When it comes to the latest trends in kitchen design, homeowners are deciding that less really is more and are opting for a refined minimalism. Rather than downplay fine design, this trend actually highlights the beauty of good planning and puts the focus squarely where it should be – on how well a kitchen functions for its owners.

Factors driving this trend are the twin desires to simplify complicated lifestyles and the growing predominance of non-traditional families. As aging parents and/or young adults find themselves back in the family home, there’s an increased need to find a balance between private spaces and public areas that work for everyone.

This is especially true in the heart of the home – the kitchen. Simple designs that function for the way multiple chefs prefer to cook are at the center of this trend. One way kitchen designers are accomplishing this is by opting for single appliances that can do multiple things. Great examples of that are microwave combination ovens and warming drawers that double as slow cookers from Jenn-Air. Likewise, as time-crunched moms and dads struggle to find balance in their schedules, ultra-efficient appliances that work well and quickly – like convection ovens and induction cooktops – are replacing the traditional gas and electric standbys.

Also on the proverbial chopping block are those luxury items that simply don’t get used much. Pot fillers placed above cooktops are a prime example of a trend that was popular several years ago, but which for most people, simply aren’t used enough to justify the expense and precious real estate. However, homeowners definitely are not cutting corners on luxury items that do make sense for them.

Touchless faucets are a prime example of an item that sees constant use in a kitchen (think messy, germy hands) that consumers will spend extra to have. Technology is another area where consumers are willing to spend more – particularly on technology that simplifies life. Dacor’s Discovery Wall Oven actually has an Android table built in. You simply select the recipe you want, follow a few prompts and the oven takes care of the rest. It notifies you via text message when dinner is ready and automatically places itself on warming mode when your dish is done, so food stays warm until you take it out, but won’t burn if you get distracted. So while dinner doesn’t quite cook itself yet, today’s kitchens are edging a little closer to that ultimate dream.