Kitchen trends 2021 – the latest kitchen design trends and ideas for the year ahead

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If 2020 has all about green cabinetry with copper accents, what does 2021 have in store?

Looking to update your Kitchen? Perhaps you’d love a fashionable kitchen island, a bigger cooker, statement splashback or a whole new colour scheme. Or perhaps you only know what you really don’t want and are after some inspiration? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve asked the experts at leading retailers to share their thoughts and insights on the biggest kitchen trends set to dominate 2021. Plus, we’ve thrown in a few hot trends of our own.

Investing in any element of the kitchen can prove invaluable, for both while you live in your home but also when it comes to adding value for resale. Be inspired to make the right style choices for your home, with a look at the latest trends in Kitchen design…

Kitchen Trends 2021

1. Clever compact design

Whether narrow, square or broken plan, where space is at a premium compact kitchens come to the rescue. More and more kitchen design looks to benefit from minimal clutter and maximum efficiency.

‘When presented with a smaller space it is essential that the layout is carefully considered to make sure every inch of the kitchen is utilised’ says Ben Burbidge, managing director at Kitchen Makers. ‘Creating a bank of cabinetry along one wall is a great way of streamlining and opening up the space. Tall wall units are particularly suited to narrow, galley style kitchens as using this space ensures the area feels less cramped than if filled with larder style dressers.’

Ben goes on to advise, ‘Don’t be afraid to include an island or breakfast bar but try not to make the overall dimensions too big as it may restrict movement around the kitchen. Opting for an open or floating island will keep all areas accessible and provide additional seating opportunities. The area under the island’s worktop can offer ample space for storage and kitchen.’

2. Hot water on demand

‘Hot water taps are going to be a sought-after item for the kitchen of 2021,’ suggests Mark Staweczny, designer for Abode. ‘Going by recent sales of the Abode Pronteau range. Sales of our steaming hot water taps increased by 13 per cent in one month, from July to August this year. Spurred by more of us working from home and therefore wanting hot water on demand for making tea and coffee in between Zoom calls etc.

Google searches of hot water taps increased by 25 per cent in 2020, suggesting that this is definitely a trend to look out for in 2021.’

3. Dark surfaces

Our kitchens are following the fashion for taking surfaces to the dark side. ‘The trend for dark surfaces has emerged as a result of the shift towards two tone kitchens,’ explains Simon Boocock, managing director at CRL Stone. ‘Dark worktops and countertops can be offset by lighter furniture and bright ‘colour pops’ to ensure they work in any sized room and create an air of luxury and sophistication.’

‘Viewed by many as an accent colour, shades such as black and dark grey, when used on surfaces such as worktops, floors and splashbacks can be used to make a room feel very inviting. Particularly when combined with textured woods to add a rustic, homely charm.’

4. Downdraft extractors

Extractor fans are being reimagined for kitchens of the future. ‘There is a shift towards downdraft extraction systems which remove odours and vapours at their source, i.e. directly from the hob, and draw them downwards before they have a chance to permeate the air’ explains Willi Bruckbauer, founder of BORA.

‘This is particularly important in open-plan kitchen living spaces, where a head-height extractor hood above an island can create a visual barrier and conflict with the open-plan ambience. A downdraft extractor integrated into the hob gives greater creativity of design and taps into the trend for minimal, professional styling.’

5. Structured simplicity

The trend for streamline kitchens is set to reach new heights of popularity. This less-is-more minimalist approach creates a calming space with clean sweeping lines. This contemporary look is easy to achieve, with practicality being key, ‘It’s all about choosing high-quality materials and items that put strong lines and functionality at the forefront,’ explains Darren Watts, Wren Kitchens. ‘It’s essential to have integrated appliances and hidden storage to ensure the smooth look isn’t disrupted.’

You can update your existing kitchen with clever storage solutions to clear worktops.

6. Two-toned kitchens

Forget matchy-matchy, kitchens are becoming more blended as we enter a new decade. ‘The trend for combining two colours throughout kitchen cabinetry is set to soar in 2020/21,’ says Andy Briggs, interior designer for Optiplan Kitchens. ‘It’s a great approach to adding an interesting twist to your aesthetic and it can change the whole feel of the room. Opt for deep, dark units and contrast with brighter shades elsewhere in order to add depth and character to the space.’

The trend extends beyond just a contrasting paint colour on the walls. From the cabinets to the worktops, it gives you the freedom to explore different design elements. Andy goes on to say, ‘You can play around with rich textures such as wood grains, matt finishes or sleek laminate’. Using them juxtaposition creates instant interest.

7. Smart storage

In a time when we strive to declutter to for our overall wellbeing, with thanks to Marie Kondo, storage is key. Especially in kitchens where we need so many ‘things’, from the ingredients to the cooking equipment in which to make meals. Well-placed, concealed storage is a savour for the aesthetic of our kitchens.

‘One of the most desired design features will be the kitchen larder’, informs Ben Burbidge from Kitchen Makers.

8. Green cabinetry and accessories

In recent years it’s all been about navy, but expect to see more green in kitchens going forward. Most likely to take the form of tiles and cabinetry, in tones of emerald and forest green.

The trend for bold dark hues was prominent throughout 2020, and as we move in to 2021, green kitchen cabinetry is set to be a new, key style,’ says Hayley Simmons, Head of Merchandising for Magnet. ‘Green can be equally dramatic and luxurious when used in the kitchen, and new for 2020, Magnet has launched two debut Magnet Create finishes in varying hues of the contemporary colour: Green Olives and Forest Walk.’

