Simu Liu's unpainted cabinets strip kitchen design back to basics – a look that's shaping trends for 2024

The Barbie star opted for a low-key, trend-forward design, and experts say we can expect to see more of this aesthetic

Simu Liu
(Image credit: Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images)

The unpainted kitchen cabinet is quite possibly the unsung hero of current kitchen trends. Anything but plain, unpainted cabinets allow for creativity to flow in the kitchen through decor, or alternatively, a base for the ultimate minimalist space.

Simu Liu, AKA (a) Ken in Barbie and Shang-Chi in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, is on board with the trend, having posted a photo of his simple yet modern kitchen on his Instagram page.

Experts say that unpainted cabinets, particularly comprised of wooden materials, are ideal ways to bring a sense of the outside into our home – and despite it being only March, it's shaping 2024's most influential kitchen trends

'The great outdoors and all its natural beauty is taking precedent within our homes,' says Grazzie Wilson, Head of Creative at Ca’ Pietra. 'From color palettes to materials, we just can’t get enough of it and with good reason. We associate outside with nature, well-being, and health and so it makes sense to want to bring that into our kitchens.'

White woman with brown bob smiling on couch is Grazzie of Ca'Pietra
Grazzie Wilson

Grazzie Wilson is head of creative at Ca'Pietra, a luxury stone and tile brand based in the UK.

A staple in trends from Japandi to Organic Modern, natural materials can certainly be used for cabinets, but beyond as well. It's no surprise that we're seeing an increasing number of celebrities opting for this pared-back look (Zendaya and Chrissy Teigen have also followed suit), meaning Simu Liu is in good company. 

'From its warming colors through to its abundance of texture, we’re leaving our kitchen cabinets unpainted and turning to wood worktops,' Wilson explains.  'We’re also considering it for our flooring, but it can take a lot of upkeep, especially in kitchens that see a lot of action.'

Country style kitchen diner in 17th century barn in Dorset

An unpainted kitchen like Simu Liu's space.

(Image credit: Future/ Jonathan Bond)

For this reason, rather than opting for natural flooring, there are alternate options. Consider faux-wood tiling, which require less maintenance but still gives off a natural appearance, syncing up with kitchen cabinets for a uniform look.

'Wood effect porcelain tiles are a great alternative to bringing the trend into the home but with added practicality benefits of being low-maintenance, hardwearing and easy to clean.'

Shop the organic kitchen edit

Below, find a few natural kitchen accessories to bring a bit of the outdoors into the home.

Hannah Ziegler
News Editor

Hannah is Homes & Gardens’ News Editor, with a focus on celebrity style and entertainment content. She got her start in media as a digital editorial assistant at ELLE Canada, and has since written about lifestyle and culture for publications such as Nylon and i-D.

Her love of film is rivalled only by one with a great soundtrack, and she hopes to someday decorate a Nancy Meyers-worthy kitchen.