11 Kitchen Design Trends in 2021

White kitchen cabinets with gray countertops and wooden shelves

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto

Whether you're planning an entire kitchen remodel this year or mulling over a few DIY kitchen updates to refresh your space, you are probably curious what trends are in and which are on their way out. Today, kitchen designs are shifting away from the standard white or neutral space, and homeowners are embracing bolder, brighter colors instead.

From the layout to the finishes, this year is a turning point for kitchen design. Here, we've rounded up the biggest trends designers expect to see in kitchen styles for 2021. If you're hunting for inspiration for that big kitchen project, read on.

  • 01 of 11

    Try Going Dark in the Kitchen

    Kitchen with black cabinets

    Anne Sage

    The past decade has been all about white, bright kitchens. Homeowners shifted away from natural wood cabinets and dark granite, and instead painted everything white. Designer Anne Sage says this is the year that white kitchens finally take a backseat.

    "After years of bright, white kitchens being the norm, cabinets and countertops are going dark," she says. "I'm seeing tons of beautiful black marble, earthy walnut, and midnight greens."

    Quick Tip

    Want to get this look without a whole renovation? Sage recommends painting your cabinets—going dark is a much easier DIY than going light, so you don't need to call in the professionals.

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  • 02 of 11

    Add a Dutch Door

    Blue kitchen with dutch door

    Will Brown Interiors

    As many homeowners decide to buckle down and stay put in their current house, they are also looking for ways to make it even more functional. Will Brown of Will Brown Interiors predicts a return of the Dutch door.

    "I recently helped a client renovate his kitchen from a sad and dated state to something that was completely transformative and functional, yet affordable," he says. "The key was to keep the charm, such as the Dutch door that we gave a fresh coat of paint."

    Instead of getting rid of your charming vintage features, find a way to update them and keep them in your space.

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  • 03 of 11

    Realign Your Backsplash

    Blue kitchen with backsplash

    Will Brown Interiors

    When it comes to backsplashes, Brown also expects to see a stylistic shift this year. If you're sick of the horizontal subway tile look, consider realigning your backsplash to create a more vertical appearance. "We’re seeing entire slabs going up across the back walls in kitchens for a more sleek and modern look. That same premise is applying to tile, too," he says.

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  • 04 of 11

    Experiment with Open Shelving

    Open shelving

    Design: Sarah Fultz

    Photography: Matti Gresham

    Though open shelving is not an incredibly new concept, expect to see it become even more popular this year, says Designer Sarah Fultz.

    "There has been a major decluttering/excess-purging movement for homeowners in the last year," she says. "People were once afraid of the loss of storage that open shelving seemed to bring, but they've now come to see how this design element actually marries beauty and function."

    Open shelving is a great way to force yourself to declutter and keep only the necessities in your kitchen.

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  • 05 of 11

    Swap Out the Hardware

    Kitchen with black cabinetry

    Design: Sarah Fultz

    Photography: Matti Gresham

    If you decide to create a bold, eye-catching kitchen with paint this year, take the look to the next level and swap out your hardware, too. Fultz predicts homeowners will embrace unique, dramatic hardware, like these black knobs that blend in with the crisp black cabinetry.

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  • 06 of 11

    Keep it Natural

    Kitchen with green cabinets and natural wood island

    Design: Ashley Montgomery Design

    Photography: Lauren Miller

    Another big cabinetry trend to expect this year, says Will Brown, is a reemergence of natural wood. While homeowners used to despise brown wood cabinets, he's seeing more of them going back to the basics and embracing the natural look.

    If you're not ready to commit to an entirely brown or wood kitchen, consider a natural wood island, or focus just on the lower cabinets to create a two-tone look instead.

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  • 07 of 11

    Add Art to Your Kitchen

    Kitchen with bold wallpaper

    Casa Watkins Living

    If you've never considered adding artwork to your kitchen, this is the year to try it out. Expect to see more framed portraits and pieces of art pop up in the kitchen. This is a fun way to add more personality to your kitchen and give it a simple makeover without a renovation.

    If you have exposed shelving, we love propping art up and leaning it against the wall for a more casual, laid-back vibe.

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  • 08 of 11

    Consider Streamlined Cabinetry

    Green kitchen with streamlined cabinetry

    Naked Kitchens

    As much as we love a good shaker cabinet, many homeowners are embracing a more streamlined, modern look these days. Expect to see many kitchens with fewer embellishments and simple lines, especially in open-concept kitchens.

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  • 09 of 11

    Move Away From Open Concept

    Kitchen with blue backsplash

    Cathie Hong

    Though there was once a day when realtors thought the only kitchen that could sell a home was an open-concept one, that is no longer the case. This year, more homeowners are embracing the work-from-home culture, and that means the desire to add a greater sense of privacy throughout the home.

    We predict to see a return of the formal dining room this year. Though open-concept homes work for many families, those who find themselves spending more and more time at home may want more dedicated spaces instead.

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  • 10 of 11

    Try Two-Toned Cabinets

    Kitchen with two tones

    Cathie Hong Interiors

    Another cabinetry trend Will Brown expects to see is more two-toned kitchens. Not only does this look create dimension and a bit of visual interest for your kitchen, but it also "adds a jolt of bright optimism and colorful personality into kitchens that get daily use," he says.

    Quick Tip

    When going for a two-toned look, keep the upper cabinets lighter than the bottom. This balances the space and helps it to feel more open and spacious, especially if you're short on natural light.

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  • 11 of 11

    Ditch the Stainless Steel

    White cabinetry and appliances

    D Burns Interiors

    If you're in need of new appliances this year, consider straying from the typical stainless steel look. We've seen more and more homeowners opt for appliances in various colors. Here, the white refrigerator almost blends into the cabinets to make the kitchen appear larger and more open.

    If you're into the vintage look, you can find modern appliances designed to appear retro. This is a fun way to add personality to your space without giving up the modern luxuries that smart appliances offer.

Read More: 9 Amazing Home Renovations That Cost Less Than $5,000