We talked to the trend experts to find out which kitchen trends will be big in 2021.
With cool new kitchen brands popping up and lots of innovative design ideas and clever twists on old appliance designs on display in kitchen showrooms across the country, there are plenty of on-trend looks and state-of-the-art appliances to pick from.
Below, we look at the biggest new looks for kitchens in 2021 – you can find more kitchen ideas on our dedicated page, too.
- See more: Interior design trends 2021 – the 10 must-have style and looks
It’s the time of strongly veined marble, the busier the better for unmissable luxury and next-level style. If there’s one thing that’s storming the style charts and shaking up interiors, it’s the return of marble.
As an architect Natalia Miyar has a great passion for materiality and uses the finest, high quality materials in her design schemes. She says ‘heavily veined marble is making a significant comeback in the design world and has become synonymous with high-end luxury.’ A popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms, it is also highly sustainable; its durability, classic attributes and ability to withstand passing trends makes it a good investment.
Marbles with naturally strong veining add statement value and create a textural contract between other polished surfaces, metals and woods. Within a kitchen, Natalia uses marble to create an elegant bath, an eye-catching sink or a kitchen island.
- See: the best kitchen designers – to help you on your way to creating your dream kitchen
2. Wood finishes
Out of fashion for a while, wood is now enjoying a bit of a revival. Use subtle-grained ash, paler than oak or walnut, to pick out the warm tones in manmade stone.
3. Dark drama
Often overlooked as purely an 'accent' color, black walls, cabinetry and work surfaces are having something of a moment. Black becomes liveable, luxe and inviting, with textured woods adding rustic, homely charm.
4. Color pops
Throw the rulebook out of the window in favor of unexpected paint-color pairings. Kitchens are rife with color opportunities, from appliances and flooring, to window treatments and cabinets.
Start by deciding how much of permanent commitment you are willing to make. One of easiest and least expensive options is to paint a wall can be easily updated should you tire of it. Choosing color is such a personal experience – in fact no one knows for sure whether we all even see the myriad shades in the same way.
Mark Wilkinson, founder of Mark Wilkinson Furniture, believes that the colors we choose automatically are naturally influenced by current fashions. 'The color in a kitchen – be it on walls or fittings – should last for at least five years, minimum, so try to look beyond immediate trends and choose a color that will keep you feeling good long term,' he advises.
5. Double islands
With the move towards larger kitchens, in open plan spaces, the kitchen island has become an essential kitchen feature. A pair of island units has become the last work in luxury, an expansive addition for when space is no object.
See more kitchen island ideas in our dedicated feature.
6. Handleless design
The latest contemporary designs are all about a multi-tasking, free-flowing design with a paired-back look. Technological advances in push-open and close doors means that it has become possible to dispense with handles in both wall and base cabinets. If you prefer not to have push-open cupboards, then recessed handles provide the same sleek look and can be lined with contrasting colours and materials to add interest.
'Handleless kitchen cabinets are one of the biggest trends for 2021 for more pared-back, streamlined look. It’s all about simplicity and a focus on cabinetry details,' explains Busola Evans, Kitchen and Bathroom Supplement Editor.
Pantry cupboards have been kitchen staples for centuries and, in the last few years, have established themselves as one of the must-have items in modern homes.
'Having a pantry makes perfect sense. All the food goods are in one place and not scattered around in numerous wall cupboards, meaning people can be more organized when doing their food shopping.
'The other great advantage of a larder and its storage capacity is that a kitchen no longer needs to be full of wall cupboards. It frees up entire walls to either be left free or have an attractive piece of artwork in the kitchen which in turn helps it feel less like a kitchen and instead more of a relaxed environment, perfect for open plan living areas,' says Leisha Norman, Designer, Harvey Jones.
See all our pantry ideas for lots of design inspiration.
8. Larders for small kitchens – that can double up as home offices
'The trend for clever storage continues to be a key design choice due to the practicality it offers,' says Paul Jenkinson, Founder and Managing Director of British kitchen brand LochAnna Kitchens. 'From bi-fold dressers to tower and corner larders, storage can be both a design and practical trend.
'Storage is, and will continue to be, a big part of the kitchen space. For those with smaller kitchens, the need for clever storage in this space is crucial in terms of efficiently utilizing the room you have.
'In bigger, minimalist kitchens, clever storage allows for clutter to be easily tidied away. Many homeowners are adding more storage solutions into their kitchens as a way of storing their office supplies as they adapt to working from home indefinitely.'
9. Walnut cabinetry
We have recently seen a rise in walnut cabinetry. It’s rich, dark color, fine grain and natural warmth are prized by makers for its feeling of instant luxury.
10. Gold finishes
Now that taps are available in a wide choice of colors and finishes, sinks are following, too. Aesthetics have made an impact in wet areas just as they have in furniture and appliance design, with color, shape, size and material heavily influenced by the overall look of the room.
'Sinks have moved up on the scale of importance in kitchen design,' says Joan Fraser, product development and training manager for Smeg. 'Models are introduced to meet customers’ demands for a sink which, in addition to being purely functional, also makes a definitive style statement.'
