Dream Kitchen for a Hawaii Home – 2019 Kitchen Trends

The kitchen is commonly referred to as the “heart of the house,” so it makes sense for a future home buyer or a current homeowner to spend time thinking about their dream kitchen. And what design choices make the most sense for an active lifestyle in Hawaii.

Even though my husband does most of the cooking, the rest of the family still spends a lot of time in the kitchen. So together, we have been researching to finalize our design kitchen, and I wanted to share our insights to assist others considering a kitchen project.

Shades of Blue and Green

Kitchen Trends 2019

According to Coastal Living, Elle Décor, Country Living, HGTV, Decoraid, and others, here are some of the top trends for 2019 and how they might work in our dream kitchen in Hawaii.

Two-tone Cabinets

And various shades of blue-gray or green-gray are the new beige. Green-gray works well in Hawaii, especially if you have lots of greenery visible through the windows to pull it all together.


Pops of Bright Color

All-white kitchens are definitely out. We have a green tagine from Morocco, a blue and green vase from Vancouver and a large blue bowl from Korea. Placing these around the kitchen will catch the eye. We also love having potted herbs in the kitchen.

Dark or Colorful Tile Floors

We have two large dogs and love the outdoors (i.e. sand/water everywhere) so porcelain tiles that look like dark Hawaiian hardwood is the right choice for us. They are nearly indestructible and waterproof. We prefer non-glazed tiles for the look and ability to hide scratches.

Square Tile Back Splash

Handmade Tile Backsplashes

Organic handmade square tile backsplashes (instead of traditional factory-made subway tiles) are very popular. This is where you can bring a bit of the islands into the kitchen. Tiles with very subtle crushed seashells or sand will provide texture and earthiness without looking touristy.

Matte Hardware

Matte hardware of copper, pewter, and gunmetal, or matte black for the less adventurous are all on trend. We don’t like things too shiny, so we like this trend.


Reclaimed wood, leather, antique lighting. We love the idea of leather bar stools but don’t want vintage Hawaii to come across as “tiki bar,” so we won’t be adding anything antique.

Wood or Industrial Material Countertops

Granite and marble are out. Since we are going with flooring that looks like wood, I’m not a big fan of wood counters as well. We will opt for simple white quartz which is a clean look and doesn’t need to be polished or oiled.

Covered Sinks

Covered Sinks

Covered “plug and play” kitchen sinks. Such a sink allows you to rinse, prep and even present food on top of your sink. Or simply to hide dirty dishes. Genius!

Concealed Range Hoods and Appliances

All the best refrigerators and dishwashers can be resurfaced with the same material as your cabinets. This provides a great integrated look. As for range hoods, make sure it truly exhausts all the way out of the home. Many in Hawaii don’t, and they actually exhaust the smoke and smell back into the kitchen!

Hidden Microwave and Coffee Maker

We love this trend. When we lived in a luxury condo in Kakaako we felt having these visible made the kitchen look too busy. And the Miele coffee maker was WAY too complicated to maintain so we ended up not using it. We like the idea of having large “barns” for small appliances such as the blender, toaster and rice cooker.

Walk-in Pantry

Open Shelving Made of Wood or Metal

This is definitely one trend we don’t agree with. We like a clean and organized kitchen. Sure, we have some beautiful kitchenware, but we don’t want everyone to see it stacked up on shelves. Nor do we want to collect dust. Not only do we want LOTS of cabinets, but we want a LARGE walk-in pantry. Hawaii is expensive, so we buy essentials in bulk. Plus, we want to have canned goods and bottled water in case of a hurricane!

Pendant Light Fixtures

Sounds good, but they must be high enough that people can stand around the kitchen island and see each other. We prefer a one level island large enough to accommodate at least four stools.

Copper Bar Sink

Designer Bar Sink

A designer “bar” sink made of copper, pewter or even granite is a big kitchen trend. Having a second sink is very important for entertaining. While the main sink is being used for preparing food, the other can be filled with ice for drinks. Some in Hawaii add a filtration device to one of their sinks but the tap water in Honolulu is excellent so this is not necessary.

Digital Technology

WiFi enabled appliances, smart homes, and wine preservation systems are just a few examples. As mentioned above with the Miele coffee maker, we don’t want anything TOO complicated. Smart yes, complicated no (no refrigerators telling me what to buy at Whole Foods)!

Bosch Induction Cook Top

Appliance Recommendations

Selecting your appliances is very personal and some people have very strong opinions about manufacturers, gas vs electric vs induction, sizes, and cost. But I did want to share a few insights.

  • Miele is an excellent company. We loved our Miele refrigerator, dishwasher, wine fridge, oven, microwave, steamer, and gas cooktop. It was only the coffee maker that required constant maintenance. We prefer our old Nespresso machine.
  • We like the look, cleanliness, and efficiency of induction cooktops. The Bosch 36” FlexInduction Benchmark Series for around $3,000 is getting great reviews.
  • Keep in mind, outdoor living is a big part of your Hawaii home, so you should have a great Weber gas grill (and perhaps a smoker as well) just outside your kitchen on the lanai or deck.
  • Lastly, my Korean mother and I eat a lot of rice. The Zojirushi rice cooker is the “best of the best.”

Luxury Kitchen

Ready to Get to Work?

If this blog has inspired you to move forward with your dream kitchen redesign, I recommend you visit Na Lama Kukui in Honolulu, on Nimitz next to City Mill. Inside this one location are showrooms from some great designers including 87Zero, Studio Becker, Details International, and Carolyn Pace. Or you can email me and I’d be happy to recommend some general contractors who I know do great kitchen remodels.

Of course, if you aren’t a homeowner yet and want to find the home (and kitchen) of your dreams, I’m here to help. Just give me a call!

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Serena Kam

May 30, 2019

LOVED your kitchen! I met Carolyn Pace’s son at Pro Source but have lost her contact info. We’re currently in permitting for an ADU and wanted to ask her if she’d consider helping us even though it’s only about 1,000 sq. ft. If you have her contact info, please email it to me. Enjoyed your article; very interesting and informative!

Serena Kam

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