Kitchen Trends in 2021
There was a time in the not too distant past when the kitchen was tucked away from the rest of the home. Behind the kitchen door, devoted homemakers rustled up grub for the family and did household chores. It was a private place, and certainly not somewhere to invite visitors.
Wow, how things have changed! Kitchens have gone up the rankings from being pretty much the least visible room in the house to being the most public. It’s where we still cook for sure, but it’s also where we eat, relax, socialise and even teach and work. It’s the hub of family life and the high traffic heart of the home. Kitchens walls have come tumbling down and that has opened up a world of kitchen design possibilities.
Image (above): Kreta Dekton Worktop
Kitchen design ideas
While plenty of things have changed about kitchens, some stay the same. Kitchens need to function well and that means the layout needs to make it work for getting food ready. The key elements are fridge, cooker and sink, linked by an all-important worktop.
But what about newer uses of kitchen space? There needs to be somewhere to eat, with the right seating. In the old days there might have been a small kitchen table, or a compact breakfast bar. But as kitchens have opened up, there’s room for bigger tables to seat the whole family or a group of friends.
Kitchen islands have also come into play. Islands work brilliantly in a number of ways. They can work as tables, but they also let the cook of the house face guests while they are chopping, mixing, kneading and prepping. By adding a hob to an iswing the cook to chat away while keeping an eye on whatever is bubbling away in the pans.
Larger tables and islands also mland, cooking becomes even more sociable alloake great workspaces where you can spread out office papers, school books and laptops – and you’re never far from the kettle for a cup of your favourite brew. There’s now even a trend for double islands to ensure a household has enough work and leisure space.
Image (right): Carrara Light Quartz Worktop
Kitchens and tech
Laptops are one example of how compact, portable tech go hand in hand with multi-use kitchen space. Mobiles are another as well as flat screen, wall mounted TVs. Add in Alexa, Siri, Nest and other voice control systems, and the kitchen becomes a fully connected hub for modern life.
Kitchens for relaxing
Kitchen design trends 2021 also see the kitchen becoming somewhere to kick back and relax on a comfy sofa, or sit around with mates after a feast at the table. With different zones in the same room, modern kitchens are set up for what’s become known as broken plan living, making the kitchen far and away the most important part of the home.
What colours are trending in kitchens in 2021?
There’s plenty of appetite for whites, neutrals and pastels in kitchens, with grey and beige (aka greige) trending well. Light surfaces, walls and colours always add a sense of airiness and space and they look gorgeous. Pale paints, stain and wood work well together, and subtle contrasts can be used to create extra interest a more inviting, carefully considered look. To give the look an extra lift, use pops of colour in wall tiles, cupboard doors or appliances.
On the other hand, there is also a growing taste for strong contrasts. It is at its most moody and dramatic in today’s black and white kitchens. There’s a strong design statement in combining white worktops and walls with black wood kitchen units. Add a cooker in either tone, and your kitchen will be right on trend. The theme can be taken through to the flooring too, with option including a traditional black and white checkerboard. For heightened drama, kitchen designers will use gold taps or door handles.
Image (above): Stoneworld Carrara Quartz Worktop
Image (left): Radium Dekton Worktop
Strong contrasts aren’t the only designs where black is trending. Black on black makes a strong, totally contemporary style statement that works brilliantly with natural black tones and textures. There are plenty of natural blacks to choose from, each of which can create a very original and unique look, especially if you match the mood with stylish modern lighting.
In a softer style, we are seeing a very tasteful trend for green and white kitchens. Green is calm and natural, and together with white, makes a kitchen a pleasant place to be. Green cabinets and white worktops are the place to start, with plenty of options to explore on cookers, fittings and appliances. Green can also link the kitchen to gardens and patios, especially for the increasing number of homes with large bi-fold doors or expansive sliding windows.
On a similar theme, kitchens with natural colours are on the rise. Greens, browns, off-whites and wood tones sit well together. They can be used in modern, linear designs or, for a more traditional look, add ornamentation such as brass cabinet handles or taps. For a kitchen with a modern look and something of a retro feel, a natural colour palette is a very good starting point.
Small kitchen ideas
The trend for pale, neutral and white kitchens works really well for small spaces. Pale hues such as pink and sandy are very on trend, and easily create a sense of a light, open space.
Designs which emphasise the linear also work brilliantly in smaller kitchens, for example, long, continuous worktops in a galley kitchen. Frameless kitchen cabinets reduce the sense of bitty, broken up space. Thoughtful lighting too is a key design consideration for small kitchens, with modern lighting solutions giving plenty of options on recessed spotlights, compact wall lights and under cupboard lighting including floor level lighting.
What materials are trending in kitchens?
Kitchen trends for materials fall neatly into the following categories:
Sleek, contemporary kitchens
For a clean, sharp look a kitchen needs flush, even surfaces on cabinets and worktops, and a minimal number of discrete appliances. Boiling water taps for example avoid the need for a kettle to be permanently on display. Long, unbroken runs of modern worktops such as Silestone or Dekton (available in lengths of up to 3200mm) create a striking effect and are hugely practical as well.
Other worktops which are first-class contenders for contemporary kitchens are from specialist manufacturers Caesarstone, Arenastone, Lundhs, Samsung Radianz and Lapitec. Quartz worktops also come in a range of clean, contemporary finishes.
Deep, dark greys or blacks combined with white or very pale hues create an intrinsically contemporary look, especially in linear kitchen layouts. Restraint in the colour palette is essential, but a few pops of bright orange or purple can add a dash of extra pizazz.
Back to nature kitchens
There’s a strong current taste for natural materials in kitchens. The effect is to echo a traditional look without a return to the ubiquitous pine of the 1970s and 1980s. Putting wood such as oak (painted or stained) together with marble or granite worktops brings the patterns and textures of nature into the modern home. If possible, it’s best to choose an actual piece of stone for your kitchen worktop, such as the stock of slabs available to see at County Stone.
In the right combination, the effect can be absolutely stunning. Details can add further nuances. For a retro vibe, try an overhead rack of kitchen utensils above an island – as seen in Nigella’s ‘Eat, Cook, Repeat’ series. Or add a contemporary touch with designer pendant lights.
The contemporary industrial look
Concrete is now getting a foothold in the kitchen. Polished concrete worktops and floors are right up to the minute in terms of looks, and they are also very practical. Cast in situ, they involve a process closer to building work than interior kitchen installation, but the result can be a strong contemporary design statement. Concrete partners well with brushed or polished steel, whether for splashbacks, fridges or cookers. That leaves a blank canvas for pops of bright or subtle colour.
For an alternative to concrete, it is definitely worth exploring the textured finishes available in composites such as Dekton. Textures give surfaces a very modern machined look, and can add a softer appearance to an otherwise hard-edged kitchen.
Which kitchen design features to choose?
The starting point for picking up on a kitchen trend is to choose what works for you. Remember that there are two approaches to any investment in your home – either to enjoy on your own terms or to add value for selling your home.
If you are going to stay in your home, a new kitchen that’s on trend and to your tastes will be a source of enduring pleasure. Given that we spend so much time in the kitchen, a glorious new kitchen is bound to be money that’s very well spent.
If you’re refitting a kitchen to add to your home’s sale price it’s worth bearing in mind that you need to create appeal for potential buyers. There’s an often quoted figure that a new kitchen can add 4%-7% to the value of your home, which provides a guide to how much you should spend.