Kitchen Trends 2021: Styles For The Heart Of The Home

During 2020, many people spent more time in their kitchens than they had in years, learning to bake sourdough, cooking nightly meals, and spending time with their families. In the process, they also learned a lot about their kitchens – what they liked and what wasn’t meeting their needs. These insights have inspired a variety of new kitchen designs that reflect the needs of modern families, with functional yet beautiful spaces that will transform the family command center into everyone’s favorite room.

Brighten Things Up

All-white kitchens are timeless, and some designers will always support this style, but the reality is that an all-white kitchen is only a practical choice if you don’t intend to use the room much. It’s hard to keep clean, and every little spot shows, which is why home cooks have gravitated toward bolder colors. Jewel and earth tones, in particular, are all the rage right now, so why not draw a little inspiration from PPG’s Palette of the Year

Grounded by a gentle beige, the paint company’s full palette also includes shades of turquoise and a warm, clay-like hue. The palette was curated to encourage mindfulness and calm and to make the kitchen a welcoming environment, perfect for encouraging families to gather at the table or cook together. The tones also pair well with some of the natural materials dominating modern design, including woven textures like rattan, terra cotta tiles, and reclaimed wood.

Upgrade Your Island

Islands are a kitchen element that go in and out of style because they can disrupt the flow of movement and can take up a lot of valuable space in smaller kitchens. If your kitchen has the room, though, an island is a must-have. Kitchen islands are a great way to add valuable workspace that’s less likely to be consumed by small appliances, offer bonus storage underneath, and can even be used to add an accent color to your space. 

Another advantage of adding an island to your kitchen is that they can be used to smartly manage or even disguise kitchen appliances, offering nooks for your microwave, mixer, and other frequently used pieces that can easily create visual clutter. This sort of trick – hiding away even the most commonly used appliances – will play a major role in modern kitchen design, helping to make the kitchen feel more like a family room or common space.

Get Smart

Smart home technology has been reshaping our homes for several years now, but until now, the kitchen hasn’t seen too much of an impact. Sure, many people rely on smart speakers to set kitchen timers or make recipe conversions, but there are much greater functional revelations on the horizon. 

If you’re making kitchen renovations or upgrading outdated appliances, expect to see a wider variety of smart appliances in stores. For example, today’s top of the line refrigerators are already capable of tracking product shelf life, helping users plan purchases, measuring product volume, and connecting with other appliances. Meanwhile, smart stoves can preheat remotely, warming up while you’re on the way home, and countless other appliances are being integrated into these home-wise smart systems. It’s not exactly a scene out of the movie Smart House, but we all saw how that went anyway – and it’s still pretty impressive.

 

Optimize Organization

One of the most important and pressing design challenges that homeowners noticed while spending more time in their kitchens was that there often wasn’t enough room to organize everything – at least not in ways that made sense. Well, say goodbye to cluttered pantries because the latest kitchen trends include plenty of storage, even when that means designing around small spaces. 

Among the top storage trends in modern kitchens include walk-in pantries and added freezer space. During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, people were stocking up on dry goods and kitchen staples, and quickly found they didn’t really have anywhere to keep those items. Standalone freezers and large pantries equipped with shelving and appropriate storage for staples like potatoes and onions help people feel more secure and eliminate clutter in main kitchen areas.

In addition to added food storage areas, expect that kitchen design upgrades will ditch the open shelving in favor of more traditional cabinets. Open shelving is too precarious and demands much more in terms of organization. Right now, kitchen design trends are headed in the opposite direction, favoring disguised storage over open styles.

Statement Makers

Our homes offer opportunities to put our personalities on display, but traditionally, the kitchen is one of the hardest rooms to do that with. You might put photos or kids’ art on the refrigerator, but in general, kitchens tend to be fairly similar. As an SNL skit once joked, bathrooms are beaches and kitchens are farms. In a perplexing contract of sorts, people seemed to decide that every kitchen was a farm or a coffee house. Well, not anymore.

Upgraded kitchen designs add personal flare through unconventional elements like statement ventilation hoods, custom backsplashes, and patterned tiles. Many homeowners have also had success bringing their kitchens to life by visiting local antique shops and other small businesses for one of a kind accent pieces.

A Different Open Plan

Open shelving may be out of style in today’s kitchens, but other open-plan influences are here to stay. In particular, after a period when open plan home design fell out of fashion, more designers are recommending opening the kitchen up to the living room. With everyone at home more, this type of design fosters togetherness and, hopefully, reduces the amount of yelling across the house. 

As homeowners and designers dive into kitchen renovations, they have some common goals. Reflecting on the challenges of 2020 and our changing relationship with our kitchens, there is a shared sense that kitchens need to be both functional and beautiful. And while most people don’t need professional quality facilities, they do want kitchens that reflect the room’s status in the home: a central space that brings everyone together and is about so much more than food. At its best, the kitchen is the heart of the home, and it should look the part.

 

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