It’s natural for home decor trends to come and go, but when you’re considering making a change in your kitchen—where renovations, appliances, and materials are particularly costly—there’s less room for error. You’re not switching out a throw pillow; changing things up in a kitchen could involve light fixtures, tiled backsplashes, or cabinets, none of which you can easily (or inexpensively) change on a whim.
“The kitchen is the heart of the home,” lifestyle expert Leslie Lehr tells The Spruce. “It is where the family spends the most time together and memories are shared," And with that, you should take any changes seriously, since you spend serious time in your kitchen.
While you should always go with your gut, designing your kitchen to reflect your style and lifestyle, it can be reassuring to get a second opinion, especially if you’re debating a bold backsplash or calming neutrals. That’s why we tapped design experts, including Lehr, to dish which outdated kitchen trends they’re sick of seeing and which trends they’re excited about, too.
Read on for their advice on what trends to ditch and which will stand the test of time.
Meet the Expert
- Leslie Lehr is a design, entertaining, and organizing expert.
- Andi Morse is an interior designer and the owner of Morse Design.
You know the look—when upper cabinets are one color and the lowers are painted another.
“This trend will not stick around,” interior designer Andi Morse of Morse Design says. “Cabinets are expensive, and you want to design them with longevity in mind. I think keeping them all one color is the way to go so you can ensure they outlast the trend.”
“Farmhouse kitchen decor is being sent out to pasture this year,” Lehr says. If you agree, you can give the rustic touches, like white shiplap walls and antique touches, a rest and opt for a slick, modern look instead.
Disproportionately Small Pendants
If the lighting over your kitchen island is awkwardly small, it throws off the balance of the entire space, Morse notes. “Very small pendants over a large kitchen island look inconsequential,” she says. “The island is the centerpiece of the kitchen."
To showcase that important space, where you gather for wine nights, help with kiddos' homework, and where you roll out dough for Christmas cookies, go big and bold with appropriately proportioned light fixtures.
Too Many Small Appliances
We’re not talking dishwashers or refrigerators here, as those will always have a place in a kitchen. Instead, Lehr advises against getting starry-eyed at small built-in kitchen appliances like coffee makers, toasters, and mixers. Why? Two reasons: first of all, they create a cluttered appearance. More importantly, technology changes so fast—and that top-of-the-line toaster will be old news by next year.
Bold Kitchen Backsplashes
If you’re debating between a standout backsplash—perhaps showcasing a bold pattern, color, or both—Lehr will gently nudge you to reconsider. “I prefer a natural stone slab that matches the countertops,” she says. “The look creates a calm and harmonious kitchen.”
What Trends Designers Are Loving
If you're wondering what direction to try instead in your kitchen, have no fear—designers are sharing the trends they are currently loving.
Drawers Instead of Cabinets
If you’re debating between adding drawers or cabinets to your kitchen space, Morse will gently nudge you toward the former. “Drawers are much easier to access and for storing items,” she says. “They also create clean lines in the kitchen.”
Show-Stopping Light Fixtures
“I say go big for pendants and overhead lights,” Morse says. “It's impactful, adds drama and interest, and helps to bring light into the kitchen.”
Before you swipe on a layer of poppy red paint in your kitchen, consider Lehr’s advice, as she is a big fan of peaceful hues. “Neutral palettes within the kitchen to create a tranquil and calm space,” she says. “I am excited about the light tones that uplift the room.”
“Clutter-free kitchens are always on trend, but especially this year,” Lehr says. Not sure where to start? First, remove kitchen gadgets you never use (goodbye, zucchini spiralizer), equipment that’s eternally dusty (turns out you’re not much of a baker, huh?), and unnecessary accents (kitchens are not the place for tchotchkes). Immediately you’ll feel a sense of relief in your open, inviting kitchen.
A Statement-Making Feature Wall
Think open shelving styled thoughtfully with beautifully curated accessories—cookbooks, plants, and family photos, perhaps. Or, go bigger. “A range or hood with personality can create a statement that celebrates the kitchen,” Lehr says.