Top 9 Kitchen Trends of 2021
Read on to see which kitchen renovation trends contractors and designers say are on their way out, and which trends are here to stay this year, so you can pick designs that will stand the test of time.Aug 17, 2021 • Kira Barrett
As 2021 comes to a close, it feels like trends are shifting more quickly than ever.
According to Gen Z, side parts are out and middle parts are in. Skinny jeans are so 2020 - and we’re even seeing low rise pant styles creeping back onto fashion models.
As the popularity of home renovations rises, so does the speed at which certain design trends become the “new thing” to have in your home, and then they fall away just as fast.
The last thing you as a homeowner want to do is center your home design around a passing fad - even worse, one that’s design quality won’t last a good while.
In this article, we’ll give you designers’ and contractors’ expert opinions on the kitchen renovation trends that are on their way out, and which trends you should use for your upcoming home remodel instead.
Trends That Are On Their Way In
Some homeowners are more comfortable with trendy home renovations, while others tend to go for a more classic look every time. But one thing is for certain: some trends are better than others.
I think we can all agree that jello salad should probably stay in the past. But track suits? No wonder they made a comeback as we all began working from home this past year.
Listen to the expert opinions on which 2021 renovation trends you actually should buy into.
A clean, simple look is certainly on-trend, but it can never really be a bad thing to have less clutter.
More and more, folks are gravitating toward kitchen designs that feature storage for all sorts of appliances, leaving space for clear countertops.
Concealing kitchen appliances also helps focus more on the actual space for gathering with family and entertaining guests.
Here are a few ways to hide appliances:
- Placing appliances inside drawers
- Fashioning the range hood to blend into the wall tiles or cabinets.
- Adding decorative finishes & fronts to appliances that mimic your cabinetry.
“Most of our designs lately have custom storage and drawer pullouts for microwaves, toasters, coffee pots, etc.,” says Erik Kobielnik of Marquis Fine Cabinetry.
“Cleanliness and simplicity seem to really win buyers over,” says Max Cohen, President of FL Home Buyers.
Natural wood, lighting, and nature-inspired accents are slowly starting to overtake all-white when it comes to style.
Not only is a natural look more practical, it’s warmer and more inviting. Designers recommend sticking with neutral colors, but adding in natural elements to give a space some personality.
Large plants or accessories can also work to “break up” the room into sections reserved for unique purposes.
“This could be through the addition of plants, large windows, and skylights,” says Erik. “You can also decorate your home with stones and crystals. Another way to bring nature into your home is to add furniture and accessories made of natural wood and fabrics.”
Bringing natural elements indoors will also continue to be popular, according to Alan Weiner, COO of Elegant Strand.
“Wicker and rattan furniture, carved wood tables and woven baskets have been popular the last few years and will continue to be so,” Alan says.
Although many were once in favor of all-white kitchens, wood finishes are becoming more popular once again.
Rich, Bold Colors
This could be a direct rebuttal to the all white trend, but designers are saying that homeowners are becoming more and more open to deep, dark pops of color in their home design.
Adding pops of deep color in small doses can make your space a lot more visually interesting. Wall accents and fun wallpaper in kitchens is a great way to add these colors.
“Homeowners are gravitating toward warm, rich colors like moss green, deep blues, plums, and teals,” says Tyler Forte, CEO of Felix Homes.
Homeowners are even starting to incorporate black into their color schemes.
Black walls, cabinetry, and work surfaces are all becoming popular. When paired with dark woods, the dark colors offer a rustic and cozy charm.
Even black appliances may appear more attractive than standard stainless steel. It appears that darker colors have arrived, while white is on its way out!
Mostly white tiles with the odd black tile thrown in for contrast, matching the flat black sink fixtures is a super popular combination, according to Ralph Severson, owner of Flooring Masters.
Along with rich and bold colors, color contrast is also trending. Mixing pink and green, orange and blue, or yellow and purple can add interesting visuals to your kitchen wall space.
Great places to add contrasting pops of color are appliances, cabinets, islands, flooring or tiles.
Smart home technology has been on the rise for years now, but designers are now starting to see an increase in once luxury technology features for more average renovations.
A smart kitchen integrates technology into every appliance, from the faucets to the fridge and lighting.
Like, for instance, USB wall plugs. “We install USB compatible electrical plug-ins across our homes as well as in areas that would be popular for electronic devices,” says Jeffery of Shipwash Properties LLC.
Or under cabinet lighting. “Under cabinet lighting at one point was something found in high end expensive homes. Now, you will find under cabinet lighting as a standard,” says Eric, owner of The Lighting Tutor.
Other easy technology add-ons include:
- Motion sense-equipped kitchen faucets that can sense the presence of hands underneath.
- Refrigerators that can alert you when your groceries items are running low.
- Programmable coffee makers.
- Lighting controlled from your smartphone.
Twist on Industrial Style
While traditional industrial style is a bit overdone, lots of homeowners are looking for chic, sophisticated twists on their industrial kitchens.
Rather than taking a heavy-handed approach to this design trend, there are lots of ways you can add pops of the “factory look” in a new and modern way.
For example, you can replace kitchen cabinet doors with steel mesh, or add popular metallic accents, like cabinetry hardware.
Instead of the typical statement lighting, you can add lighting with unique, local construction or materials - that can almost function as an art piece in your kitchen.
While mixing gold and silver was once seen as faux pas, designers are now incorporating mixed materials in floors, cabinetry, and countertops.
