Like quartz countertops and all-white cabinets, some kitchen design trends are timeless classics that will never go out of style. Others, however, change year by year as new trends and designs take over. That said, don’t worry about doing a complete kitchen overhaul each year just to keep up. Yes, kitchen renovations have great ROI, but it’s not worth a yearly shift!
Instead, the good news is that these kitchen trends can be broken down into different parts of the kitchen. If you love the idea of a new paint colour but are still happy with your counters, then just focus on colours. There are plenty of trends to pick and choose from, so take a look and start customizing your dream kitchen. We’ve broken them down into the following categories: colours, cabinets, countertops, and other trends.
At the top of the list of new trends are colours, but not just the classic white kitchen or bold black look anymore. Neutral tones are still used, but the latest trend is to combine bright colours and maximize pastels. The colours themselves can be used for countertops, cabinets, backsplash or wall paint. These new shades also lend themselves to specific decors, like modern, contemporary, classic, and rustic.
1. Modern: colour contrast
Colour contrast is a statement in itself when it comes to modern décor, but not just for neutral contrasts. The new modern trend is to use bold colours to transform the look of your kitchen completely. A good rule to follow is the 70/20/10 guideline. 70% is the kitchen’s primary colour, meaning the cabinets, countertops, or walls. 10% is for the really dramatic accent, while 20% is for a third balancing colour.
For example, make 70% of the kitchen a bright teal or even bold purple, such as for the cabinets and kitchen island. Then focus the 20% on the backsplash or a feature wall using a complementary balance of a pastel pink or blue. The final 10% can be used on light fixtures, barstool or accessories like plants to add a final pop of colour.
2. Contemporary: bright splashes and neutral bases
The new contemporary kitchen design trend is similar to the modern look, with its focus on bright splashes of colour. However, the base colours steer more towards neutral tones instead of pastels to help offset those brighter shades. Imagine stone-grey countertops, blue-green cabinets, and then bold red splashes on the chairs or a feature wall. These colourful pops help brighten the space and highlight a specific feature or area of the room. For example, ceiling-height cabinets or a central kitchen island will equally benefit as the feature choice for a colour pop. Generally, whatever takes up the most visual space in a room will benefit from being the main focal feature.
3. Classic: off tones and simple shades
A colour trend that is guaranteed to be around every year is the classic palette. With dominating whites and beiges, you can’t go wrong with a classic kitchen. That said, the new classic trend leans towards the off tones and soft touches of colour. Instead of pure white, think white dove or ivory. As for traditional grey, focus on pewter or steel shades. The simple shades lean towards gentle pastels that perfectly complement the off tones. Pastel blue, pink, and even mint green, for example, are all popular choices. Unlike the other colour trends, classic focuses its colour palette on complementary accents and appealing touches here and there.
4. Rustic: natural wood and earth tones
In contrast to the other colour trends, rustic kitchens are starting to make a comeback once again. While before, wood cabinets were commonly painted over, they are now being left natural. To complement that natural wood look, focus more on earthy paint tones. Dark green, reddish browns, and steel blues work as perfect accents to bring out the wood’s natural beauty. Kitchen cabinets, islands, and countertops are shifting towards a wood décor. As for wood species, the darker looks are taking over from the traditional lighter styles. The most popular and striking choices include mahogany, walnut, or dark maple.
Like paints and colours, cabinet trends are also constantly changing. First, simple white cabinets were the popular look, followed closely by the striking two-tone style. The look now is changing again as kitchen trends 2020 moves into 2021, where open, easy to access, and eye-catching colours are the focus.
5. Open shelving
Are you tired of your old cabinet doors? Don’t worry about refacing them, because open shelving is the new look. Removing the doors helps create more openness and spaciousness in the room. Alternatively, you can replace cabinets with open shelving, or add some to space you might have in the kitchen. Big or small kitchens will benefit from the look, making it a perfect choice in any home. That also opens up even more décor possibilities. Beyond just plates and cups, plants and ornaments can be added. To add more colourful interest to the look, add some bright paint or wallpaper to the cabinet’s interior. The brighter the contrast to other colours, the more eye-catching they’ll look.
6. Colour is in
Leave the white accents to the rest of your kitchen because coloured cabinets are in and the bolder, the better. A key part of choosing the right colour also plays in with the way it affects overall moods. Bright red is striking and bold and creates an energetic mood, making it perfect for the kitchen. Just be sure to offset it with some neutral colours to provide some balance to all that energy. Green is another positive and creative-boosting colour, so if you love to cook, then this is a great choice. If you prefer a calmer kitchen, then look instead towards silvers and violet accents. Decide what mood you want to spark in your kitchen and then use those colours accordingly.
7. Smart storage solutions
Not only is smart storage convenient, but it also maximizes the space in your kitchen and makes it more functional. Deep drawers for pots and pans or a cookie sheet drawer will easily store any bulky cookware without wasting room. Carrousel racks are perfect for corner storage or pull out racks for deep and hard to reach cabinets. Install narrow pullout drawers to store cleaning supplies or spices for easy and convenient access. Even large kitchen islands are the perfect space to install new cabinets to store any baking utensils or add appliances like a microwave or a new mini-fridge. There are plenty of areas to install clever storage, so take a look at your kitchen and see what space can be utilized.
