Reality Calls for 2021 Kitchen Design Trends


After an entire year of spending maximum hours in the kitchen, many people have learned from that experience and are now changing their opinion as to what constitutes a truly great kitchen. Whether this translates into a remodel of an existing kitchen, or to different specifications for a new layout in a newly constructed home, kitchens are not going to be the same as they were prior to the pandemic. Here are a few trends which are now starting to show up in kitchen designs nationwide.

The first kitchen design trend is all about layout. L-shaped kitchens are reportedly on the rise. What this really means is that there are people who want what is effectively a private kitchen nook away from everyone else where they can work without interruption.

A converse trend is one towards open design kitchens, which are exposed to full interaction with other people in the communal living spaces of the home. Half walls allow full view of what is going on outside the kitchen and allows the occupant to participate in any family activities taking place.

In either case, kitchen islands are taking on new missions and demanding more floor space. Some islands are now being extended and repurposed into de facto kitchen tables as well as prep spaces.


These trends are traceable to more efficient use of space as America begins to gradually downsize from its love affair with the McMansions. Yet high end homes continue to be built with all the newest bells and whistles. One of those bells is ringing in the new concept of an attached prep kitchen where messes can be made in the back without overwhelming the orderliness of the main kitchen.

A recent trend has been towards more open shelving on the upper bank of cabinetry, but someone has shifted into reverse. This is probably due to the impossibility of keeping such spaces clean in any kitchen that actually gets used on a regular basis. Designers appear to be splitting the difference by incorporating a lot of glass front cabinets and turning down the volume on open shelving.

Stark contrast seems to have a part to play in the 2021 design equation. Match a light countertop with a deep ebony sink, for example, and you have a spot that really draws the eye in fascination.

There are of course many other 2021 design trends, but it remains an open question as to whether they are actual enduring trends or just fads that will last a year or two and then fade. It may simply be too early to tell on some things.

Green seems to be the most heavily promoted new trend of 2021, yet it is hard to escape the suspicion that this is more of a top-down selection rather than a bottom-up preference. There has not been any organic demand for green kitchens since the avocado craze of the 1970s and the new green kitchens are very heavily into dark green. They do look great now, but will they age well is the question.

Exotic tile patterns are also in vogue this year. Again, will their charm endure, and do you have plenty of spare tiles out in the shed? Finding a replacement for a colorful fish scale tile may not be easy after a couple of years.

In summation, there is a lot to like about the 2021 designs. They are more practical than those of the previous year. Materials, layout, and features all seem intended for actual and increasing use as opposed to being a sort of culinary showroom.


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