Kitchen Design Trends Ready for Takeoff in 2021

  • Megan Douglas
  • 01/6/21
For many people, 2020 couldn’t be over soon enough. But with hope on the horizon, a better year surely lies ahead. That doesn’t mean the previous year won’t leave its mark. Indeed, the pandemic has changed many things, especially how we think about and use our homes. It was a year during which we all leaned on our homes a little bit more, willing it to bend and conform more to work, school, exercise, safety and rejuvenation. 
 
So we wanted to explore those home design trends we expect to be seeing more of in 2021. To do that, we browsed thousands of home design photos, spoke with dozens of home design professionals on Houzz, consulted the latest Houzz data and research and looked at past articles to arrive at a collection of home design trends we think will be big in the coming months. Perhaps we need a tagline to usher in the new year. More fun in 2021, anyone? 
 
 
E Y D E R curated kitchens
 
Kitchen Style is and design is top on the mind of many as they spend more time at home!
 

1. Dressed-up, tailored style.

One kitchen style that keeps showing up is a custom look with a collected-over-time feel. This style usually features a mix of grays, creams and light woods with dark, moody accents for a soothing yet refined palette. A mix of textures, materials, cabinet styles and architectural details makes the style feel as if it was pieced together bit by bit over the years. 
 
The Maine kitchen shown here by designer Tina Rodda of Eyder Curated Kitchens is a good example. A hutch-style paneled refrigerator and pantry cabinet on the left looks like it was added at a different time than the deep gray island (French Beret by Benjamin Moore) and creamy white cabinets (Ballet White by Benjamin Moore). 
 
Brass sconces and a simple but prominent gray hood give the range area the feel of a sophisticated library desk. A sliding slab of polished Calacatta Bluette marble for the backsplash reveals an elegant walnut-lined storage area.
 
 
Denise Morrison Interiors & House of Morrison This Southern California kitchen by Denise Morrison Interiors & House of Morrison is another good example. 
 
A black steel-and-glass cabinet tower looks added on to the custom white oak cabinets at a different time. And a mix of light fixtures, countertop materials — marble on the perimeter, black honed granite on the island — and a limestone block entryway further the collected effect. F
 
 
Kelsey Leigh Design Co. For this kitchen in Oklahoma City, designer Kelsey Leigh created dressed-up style with painted wall paneling and gilded-frame artwork beneath gallery-style light fixtures. A quartz slab backsplash that matches the countertop leads to a white range hood, resembling a white-tie tuxedo outfit.
 
 
Nate Fischer Interiors
 
Kitchen Cabinets

2. Light wood cabinets.

In a year that felt heavy, people seemed to yearn for interiors that exude lightness. And many people found that light wood mixed with other neutrals like whites and grays is a great way to create an airy palette with a dash of warmth. This is especially effective in a kitchen, as designer Nate Fischer’s own Southern California kitchen illustrates here. 
 
Light gray-washed red oak blends beautifully with brass hardware, multitone 6-by-6-inch marble backsplash tile, a marble island countertop and a soapstone perimeter countertop. “Using wood instead of white on the cabinets let me bring in white tones with other materials in the room without it feeling too white,” Fischer says. 
 
 
Savvy Interiors/ inSIDE by SavvySavvy Interiors used white oak cabinets, a wood island with a custom-stained pattern and waterproof light wood flooring by Shaw Floors to create a breezy, inviting kitchen.
 
 
Studio Dearborn

3. “Skinny Shaker” cabinet fronts.

Shaker-style cabinets are by far the most popular style chosen by homeowners for their kitchens. In fact, more than 60% of renovating homeowners will go with Shaker-style cabinets, according to Houzz research. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for variation. 
 
One subtle alteration to Shaker style we’ve seen this year is what’s referred to as “skinny,” “slim” or “thin” Shaker. Basically, the thickly profiled stiles and rails of a traditional Shaker cabinet front are slimmed down to ultrathin profiles, creating a style that’s not quite Shaker but not quite modern slab-front, either. 
 
Designer Sarah Robertson’s kitchen shown here features both styles. The cabinet fronts more closely resemble classic Shaker style, while the drawer fronts embrace the skinny version.
 
 
JAC Interiors This bathroom by JAC Interiors also features a skinny Shaker cabinet profile. Also notice the light wood, which, as mentioned above, is also trending in home design right now. 
 
 
Noble Johnson Architects

4. The multizone kitchen.

A traditional three-zone “work triangle” in the kitchen creates an efficient connection between the refrigerator, sink and range. But many homeowners want their kitchens to emphasize other tasks and allow for other cooks as well. In response, homeowners are working with designers on Houzz to add more touch points to that triangle shape and create additional work zones. This “work trapezoid” might include dedicated areas for baking, prepping and chopping, or separate stations for snacks, drinks or homework. 
 