8. Hands-free design
Technology isn’t the only thing pushing kitchens into a hands-free space. Minimalistic kitchens are also rising in popularity, starting with hardware-free cabinets. Hidden handles or touch-release helps create a streamlined design in the space. As a result, the lack of eye-catching hardware shifts the focus to the design, colours, and overall layout. Statement cabinets such as walnut wood or ceiling-height will make the perfect addition in a hands-free kitchen.
Next in kitchen design ideas are countertops, which are one of the most popular parts of a kitchen to renovate. Countertops are more than just spaces to prep food; they are now one of the main focal points in a kitchen. In addition to practical functionality, appearances are a key factor to consider.
9. Quartz is still in
Ever since quartz was introduced as a perfect alternative to granite, it has continued to remain popular. As a nonporous material, water, wine, oils, and stains won’t be a risk or ever a problem. You don’t have to reseal quartz, and since it is engineered, there are plenty of ways to customize the look. It’s also incredibly durable yet low maintenance, which are two features that many homeowners love. Like white kitchens, quartz is one of those materials that isn’t going away any time soon.
10. Sustainable materials
Sustainability and eco-friendly alternatives are two of the biggest kitchen design ideas coming in 2021, and countertops are no exception. Recycled glass countertops are incredibly attractive and very eco-friendly as they’re made from 80% recycled glass. The colourful pieces of glass throughout the counter creates a vibrant addition that pairs well in any kitchen. You can customize how much glass you want or leave it as a more subtle display. Best of all, no two glass countertops will ever look the same, so it’s an entirely unique choice.
11. Bold concrete
Concrete is making its way into the home once again, except this time it’s not for flooring. As a countertop, concrete lends a bold and very modern addition that complements any other décor. The sleek, cool grey and lack of patterns mean you can focus on dressing up the rest of the kitchen instead. It’s also the perfect choice in a rustic kitchen, where earthy tones and wood accents will pair together beautifully with concrete. Functionally as well, concrete is just as high a contender as other materials. It’s heat resistant, easy to clean, resists stains, and will easily last a lifetime given the right care.
12. Classy marble
Marble countertops are making a return and this time especially ones with thick, striking veins throughout them. The new colour trend for these is to move away from the classic black and white and go for striking gold veins. The warmth of the colour and the marble’s striking beauty add a high-end feel to any kitchen. Don’t shy away from simple appearances either; the bigger and bolder the veins, the better. Generally, either kitchen cabinets or the countertops are the focal features in a kitchen. So, if you are focusing on the countertops, then make sure to choose an eye-catching design.
Beyond materials, colours, and styles seeing new trends, there are a few other areas in the kitchen that are also seeing changes. It started in kitchen trends 2020, but as 2021 moves towards greener homes and smarter and simplistic designs, kitchens are likewise following suit. These are a few of the other trends to keep an eye out for in your kitchen from easy storage, new layouts, and smarter appliances.
13. Walk-in pantries
Pantries have been a staple in kitchens ever since they were first introduced in modern homes. Bigger pantries, in particular, have expanded their convenience and depth of storage and space. However, the new trend is to have fully walk-in pantries, similar in design to walk-in closets. In addition to rows of wall shelving, pantries are now getting their own countertops and cabinets. Dressing up the door or installing stylish lighting is also becoming more popular. Pantries are no longer back of the room storage nooks but are instead becoming new features in the kitchen.
14. Kitchen-living room blend
Open-concept floor plans have consistently been a popular design across the years. It invites more light, a sense of spaciousness, and lends a contemporary and multifunctional style. However, not all homes have a designated dining room space, as kitchen islands have replaced that need. As such, the new trend is to see a blend between the kitchen and the living room instead. The open layout between the two rooms creates a cozy and welcoming design with benefits for each. You can cook and entertain friends at the same time or enjoy a casual social night with the family. The overall design is spacious and very easy to maneuver in. At the same time, the kitchen island still helps create a natural separation between the two rooms.
15. Smart and green appliances
Smart and green go hand-in-hand when it comes to rising kitchen design trends, and it’s no surprise. As technology advances and more convenient kitchen gadgets are introduced, it’s changing how homeowners cook. Everything from voice-controlled lights, Wi-Fi controlled appliances, or smart fridges with a built-in screen is moving into modern kitchens. While technological change isn’t as quickly incorporated as new paint colours, it’s a trend that is steadily becoming more common.
Going green is another trend when it comes to new appliances and one that is quickly making waves. ENERGY STAR certified fridges, for example, are 15% more efficient compared to non-certified models. In costs, that’s the difference between spending $50 a year compared to $300 a year. Even smaller appliances like ENERGY STAR sink faucets will use 20% less water and save more year by year. It’s an all-in-one trend that benefits your home, your wallet, and the environment.
A renovation company can help
If you want to make changes to the kitchen this year or next, consider hiring a full-service renovation company. They know the latest trends, including the ones that will pass the test of time. From the design stages, construction, through completion, having a project manager take care of all the details will make kitchen renovations easier and fun.