Now that we are nearly halfway through 2021, it’s time to talk about what is hot in the world of kitchen design in 2021!
I must admit, I’m super excited because I love looking at trends – and really, who doesn’t love trends? Trends can be great for inspiration, they often showcase what is hot and new in design, and usually you either love them or you hate them, but they are fun nonetheless. However, I am NOT an advocate of chasing trends in your interior design projects, especially your kitchen. Trends obviously come and go, so use this information for inspiration and entertainment purposes only.
Let me start by saying that there is absolutely NO QUESTION that the events over the last year, which have resulted in many of us spending a lot more time in our own homes and eating at home more than ever, have absolutely influenced the world of kitchen design for 2021. In fact, many or most of the trends I’ll be talking about have a direct correlation to the worldwide pandemic.
Trend #1 – Warm Finishes and Nature Inspired Colors
Last year, we had a few different, but distinct, color trends going on simultaneously.
This year, only one of last year’s trends has emerged as this year’s clear color darling – and that is the trend of warm finishes and nature inspired colors, specifically green. All shades of green are so in right now – whether you like deep and earthy or bright and airy, there is definitely a shade of green for you!
Pairing beautifully with green, we are seeing the continued rise of natural wood finishes, specifically walnut, which is still very popular, but also lighter woods and reclaimed wood. Other warm colors, such as deep reds and rich browns, are also on trend right now.
So am I surprised that this color trend is dominating kitchen design right now? Not at all. Using nature inspired colors like green and natural wood finishes is an integral part of a design trend known as biophilic design, which has so many mental health benefits and healing qualities from reduced stress to increased energy, that it just makes sense that designers and clients alike are being drawn to these design elements right now.
Now with these trends in mind, let’s talk about the “all white kitchen”, which has been so popular in recent years. Much to the enthusiasm of interior designers everywhere, we are seeing a shift away from this look for new builds and renovations, although I don’t feel that a white kitchen looks dated, nor do I think it ever will.
Furthermore, if you are planning a kitchen renovation in the near future and particularly love the look of white cabinetry, you should absolutely feel confident in your choice and consider two other current trends that will help to create some contrast and make it feel current if that is something you are concerned about – namely dark countertops, which are a great way to add some drama and moodiness to your kitchen. If that doesn’t appeal to you, incorporating bright pops of color in places like your backsplash or some artwork is also still trending.
Trend #2 – Contrasting Materials
We’ve already talked about natural wood finishes, but in addition, mixing materials, especially contrasting materials such as wood, marble, and metallics is incredibly popular right now.
Contrast is an important design element and mixing materials like this adds beauty and energy to a design.
Trend #3 – New Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles
Last year we saw the move to using more ceramic and porcelain tiles in warmer shades, rather than wood or stone, because these materials are easier to keep clean, and that trend has only strengthened this year. The incredible variety in porcelain tile options continues to increase and improve each year.
Glazed handmade ceramic tiles, which adds such a beautiful artisan look, is incredibly in right now, particularly for backsplashes.
Trend #4 – Matte and Brushed Metal Finishes
With regards to metal finishes, matte and brushed finishes are enjoying their moment in the sun.
In addition to looking great, this trend is driven heavily by the fact that, just like porcelain and ceramic tile, these finishes are easier to keep clean than polished finishes. Last year I talked about how popular mixing metals was, and that trend hasn’t slowed down a bit.
Rather, this trend is still going strong – so yay for metal mixing! Finally, we are also seeing more interesting metal finishes for our sink beyond stainless steel – matte gold anyone?
Trend #5 – Cabinetry Expands
Moving on to cabinetry, slab cabinet doors with minimal hardware, including recessed hardware, or push to open hardware was trending last year, and boy, it is still showing up in a big way in 2021.
That streamlined look that has been so popular in other parts of the world is huge in the U.S. right now. However, one of the newest trends is the move to incorporating even more cabinetry – any guesses as to why?
Well, with so many of us home with our families this last year, many have realized that they need a lot more storage to be able to feed their families 24/7. So items like walk in pantries and larder cupboards are becoming some of the most requested items in a kitchen remodel.
