Kitchens

Kitchen trends 2021 – 28 new looks and innovations for cabinets, worktops and more

We talked to the experts to find out the latest kitchen trends and what will be big in kitchen design for 2021

Kitchen trends 2021 showing dark cabinets with herringbone flooring and a decorative display cabinet for glasses
(Image credit: Ledbury Studio)

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 trends and new kitchen ideas in 2021.

1. Concealed kitchens

A minimalist kitchen with white concealed cabinets and dusky pink velvet chairs

(Image credit: Future)

Small space living gives way to even more kitchen innovation, like the kitchen pictures above. This chic open-plan space conceals the cooking area with chameleon-like skill, allowing the focus to be on entertaining. 

Maximise the feeling of spaciousness by uniting cooking, dining and relaxing into one glorious, light-filled room. Here an uninviting and small kitchen was demolished 
in favour of a big living room with the kitchen tucked discreetly at one end. 

The layout is flexible so it transitions from a kitchen to a dining room to 
a living area in an effortless way. The cooking space is as invisible as possible, with door panels looking like decorative wall finishings. 

All doors are hidden, with fingerprint sensors that allow them to open and close in a smooth a manner.

2. Mesh cabinetry

Kitchen trends 2021 showing a close up of mesh cabinets painted in a bold blue with ornate mesh handles

(Image credit: Davonport)

Bespoke kitchen specialist Davonport has added a burnished wire mesh cupboard door to its design portfolio. Teamed with diamond-cut brass handles, the look makes for a sophisticated twist on industrial style. 

Complete kitchen prices from £35,000, Davonport.

3. Using materials in surprising ways

A sink with wooden cabinets, a green backsplash and shelving for decorative ceramics

(Image credit: Quirky Interiors)

Theres something free-ing about having a kitchen that doesn't feel 'off the shelf'. Even if some elements like cabinetry and appliances need to be standardised, think about adding character with practical elements sourced elsewhere. 

This sink area features a rustic shelf to display pottery and a narrow geometric backsplash made of brass sits behind, creating an unusual vignette and wall decor for the kitchen.

4. Brave color contrasts

Pink cabinets in front of green tiles

(Image credit: DeVOL)

Picking two shades on opposite sides of the colour wheel, like pink and green, will achieve bold contrasts. Here the Classic English kitchen by deVOL is painted in a Farrow & Ball green and a custom pink. Prices start from £25,000.

Find more bold combinations among our kitchen color ideas.

5. A fresh take on Mid Century 

Mid century kitchen with walnut cabinets and white slab doors

(Image credit: Future)

Bright whites contrast with rich timbers and soft curves to lend a modern mid-century flair to contemporary kitchens. 

Dark walnut cabinetry works to keep the look simple with smart bespoke detailing. Tall white cabinets and light marble splash-backs and countertops draw the eye up creating an illusion of space, keeping the look fresh and of the moment.

6. The sink skirt revival

Striped kitchen sink skirt with white marble worktop and backsplash

(Image credit: Beata Heuman)

Once considered outdated and frumpy, the sink skirt is back in fashion creating opportunity for texture and pattern, softening kitchen schemes and adding a touch of nostalgia. 

The idea is based around replacing the base cabinet doors underneath the sink with pleated curtains, often suspended on a decorative rod. Here is an opportunity for an element that can be updated often - on trend gingham, tactile untreated linen or pale pink stripes amongst bold colours like Beata Heuman.

7. Marble 

A marble island and backsplash with gold faucets and herringbone flooring

(Image credit: Blakes London)

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 and good choice for kitchen flooring.

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 eye-catching sink or a kitchen island.

8. Wood finishes

Kitchen trends 2021 showing wooden cabinets and a stone-look island with black bar stools

(Image credit: Caesarstone)

Out of fashion for a while, wood is now enjoying a bit of a revival. These kitchen cabinets use subtle-grained ash, paler than oak or walnut, to pick out the warm tones in manmade stone.

9. Dark drama

Kitchen design trends showing black walls and cabinets paired with a white worktop and textured wood flooring

(Image credit: Neptune)

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.

