Even though our kitchen renovation is thisclose to wrapping up, I’ve been researching 2021 kitchen trends. We hope to sell our house in 2021, so it would be nice to offer a somewhat “on trend” kitchen to potential buyers. Fortunately, a few of the 2021 kitchen trends are happening in our kitchen. Phew! If you’re considering kitchen updates, here are some ideas to explore for your space. Many of these are easy to adapt to existing kitchens, without requiring a full-on remodel. Let’s dive in!
8 Popular 2021 Kitchen Trends
The heavy hitters include:
- Open Shelving
- Single-Level Island with Stools
- Tuxedo Cabinets
- Natural Wood Accents
- Mixed Metal Fixtures/Hardware
- Pops of Color or Black
- Additional Storage
- Feature Ceiling
1. Open Shelving
One of the most noticeable changes in kitchen design over the past few years is the trend toward open shelving. Some folks have even entirely replaced upper cabinets with open shelves, filled with pretty dishes or other knick-knacks. This won’t work for everyone, unless you have plenty of other storage for kitchen-wares, but it looks lovely. Here is a beautiful example from Brittany Goodman’s home:
I know open shelves would become dust-catchers at my house, so I’ll use them for display, rather than dishes. Open shelving does break up the lines of cabinetry, and we’re planning to add a couple of shelves between our hutch and refrigerator. I ordered two custom floating shelves from this Etsy vendor, but we haven’t installed them yet, so I don’t have a full review. Here’s a mockup.
The fastest and cheapest way to achieve this look is to just remove the doors from an upper cabinet or two. You might need to paint the interior shelves to match your cabinet color. Here’s an example from BHG (first image in slideshow).
2. One-Level Island
Islands are nothing new to 2021 kitchen trends, but the design and function of kitchen islands has evolved. Heading out of style are islands and peninsulas with two levels – regular counter and a high back. Even though you can’t hide a messy kitchen with a single-level countertop, the sprawling space of a wide counter is fantastic. Here’s our peninsula with counter stools, where our kids now eat 99% of their meals because it’s SO convenient. When we ordered our quartz counter, we planned for an extra 12″ overhang and installed these invisible white brackets underneath.
3. Tuxedo Cabinets
Traditionally, tuxedo cabinets refers to dark lower cabinets and light uppers, but it can also just mean two different colors. These are very popular right now, and I think we’ll see a lot of two-toned kitchens in the next few years. Since it’s not expensive to buy paint supplies (compared to buying a new kitchen), you can DIY this project over a few weeks.
Check out this beautiful tuxedo kitchen from Studio McGee. While you’re at it, you might also notice the open shelving, island with counter seating, and wood accents.
4. Natural Wood Accents
I might as well refer to that Studio McGee kitchen above for most of this blog post. Did you notice how the wood accents on the counter stools and cutting boards warm up the space? Especially in a black and white kitchen, adding natural wood touches really softens the industrial feel of the space.
Of the 2021 kitchen trends in this roundup, natural wood accents are the easiest update to make. Just display some wooden cutting boards. If you don’t collect them, keep an eye out for thrift store finds (spruce them up with mineral or coconut oil). Or spring for a new board like this pretty herringbone or this live edge board – either would become a focal point, and then who even notices the rest of the kitchen?
5. Mixed Metal Fixtures and Hardware
I love this trend, but mixed metals are where personal taste comes into play. Some kitchens look fantastic with monochromatic fixtures, but I like to mix at least two metals to add depth to the space. In our first house, we mixed chrome hardware and faucets with copper lighting and decor.
In our current house, I added matte black hardware to the cabinets, but I chose a chrome faucet to (somewhat) tie in the stainless appliances. I happen to like the look of mixed metals, but this is really a personal choice. Emily Henderson nailed it at her Portland House project, where the kitchen showcases brass, chrome, and black metals in the light fixtures, hardware, faucet, and seating. She is masterful. Plus, she painted the cabinetry in one of my favorite colors, so it’s no wonder I love this kitchen!
6. Pops of Color or Black
It’s no surprise that color is creeping back into our lives, especially after a dismal 2020. Pops of color are one of my favorite 2021 kitchen trends. Throw some paint on an island or lower cabinets for the tuxedo cabinet look – or go all out with more color. Like the beautiful teal cabinets above, here’s a pretty French blue that helps this kitchen feel welcoming and warm.
This mint green vintage kitchen is one of my favorites on Instagram. Alexa was inspired by her Smeg toaster (out of frame) and matched the color with Sherwin Williams Workout Green for the cabinets. They are original to her home, and she updated the hardware with chrome handles that fit her kitchen’s vintage vibe. You can see more angles of her space on Alexa’s Instagram feed.
Black is also making a statement in kitchens. If you prefer a neutral home vibe, update a focal point in your kitchen with black paint or black hardware. Check out this beautiful kitchen from LL Design Co., where the green backsplash and woven pendants soften the modern black and white cabinets.
7. More Storage – Yes Please!
With all the time we’re spending at home, food storage has become a priority. Pantries and larders are working hard to store all those baking supplies, and I’m so thankful for ours. It’s packed to the gills. (That’s another reason why I can’t envision more open shelving in our kitchen, so kudos to those of you who make it work.)
In addition to the pantry, we installed a special custom cabinet to house appliances and other supplies. I’m starting to see these hutches pop up in more kitchen designs, like the ones in this kitchen and the narrow display cases in this kitchen.
8. Feature Ceiling
For the last design trend, look up! Adding dimension to the ceiling is one of the more interesting 2021 kitchen trends making the rounds. From a natural wood installation to painting a pop of color, ceilings are getting some attention. Here is a beautiful rustic wood kitchen ceiling from designer Dee Murphy. I love the warmth it adds to her cool white and brass kitchen.
The Easiest 2021 Kitchen Trends to Try
Are you inspired to update your kitchen with any of these ideas? Swapping out hardware or trying a new paint color are pretty easy and affordable changes to refresh any space. Plus, displaying a collection of wooden spoons or cutting boards is certainly the easiest way to jump on trend this year. If you have bigger changes in the works, I wish you luck with your kitchen updates!