This trend is especially popular now for hardware and accessories. For example, choose a nickel for knobs, a brass for your faucet, and a different metal for a lighting fixture.
A kitchen larder was originally a room used to store and preserve foods. Nowadays, it has transformed into a stand-alone cupboard or pantry.
The pandemic has taught us all the values of storing and organizing goods. Today’s kitchen trends incorporate roomy pantries with plenty of shelving.
Many popular cabinetry styles double as effective storage solutions - which is a win-win for you!
On the flip side of enclosed, organized pantry shelving is open shelving, but it can be just as trendy depending on your personal preferences.
Open shelving allows you to showcase your kitchen wares and heirlooms to “curate” your unique kitchen style.
Plus, the ability to display your items in the open also makes them easy to find in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Tips For Keeping Up with Renovation Trends
The downside of following renovation trends, is that unlike clothes, you probably don’t want to renovate every year or every other year. Most people will complete one major renovation and then do minor updates every so often.
So, how can you keep your home space looking as sharp as your home design Pinterest board year round?
Here are some basic tips:
- Update decor regularly: Buying new plants, wall-hangings and other decorative items is a great way to freshen up your space to stick with current trends that doesn’t require an expensive project.
- Consult with a designer before renovating: Designers and architects have their finger on the pulse of the renovation industry. They’ll be able to tell you if your ideas are a little too trendy, or if the current trend is impractical.
- Go for bold paint colors: Painting interior walls is a fun and easy way to switch up the style in your home - that’s easy to change. Exterior siding, tiling, or other more complex changes are harder to switch when you get tired of them
- Put an emphasis on quality: No matter what your style is, high quality materials are always going to look better and last longer. You can’t go wrong with good value.
Trends That Are On Their Way Out
Obviously, the most important opinion you should factor into your home renovation project is your own. After all, you’re the one that’s going to live in your home for the next few years.
Therefore, if you’re only picking a certain style because you think it’s the “trend,” try to imagine how you’ll feel with the same style in five years when some other design takes its place on the Instagram Explore page.
On the other hand, if you are renovating and are in love with a trend that experts say is “on it’s way out,” screw em’! They aren’t the ones paying for your renovation and the ones that will get to enjoy it after.
This trend was a flame that burned out quick. While it’s been all the rage for the past few years, interest in this minimalist color scheme is starting to wane, according to designers.
Not only is it boring, it’s not practical.
“Homeowners like to personalize their kitchens because it’s one of the places that the entire household utilizes together, and it’s important to reflect that communal spirit in a creative and inspiring way,” says Grace Tsao Mase, Founder of BEYREP. “This is especially the case for families with young children, because all-white kitchens can be difficult to maintain.”
Oftentimes when trends get so popular that they totally dominate the interior design space, this can be a sign that they’re not there to last.
“[All white] felt ‘on-trend.’ It felt to me that it was something that would not age well,” says Max Cohen, President of FL Home Buyers.
Your Instagram feed and your Pinterest board have seen enough of this rustic, kitsch look. Sure, every influencer and HGTV contestant’s done it, but that doesn’t mean you have to.
Experts also say that some aspects of this style aren’t exactly functional.
“The farmhouse trend is on the verge of becoming overdone and outdated in my opinion. This look has been the go to trend in newer construction homes, but the sacrifice in functionality is beginning to catch up with buyers,” says Jeffery of Shipwash Properties LLC. “For example, barn doors look amazing, but you are limited to using these in non-privacy areas.. In addition, the parts typically fail in a short amount of time, resulting in a costly repair.”
Still in love with this look? At least limit it to homes where it fits - like actually old farmhouse properties. “While this look may be suited for some homes, in general, it is an outdated look for new constructions and more modern homes,” says Tyler Forte, CEO of Felix Homes.
Open Floor Plan
The open floor plan has been the first request for contractors completing home renovations recently, but it’s possible that the pandemic has changed homeowners’ minds about this more modern look.
While the open floor plan is still popular, some designers think that interest has shifted back toward more separate areas on the first floor.
“As people have spent more time at home they have come to appreciate zoned floor plans,” says Andra DelMonico, the Lead Interior Designer for Trendey. “This new approach creates a balance between too open and too walled. Areas are separated enough to create a cozier and more comfortable space.”
If you’re still yearning for some openness, consider a mix between open and separate for your floor plan that fits your lifestyle.
Exposed Edison bulbs, pendant lights, pipes, track lighting, and that familiar heavy-duty copper look has truly had its moment in the renovation space.
While the occasional old Brooklyn one-bedroom lends itself to an industrial look, your 2010 suburban build would probably look better with a different lighting style.
“Its rustic and commercial nature makes a statement, but it’s style-specific and isn’t very versatile,” says Andra. “This limits how you decorate your home or add to the decor naturally over time.”
Tiered Kitchen Islands
While it was a unique design, kitchen islands are perfectly useful with just one tier. Homeowners aren’t as interested in two levels anymore. They’re large, bulky, and unnecessary.
“If there are any 2 tiered counter heights they are very minimal,” says Erik Kobielnik of Marquis Fine Cabinetry. “They aren’t near the height difference as they used to be.”
Overall, while you want to keep your home design up-to-date, it may not be practical to lean into trends so heavily. Instead, try to focus on your own unique personal style and lifestyle when you are picking out finishes for your home renovation.
After all, unless you’re an Instagram influencer, you and your family are going to be the ones enjoying your renovated home, not your followers.
Looking for a way to finance your kitchen renovation project? Check out RenoFi’s guide to financing a kitchen remodel.