If there’s any one room that’s worked especially hard over the past year, it’s America’s kitchens. They’ve filled in as makeshift schools and offices, not to mention accommodated a huge increase in home cooking and baking.
While there are top design trend lists each year, the kitchen trends for 2021 feel especially important.
They don’t simply reflect aesthetic preferences — though we firmly believe spaces should be both functional and beautiful. This year’s kitchen trends reflect what we want and need from the most used room in the home. To share meals, to study, to live, and to thrive.
Keep reading as our interior designer, Steph Morris, shares her 7 trend predictions for Minnesota kitchens in 2021.
2021 Kitchen Design Trend #1: Better, Smarter Storage
Increased cooking doesn’t just mean more time in the kitchen. For many, it also means increased storage needs. For starters, many families are shopping in bulk to reduce their trips to the store. But also, many home chefs are diversifying cooking options by purchasing new kitchen gadgets and appliances.
Your old pantry might not have room for that new bread machine and instant pot. Or, if it does, it’s like a game of Operation trying to remove it without knocking everything else onto the floor. So it’s no wonder homeowners have “better storage” at the top of their kitchen wish list in 2021.
This isn’t just more storage, explains Steph Morris, interior designer at Titus. “Homeowners want smarter storage — storage that actually improves the function of their kitchen, not just extra room to put stuff.”
- pullout drawers in their pantry or for their garbage and recycling bins
- systems that maximize those awkward corner cabinets
- built-in outlets to use everyday appliances where they are stored to keep countertops clutter-free
In this same vein, 2021 might be the year we see less open shelving. Wall-to-wall upper cabinets maximize storage and create the clean, tidy look many homeowners want right now.
2021 Kitchen Design Trend #2: Embracing Nature
With all the added hours spent indoors this year, homeowners are drawn to creating a more natural environment at home. For full kitchen remodels, designers are seeing larger windows — even bumped-out sills for mini kitchen gardens — and more sliding glass doors for better access to the outdoors.
For a more budget-friendly way to bring the outdoors in, natural materials can boost your connection with nature. Steph predicts we’ll continue to see more warm wood tones, from rich butcher block countertops to woven rattan bar stools and pendant shades.
2021 Kitchen Design Trend #3: Colored Cabinetry
All-white kitchens will always be a classic, but homeowners are looking to add a bit more personality to this workspace at home. Pantone’s color of the year is “Illuminating”, a bright, sunny yellow and designers are excited to see pops of this color in kitchens this year.
Not feeling quite that bold? There are plenty of color choices that still feel timeless — navy blues, deep greens, and warm cream and beige tones are all gaining popularity in kitchens in 2021. Plus, with the right shade, all of these can blend in with a variety of decor styles. So you get the personality of color in the kitchen with the timeless quality of a neutral. Win-win.
2021 Kitchen Design Trend #4: Minimalist Details
Kitchen cabinet upgrades in 2021 include more than a color makeover. Homeowners are opting for a sleek, streamlined look — with an emphasis on functionality — in their kitchens. “We’re seeing a big increase in slab-style laminate cabinetry,” explains Morris.
Many styles feature touch release doors or small cutout handles, so hardware isn’t necessary. This creates an open, airy look and makes wiping down surfaces a breeze. Not a bad thing with how hygiene-focused we’ve become.
On that same note, Steph says, she’s seen a huge increase in hands-free faucets, too.
2021 Kitchen Design Trend #5: Multi-Purpose Kitchen Islands
Open concept floor plans have dominated the last few decades, and most feature a large, rectangular kitchen island. While this certainly serves a purpose, homeowners are looking for a few tweaks to boost function and visual appeal.
First of all, the open concept kitchen might be less popular as people remodel since homeowners are craving more quiet, private spaces at home. But even if the floorplan remains open, it’s nice to break up the space visually. A multi-level island can hide prep dishes at dinner time — a serious perk for those who like a tidy space.
The raised surface helps keep prep and eating spaces separate and requires less legroom since the barstools are taller. So it might allow for a wider walkway in a smaller space.
2021 Kitchen Design Trend #6: Slab Backsplash
When everything else feels chaotic, it’s no wonder kitchen design trends in 2021 are clean, calm, and simple. In lieu of busier patterned tile, many designers and homeowners are drawn to solid slab backsplashes in the kitchen.
A slab backsplash also adds a touch of glamour and luxury, which can make all the at-home cooking feel a little more special. If you prefer a clean, solid backdrop, quartz offers a range of color choices and styles. Or, you can opt for marble or soapstone with unique veining to give your slab backsplash more personality and movement.
2021 Kitchen Design Trend #7: Statement Lighting
“Lighting is like the jewelry of the room,” explains Morris. “It gives you a chance to really let your style and personality shine.” And if you’ve watched any of Studio McGee’s Dream Home Makeover on Netflix this month, you’ve likely noticed the statement pendants and chandeliers Shea uses in each space.
Lighting is fun to play with because — compared to other elements in a kitchen remodel — it’s relatively inexpensive. You can still go classic and timeless with big-ticket kitchen elements like countertops and cabinets, then have a little fun with bolder lighting. From farmhouse to modern to a touch of glam, there’s pendant lighting out there that shares your style with the world.