11. More metallics
A by-product of metallics in the kitchen comes the demand for well-executed quality materials that don’t just look good, but have integrity, too. 'That’s why I decided against metallic finishes sprayed onto wood, in favor of real metals that I could work with sensitively to bring out their natural beauty’, says Charlie Smallbone. The founder of iconic brand Smallbone of Devizes and Ledbury Studio, Charlie has been pushing the boundaries of kitchen design for over 40 years.
12. The curated kitchen
As pride in interior styling takes centre stage, we have witnessed an increase in sales of glazed cupboards and opening shelving, following a growing demand for kitchens designed for a ‘curated’ look. Thoughtfully designed, these visual spaces are carefully styled with artworks, decorative ceramics, cookery books and other curiosities, to achieve an instant lived in look – adding personality and resulting in a space that feels homely.
'In an age of uncertainty and with busy digital lives, people are increasingly nostalgic for a space to slow down and surround themselves with the comfort and security of tactile items and personal treasures. We are moving away from hiding everything away in cupboards, instead drawing inspiration from displays of china and silverware in glazed cabinets and on shelving, racks and dressers of grand houses – the end result sitting between the maximalist and minimalist styles,' says Merlin Wright, Design Director at British Standard and Plain English.
13. Appliances in drawers
This isn't so much a new innovation – Fisher & Paykel introduced its first DishDrawer™ 20 years ago. However, as we become more interested in the ergonomics of our kitchens – and more of us suffer back problems – these innovative appliances will become more popular.
Fisher & Paykel’s DishDrawer™ and CoolDrawer™ provide an array of functions that make life easier. When placed at bench height, the need to bend down is significantly reduced and there is no longer a need for you to get on your knees to fill the salt, rinse aid or detergent – it is as easy to open as a normal drawer.
14. 'Broken-plan' living
Set to define the next decade, zoning will replace open-plan in a phenomenon being referred to as ‘broken-plan’. Retaining the spacious feel of an open plan design, the trend employs the use of screens, freestanding furniture, cabinetry and house plants to create distinct zones and nest-like nooks intended for cooking, relaxing and entertaining.
15. Utility rooms and mud rooms
Ancillary spaces – we mean a functional but thoughtfully considered utility, pantry, larder and mud room – provide the perfect space in which to house everyday essentials away from the main kitchen. Ancillary spaces and larder cupboards have become the ultimate status symbol and are fast becoming number one on kitchen wish lists.
‘Having a utility room has become a status symbol. Coupled with the current trend for neat and tidy spaces and zealous cleaning, it provides a much-needed dedicated housekeeping area,’ says Design Director at British Standard and Plain English, Merlin Wright.
16. Painted kitchens
The year 2021 sees the revival of hand-painted kitchens. 'They wear well, age even better and continue to be repairable in ways that a factory-applied laminate cannot match,' says Ledbury Studio, founder Charlie Smallbone. 'From this point of view, hand painting is also more ecologically sound.'
One of the most appealing and varied finishes for kitchen cabinetry, paint lends itself to both the classic looks of the traditional kitchen and to crisply modern linear designs.
The advantage is in its almost limitless choice of colors, allowing you free rein to express yourself, whether your home is period or contemporary, country or urban. And you can always re-paint if you want a change or update in the future.
17. Pendant lighting
Our feature on Instagram kitchen trends looked into what was trending on Insta for kitchens. Kitchen islands came out tops, but the next searched term was 'pendant lights'.
More than just a practical addition, kitchen pendant lighting is a decorative feature over worktop spaces, too.
'Lighting is key to any kitchen design scheme,' comments Sarah Davies of Floella Interiors. 'My advice would be to be open to exploring the use of a pendant light in different ways; for example, grouping multiple pendants to add drama to the kitchen.'
18. Retro style kitchens
Design styles from the past will be making a comeback – but with a new, contemporary spin. Inspired by the painted kitchen of thirty years ago, Ledbury Studio are reinterpreting paint finishes and wood tints to sit beautifully alongside more modern kitchen designs.
19. Mixed materials
Contrast is king when it comes to mixing materials; the trick is to make sure that every material used encourages the others to really sing.
Brass and steel married with marble and dark timbers prove a winning formula in this luxurious and vibrant family kitchen by Ledbury Studio.
'Use a fusion of tactile materials to achieve a confident blending of styles,' advises architect Natalia Miyar. 'Marble, wood and metallics complement each other well with different shades of wood and metal often bringing warmth and contrast to a cold marble surface.
'Using contrasting materials for different worktops within a kitchen naturally creates different zones within a room, not only making a space more practical but aesthetically creates a visually pleasing and harmonious space to live in.'
20. White kitchens
There are many good reasons why white kitchens are so enduringly popular: white is calm, neat, minimal and light-enhancing – all must-have qualities in a space that's increasingly busy (and sometimes somewhat chaotic).
White is also so easy to change up: 'white cabinets are great for giving you that fresh clean minimal look but are also a great backdrop for layering up color and texture,' adds Sarah.
And, of course, white kitchens are the most likely to please potential buyers, should you decide it's time to move on.
- Love what you see? Browse more white kitchen ideas in our inspiring gallery
21. Floating shelves
Over 122,000 of us have tagged our floating shelves on Instagram – at our last count. Not only are they practical, but they are the perfect spot to show off your most attractive kitchen accessories, making your kitchen feel more like a living space than a cooking space.