Kitchens in the last several years have moved from strictly utilitarian design to primary gathering space for family and friends, and that trend shows no sign of diminishing.

What is changing a bit are the details; kitchen trends for 2015 are all about improving functionality while maintaining an overall vibe of warmth and welcome.

1. Wood cabinets – Wood tones are making a comeback, but not necessarily the generic golden oak hues that have been a favorite among builders for the past decade or so. Decorator’s Wisdom noticed that stained wood in darker shades is gaining popularity and so is cherry in major metropolitan centers like Chicago and Philadelphia.

2. Warm metal finishes – Polished chrome and stainless steel still have their place, but homeowners are increasingly turning to the warmer side of metal like brushed brass and oil-rubbed bronze. Style at Home notes that brass adds sparkle and warmth and looks great with both white and grey.

3. White cabinets with white appliances – Despite the uptick in wood tones, white cabinets remain a top choice, and white appliances are being chosen as well. Homeowners who flocked to stainless steel are now buying white stoves and refrigerators to create a more seamless look and easier clean-up since fingerprints and smudges aren’t as obvious.

4. Multiple Storage Solutions – Walk-in pantries, roll-out cabinet shelves, and clever pull-outs to maximize storage is a necessity in the kitchen of 2015 because making life – and food prep – easier is the name of the game.

5. Smart appliances/docking stationsUsing a smartphone to control when the coffee starts to brew and having a built-in charging station for an iPad to better read recipes or follow a how-to video are becoming more prevalent in 21st century kitchens, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

The bottom line is that kitchens in 2015 have to be livable spaces where every member of the family – including pets – feels comfortable. But, kitchen remodels – no matter if the job is a complete gut or just an update – should also strike a balance between classic and trendy because the changes are expected to last for years.

What must-haves are on your list:

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