Planning a kitchen remodel is difficult for many homeowners, and it’s not hard to see why. There are just so many decisions to make. To boil it down, you have to deal with two key questions: what do you want, and what might a prospective buyer of your home in the future want? In other words, you need to reconcile your personal taste with what the popular kitchen trends are right now—and most likely will be in the future.
In this article, we’ll review what kitchen colors and designs are trending at the moment. We’ll also discuss which trends are likely to stay popular, compared to those that could lose their steam in coming years.
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What are the kitchen trends for 2021?
There’s no question that kitchen design in 2021 is at least in part shaped by the events of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many families spending more time at home. This meant turning kitchen islands into home offices and classrooms. It meant more meals cooked at home, and kitchens serving as makeshift break rooms for those working or learning in new spaces. Here’s the upshot: the future keyword for American kitchens is versatility.
COVID-19 has inspired—or accelerated—several other kitchen trends. Unsurprisingly, pantry space is in high-demand. So are in-cabinet organization features, such as pull-out pot and pan holders. Today’s homeowners want to maximize the utility of their kitchen, which means being able to store more in less overall space.
Of course, not every design trend has to do with functionality. Some hot kitchen trends have everything to do with form. Wood finishes for cabinets are in right now—we’ll review more about this below. So are straightforward kitchens that feature a splash of color as part of a kitchen island, a backsplash, or even an appliance. One seemingly strange, yet increasingly popular, trend involves installing two kitchen islands in an open-concept kitchen, maximizing the surface area for cooking, baking, or just hanging out.
With any of these trends, it’s important to remember that more conservative styles haven’t necessarily gone out-of-style. Homeowners are still opting for granite countertops, white cabinets—more on this below—and stainless steel appliances. There’s just more diversity now in what you can do with a kitchen.
What is the most popular kitchen cabinet color for 2021?
There’s a key difference between “most popular” and “most trendy.” Obviously, the most popular kitchen cabinet color is white. But, that’s a little boring. So, let’s talk about a particularly trendy color choice: mint green. While it’s not the right fit for every kitchen, more and more homeowners are turning to this light, subtle green shade for their kitchens, incorporating it into wall paint, their tile backsplash, and even their cabinets.
Why mint? While not as bold as, say, forest green, mint green combines some of the best elements of blue and green shades into one color. It’s a peaceful color that makes your kitchen feel more connected to the natural world, promoting clean eating and living.
If you’re thinking about mint, just make sure you go with a shade that’s more subtle than the bright pastels that are commonly available. You want your use of this color to be subtle.
Are white cabinets going out of style soon?
Here’s the short answer: no. Look at pictures from any new kitchen, and you’re likely going to see white cabinets. White cabinets remain popular for several reasons. First, they impart a clean, simple look to the kitchen that homeowners just can’t get enough of. Design-wise, they’re incredibly versatile, and can be paired with a wide variety of granite or quartz colors. Finally, they remain in-style, as seen in numerous home remodeling TV shows.
It’s impossible to know for sure when the reign of white cabinets will come to an end. It is true that more and more homeowners are opting for either warmer cabinet colors, or the vibrancy and authenticity of natural wood. But, the majority of people remodeling their kitchen eventually come around to the idea of white cabinets. They’re just too versatile to be pushed out of the spotlight.
If you’re remodeling your kitchen and considering white cabinets, you can rest easy knowing that there’s still years worth of mileage left in this dominant design style.
Are oak cabinets coming back in style?
It’s said that all styles come back around eventually. There was a point in the early 00’s where oak cabinets were entirely supplanted by other cabinet styles. Seen as a relic of the early 90’s, the oak cabinets of yesteryear had a major issue: they didn’t look all that great paired together with the then-prevalent styles of granite countertops.
However, oak cabinets are currently in the middle of making a comeback. There are several possible reasons for this. First, homeowners are looking for warmth and authenticity in their kitchens. Natural wood checks all the boxes. It certainly helps that today’s oak cabinets look a lot better than those your home had growing up. Finally, while certain oak cabinets still don’t pair well with certain types of granite, there are now far more options available—including quartz countertops.
In other words, if you’re really liking the look of oak, don’t be afraid to embrace it and add it to your kitchen.
Is grey still in style?
Absolutely. Grey and charcoal cabinets actually have a lot in common with white cabinets: homeowners admire their simplicity and how easy they are to pair with different types of countertops. We may be moving out of “peak” grey—there was a point in time about five years ago where everyone was going with grey cabinets!—but they’re certainly not going anywhere. If you choose grey for your kitchen cabinets today, your kitchen will still be in style a decade from now.
What colors never go out of style?
We’ve already discussed a few of them: white, grey, and charcoal. It’s hard to go wrong with neutral colors—unless the homeowners of tomorrow get a lot more bold with their color choices, muted or neutral colors will always have a place in the kitchen. After all, neutral colors are a bit future-proofed: if you do want to introduce more color to your kitchen down the road, you can do so using colorful appliances, backsplash, or paint. In contrast, you can’t really remove color from bright blue or yellow cabinets.
As we’ve seen in past years, it’s possible for oak and natural wood colors to go in-and-out of style. But, if you really like the look, you can and should go for it in your kitchen. Many design experts believe the current trend of natural wood is here to stay. Homeowners are looking for warmth and comfort from their kitchens. Oak, wood, and stone delivers that in spades.