact brass-toned hardware is once again a chic choice in interiors.

When we recommend using brass hardware to clients, it’s not uncommon to see a developer recoil in a flashback to the 80s and the traditional or antique-style dark cabinets with shiny brass hardware that were once en vogue. However, when a brushed brass drawer pull is selected for use on a lighter cabinet, it’s a whole new look. Cortney Bishop Design offers a great example of bathroom design featuring brass accents that is anything but antique or traditional. This simple tweaking of design makes brass hardware modern and relevant – it’s what you mix it with that matters.

Keep in mind that while choosing on-trend hardware finish is important and definitely has an impact on the desirability of the property, it’s also easy and relatively inexpensive to update if you want to change it out down the road to match a more current trend.  And if you prefer a classic look, basic metal colors such as polished or brushed nickel, polished chrome and pewter are always the “little black dress” of hardware options.


Last, but certainly not least, we see texture trends in fashion influencing design for interiors. Current runway looks are showing a lot of straw and jute bags. In homes, we see this translated to accessories like straw baskets and woven chairs in the kitchen. We also see the raw, natural quality of straw and rattan reflected both in the color and finishes of today’s cabinetry.

For example, multifamily developers and home owners today are choosing finishes that allow the authentic grain and tone of wood to shine through, rather than staining it to be an unusual color. Likewise, it was previously popular in cabinetry for wood to be sanded until it was smooth to the touch, while thermally-fused laminates (TFL) for cabinet fronts were also designed to be flat and smooth. Now, it’s all about giving texture to wood and also replicating that texture in TFL. In fact, Riftsawn White Oak is currently a top wood choice for cabinetry because it can be wire-brushed – a technique used to create deep texture in the wood. TFL manufacturers are utilizing new techniques to replicate this natural look and feel, too. Both options provide a three-dimensional result.

Milan, Italy-based mymodern.interior, offers a beautiful example of how texture can be showcased in cabinetry, while beautyofinteriors shows how the textures and colors of straw and raffia come to life in cabinets.

Whether you’re considering a property renovation or a new-construction project, taking a page from fashion is a smart approach to ensuring the property is attractive to potential residents. How have you used one of these trends in your building? We’d love to see photos!

Jane Kelly
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