In the Tennessee kitchen shown here by Noble Johnson Architects, the homeowners have a dedicated baking station to the left of the ovens.
 
 
Arielle Mizrahi Design
 
Kitchen Backsplashes

5. Zellige tile.

Every now and then a simple material seems to come out of nowhere and begin showing up almost everywhere. That’s the case for handmade square tiles in a glossy finish, known as zellige tile, like those seen in this New York kitchen by Arielle Mizrahi Design.
 
The square tile is enough of a departure from the popular 3-by-6-inch subway tile to feel different, yet it’s similar enough to not come off as too jarring. The glossy finish and handmade look offer color variations, shimmer and subtle imperfections that give the simple shape tons of character.
 
 
Landed Interiors & Homes Here, yellow square tiles in a crackle glaze finish bring a sunny punch to a kitchen by Landed Interiors & Homes. The texture joins shiplap-style cabinet fronts to create a layered, dynamic space. 
 
 
M House Development This Chicago kitchen by M House Development features a slightly larger tile dimension that complements the hefty volumes of the cabinetry and range hood.
 
 
Honsen + Flemming Interiors

6. Small-scale rectangular tile patterns.

If you’re looking for something with more movement in a backsplash, consider small tiles set in a herringbone or chevron pattern. Carrara marble tile in a herringbone pattern makes for an elegant backsplash in this Chicago kitchen by Honsen + Flemming Interiors.
 
 
Model Remodel
 
Small-scale rectangular tile can sometimes read like a pointillism painting — a continuous image from far away and a more nuanced, detailed image up close. In this Seattle kitchen by Model Remodel, small charcoal tile in a herringbone pattern with dark grout looks almost like a solid plane of color from afar. 
 
 
Model Remodel Up close, the texture, pattern and reflection reveal a much more complex surface.
 
 
 
Kitchen Countertops 

7. Shades of charcoal and gray.

While Houzz research shows that white remains the most popular color for kitchen countertops, many manufacturers are betting on interest in darker colors. In October, Silestone by Cosentino launched its Loft series, which features shades of charcoal and grays, as in the Corktown style shown here.
 
 
Camden, also from the Loft series, is a light gray speckled with white and black. 
 
 
Kitchen Design Gallery
 
Kitchen Sinks and Faucets

8. Hardworking sink stations.

As kitchens expand into multiple zones, the kitchen sink zone is following suit with what’s known as a workstation. Though relatively new to the market, workstations are quickly catching on. Built-in ledges support movable components such as a cutting board, colander and racks for draining and drying. It combines functions you might perform elsewhere in the kitchen, limiting the need to move back and forth between those areas.
 
 

9. Hands-free faucets.

Handwashing was on everyone’s minds in 2020, and many faucet manufacturers ramped up focus on offerings that promote hands-free interaction that decreases the spread of germs to surfaces. 
Grohe’s Ladylux L2 SmartControl faucet, shown here, features a push button on the end to turn the water on and off, operated with the bump of an elbow.
 
 
Kohler says it saw a 160% increase in touchless-faucet sales in its showrooms in 2020. It recently launched an update with its Kohler Konnect voice-assisted software line that allows a user to ask Google Home or Amazon Alexa to “tell Kohler to wash my hands.” The voice assistant then walks a user through the handwashing guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 
 

10. Matte white finish.

At the 2020 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, we saw matte white slowly making its way into bathroom design. Now the finish is catching on in the kitchen. Brizo recently launched its Jason Wu collection of kitchen faucets in a matte white finish, shown here.
 
 
The line also offers options such as a wood-and-brass handle, shown here, highlighting another trend we’re seeing more of: mixed finishes on kitchen faucets.
 
 
Design Shop Interiors
 
Kitchen Lighting

11. Swing-arm and other sconce lighting.

Lighting can be like jewelry in a kitchen, and homeowners on Houzz are showing interest in swing-arm and other sconce fixtures, which can add some adornment while providing needed task lighting around a sink or range. A sconce also adds a sculptural element above eye level and a bit of shimmer via its metal finish, two details that can help break up walls of cabinets or tile. Plus, a swing-arm sconce is a good solution for adding accent lighting to open shelves to highlight objects on display.
 
Two brass swing-arm sconces help illuminate the sink area at night in this kitchen by Design Shop Interiors. During the day, their shape and finish help draw the eye up to rest on a bit of glamour amid the otherwise soft, calming palette. 
 
 
Jordan Design-Build Group Shaded sconces illuminate the range area in this kitchen by Jordan Design-Build Group while giving a bit of punctuation to the large expanse of white tile.
 
Source: Article and all photos Houzz.com
 
Check out Houzz.com’s top home trends for 2021 HERE.
 
If you’re thinking about doing a remodel let me know. I’m always happy to give you my two cents. Reach out to see what a trusted Realtor’s perspective is on your remodel.
 
 

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