For those of you who loved to hate on last year’s trend of open shelving, you might break out in a happy dance to know that this trend is not quite so big this year.
Many are ditching their open shelves in favor or more traditional cabinets. But don’t despair you lovers of open shelving! They have a special purpose this year, which I’ll get to in a few minutes.
Trend #6 – Smart Storage Solutions Continue
Last year, I talked about the rise in smart storage solutions, such as pull out spice racks, tray and drawer dividers, and appliance garages.
Of course, these add-ons are still incredibly popular, particularly appliance garages.
Honestly, I need to stop talking about this as a trend because there is no reason for practical storage solutions to ever go by the wayside in any room of your home, but especially your kitchen!
Trend #7 – Dine in Kitchens and Islands
Dine in kitchens have been around for a long time, and they wax and wane over time, but they are quite popular this year – again, I am sure this trend is tied to all of us being at home and wanting to make meal time as convenient as possible.
That doesn’t mean that they have replaced kitchen islands, however, as kitchen islands are still one of the most requested items in a kitchen remodel, just like they were in 2020.The big focus this year is on creating a standout island. That could be in the form of a different countertop – butcher block or wood is particularly popular – or a different island base color, or both!
Statement light fixtures over the kitchen island are also huge right now, particularly woven light fixtures – there’s that biophilic design influence again!
Trend #8 – Open Shelving Has a Defined Role
Now let’s talk about open shelving. Last year, open shelving was being used in a big way for its various functional and aesthetic advantages. This year, while the amount of open shelving has declined in a kitchen, we are still seeing open shelves being used, but in a more limited way, and only for aesthetic reasons. Specifically, open shelves are still a perfect place to add character and personality to a kitchen, as it’s a great place to display unique pieces and especially smaller pieces of artwork.
Trend #9 – Quartz Counters Continue to Dominate
Going back to countertops, I mentioned butcher block, which is a nice secondary countertop material to use, but the leading choice has been and continues to be quartz, by a lot. Last year, we talked about how great quartz is, given its durability, low maintenance, and excellent ability to replicate higher end stones such as marble. But it’s quartz’s non-porous and anti-microbial features that are keeping this material center stage this year. People do not want germs in their homes, especially their kitchens!
Trend #10 – Statement Tile Backsplashes
In terms of backsplashes, while subway tile continues to be a popular and classic choice, we are seeing a lot more statement tile come to market with different and interesting shapes and colors.
There’s just a lot more energy and excitement in backsplash tile right now and we designers are loving this!
Trend #11 – Statement Range Hoods
After statement kitchen islands, the other popular focal point area this year is range hoods. Whether that’s custom range hoods, copper hoods, or extra large hoods, statement range hoods are still incredibly popular.
Just a quick note on focal points – you only want one for your kitchen. So don’t go with statement pendants lights and a statement range hood – one standout item is all you want and all you need.
Other 2021 Trends Of Note
Some other interesting trends this year include standout faucets.
We are also seeing more eco-friendly choices, such as induction style ranges and cooktops and reclaimed wood, but across the board, more and more manufacturers are offering more eco-friendly products and finishes.
For the first time in a while, we are also seeing less open floor plan kitchens. I’m pretty sure this has to do with the fact that families were under the same roof all day every day for a good long time and they are just wanting some separation from each other some of the time – totally understandable!
And Last but Not Least, More Smart Home Appliances
Finally, I think its safe to say that the world of smart home appliances is never going away – in fact, we are only going to see more of this each year. I’m seeing it in the world of kitchen design and bathroom design and every year, our house is getting smarter and smarter, and clients are split on this.
On the one hand, we love technology that makes our life easier, but on the other hand, we don’t like the idea of our home spying or collecting data on us, and many clients express nervousness at the idea of their homes being hacked, given that all of these smart appliances are usually operable by smart phones. I suspect at some point, you will be hard pressed to find certain types of appliances that aren’t smart.
OK, enough of my little editorial, this year we are seeing more choices in touchless faucets, more smart refrigerators, more smart ranges, and more smart coffee makers.
And that’s a wrap on kitchen trends for 2021!