10. Color pops

An orange island with a white worktop and contrasting green plants and artwork

(Image credit: Martin Moore)

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, kitchen tile ideas and cabinets.

Start by deciding how much of a permanent commitment you are willing to make. One of easiest and least expensive options is to change your kitchen styling or paint a wall because either 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.

11. Statement lights

A marble island with dark blue cabinets and delicate white pendant lighting

(Image credit: Original BTC)

Far from the drama of what you would expect from 'statement' lighting, the latest collection of pendants from Original BTC are quietly show-stopping. The Drop series follows the journey of a droplet of water through the air and this bone china light captures the moment when it flattens as it hits the ground. 

Designed 
20 years ago, it was initially pulled from the range because it proved too technically challenging to make. But, thanks 
to new developments, it has finally made a long-awaited appearance. 

12. Double islands

Kitchen trends 2021 showing a double island with simple wooden bar stools and a wooden worktop

(Image credit: Kitchen Architecture)

With the move towards larger kitchens, in open plan spaces, the kitchen island has become an essential kitchen feature. New kitchen island ideas, such as opting for a pair of island units, has become the last work in luxury - an expansive addition for when space is no object.

13. Handleless design

Black marble island with black bar stools and pendant lighting

(Image credit: Future PLC and David Lovatti)

The latest modern kitchen ideas are all about multi-tasking, free-flowing designs 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.

14. Pantries

Kitchen trends 2021 showing a pantry concealed behind white floor to ceiling cabinets

(Image credit: Harvey Jones)

Pantry cupboards have been kitchen staples for centuries. In the last few years, pantry ideas such as pantry cupboards 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.

15. Larders for small kitchens – that can double up as home offices

Petrol blue cabinets with gold handles disguising a small pantry

(Image credit: LochAnna Kitchens)

'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 kitchen storage ideas 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.'

16. Walnut cabinetry

Kitchen trends 2021 showing a uniform walnut island and cabinets with pendant lighting

(Image credit: Charles Yorke)

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.

17. Gold finishes

A closeup of a minimalist white island worktop with a gold faucet and sink

(Image credit: Grohe)

Now that faucets are available in a wide choice of colors and finishes, sinks are following too, and shouldn't drive up the average cost of a new kitchen too much. 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.'

18. More metallics

A closeup of metallic cabinets and small bookshelf

(Image credit: Ledbury Studio)

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.

19. The curated kitchen

Kitchen trends 2021 showing a marble backsplash and island, dark blue cabinets and a wall lamp

(Image credit: British Standard)

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.

20. Appliances in drawers

Kitchen trends 2021 showing the view through to a living room from a kitchen with an appliance in a drawer

(Image credit: Fisher & Paykel)

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.

21. 'Broken-plan' living

Kitchen trend 2021 showing broken plan living with large, dividing doors with glass panels

(Image credit: British Standard)

Set to define the next decade, zoning will replace open-plan when planning a kitchen. The new phenomenon is 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.

22. Utility rooms and mud rooms

A utility room with blue cabinets and simple, white box shelving

(Image credit: British Standard)

Ancillary spaces – we mean functional but thoughtfully considered utility, pantry, larder and mudrooms – 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.

23. Painted kitchens

A light and airy kitchen with a large central island painted in dark blue with wooden bar stools

(Image credit: Future / Richard Gadsby)

The year 2021 has seen 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. 

24. Pendant lighting 

Kitchen trends 2021 showing monochrome tiles and bar stools with black pendant lighting

(Image credit: The Shaker Workshop/Maple Photo)

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: be open to exploring different pendant kitchen lighting ideas . For example, grouping multiple pendants to add drama to the kitchen.'

25. Retro style kitchens

Wooden cabinets with white worktops and a blue light shade

(Image credit: Colin Poole)

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.

26. Mixed materials

Kitchen trends 2021 showing black cabinets with marble worktops and a textured wooden herringbone floor

(Image credit: Ledbury Studio)

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.'

27. White kitchens

A country style kitchen with white painted beams, a small white central island and green palm plants

(Image credit: Classic English Kitchen by deVOL)

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.

28. Floating shelves

A close up of a marble worktop with sleek white cabinets and abstract mosaic tiles

(Image credit: Future)

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.