‘Deep forest greens can be balanced out with latte shades, smoky glass and soft metallics to bring opulence to the kitchen. The addition of white marble and brass through design aspects like lighting and worktops, or even accessories, help to bounce the light around the space and offset the heavier hues.’

9. Brooding blue hues

While green is the front runner, shades of navy blue continue to be a huge trend for kitchen cabinet choices.

‘The more sophisticated and dramatic colour choice when it comes to kitchens, midnight blue has been an emerging trend recently,’ explains Iain McColgan, Director of Showrooms at B&Q. The home improvement giant report this stylish hue experienced a 45 per cent uplift in Pinterest searches over the past year. The growing popularity has resulted in the introduction of B&Q’s affordable new GoodHome Artemisia kitchen.

Iain goes on to suggest, ‘the smart shade stands out even more against light worktops and when paired with silver accents.’

10. Calming paint colour schemes

While darker colours  still hugely dominate cabinets going forward, we’re seeing a growing trend for serene paint choices for walls and free-standing furniture pieces.

‘Give your kitchen a new lease of life by reinvigorating it with gentle, soft colours’ suggests Andy Briggs, interior designer at Optiplan Kitchens. ‘Introducing calming qualities to the home will be key in 2021 and notes of dusky pink, soft grey and sage green will bring a refreshing feel.

Soft paint shades, such as Brave Ground, Dulux’s Colour of the Year for 2021, will create a sense of calm in even the busiest of kitchens.

11. Statement taps

No kitchen is complete without them, so it’s high time we let them shine!

‘Brass, industrial-looking taps with unusual handles and interesting features are a great way to draw the eye and compliment the space,’ suggests Darren Watts, Design Director at Wren Kitchens. He goes on to suggest how to keep the look streamlined, ‘pair with similar finishes for cupboard and draw grips to keep a consistent style.’

12. Concealed appliances

While there will be an abundance of tech and new gadgets in our kitchens in 2021, we don’t want to necessarily see them.

‘The appetite for discreet storage is expected to grow,’ says Ben Burbidge from Kitchen Makers. ‘Homeowners are scrutinising the aesthetic of the appliances they are integrating into their kitchens and so concealment solutions, that create a streamlined finish without impacting the style, are a key consideration.’

So how can we have the latest alliances without them taking over our kitchens? Ben advises, ‘Concealing these appliances can take the form of simple cabinetry to hide a fridge or dishwasher. Or a storage design that minimises counter top small appliances. A hidden station, which keeps the kettle and toaster from cluttering the worktop, and helps to create a dedicated area to sit and enjoy breakfast will be popular.’ A tea and toast station – sounds good to us.

13. Living room furnishings

With the rising popularity of open-plan living it’s no surprise to see that living room furnishing growing in popularity in our kitchens. Now more than ever Kitchens are the heart of our homes, so creating a comfortable well presented space has never been more important.

Lighting has more freedom within the modern kitchen. With statement pendants being used to dressed  the aesthetic more and more. While the use of spotlights or down-lights are still key, there’s a trend for making the kitchen feel more like our living rooms – lighting plays a key role in this.

‘Our Quinlet is the latest addition to join our pendant family. It delicate, non-intrusive design gives customers an alternative style for statement kitchen lighting, ‘ say Rohan Blacker, founder at Pooky. ‘It moves away from the individual pendants more commonly used in kitchens and dining spaces.’

14. Bold as brass finishes

We’re seeing more and more warming tones of brass in modern kitchens. Brass is the ideal shade for enhancing on-trend blues and green cabinetry, while adding a sophisticated touch. ‘Ironmongery can elevate the style of a kitchen and create an interesting feature’ according to the experts at Harvey Jones.

Often overlooked, attractive taps, hinges, knobs and handles can really transform a kitchen design. It’s the finishing touches that can make or break a scheme.

15. Modern twists on tradition

While traditional styles remain popular, such as Shaker-style cabinetry, the way to do traditional for 2020 is in a modern on-trend colour. This is exactly what Magnet have done with the brand new Classic Shaker kitchen, seen here looking striking in a brooding shade of navy.

Choose traditional designs but opt for a statement contemporary colour to give kitchens a modern twist.

16. Industrial style

‘In kitchen design, the use of raw materials which are rich in tones and texture will definitely continue to rise in popularity for 2020,’ explains Darren Watts, Design Director at Wren Kitchens Showroom.

‘The Metallic Amber, Gold and Rust alongside Copper Slate and Italian Concrete offer a unique aesthetic which is proving exceptionally popular for that on trend industrial look.’

17. Dining islands

We all know that islands and breakfast bars can provide a spot for casual dining, as well as workspace and storage. However, Paul Jenkinson of LochAnna Kitchens sees this trend reaching a whole new level with dining islands.

‘This is where the kitchen island features an extension island dining area meaning you get the storage benefits of an island but also the addition of integrated dining,’ he explains. ‘When entertaining, we want to be able to integrate both cooking and socialising and what better way to do so than with built-in island seating.’

‘With our new FORM collection we have introduced an industrial breakfast bar leg to help simplify the application, making it even easier to achieve your dream kitchen layout,’ Jenkinson adds.

18. Statement floors

The trick here is to let the floor do all the talking – and keep everything else relatively minimal. A modern kitchen like this can be styled with handle-free cabinetry in one of the greyscale tones that feature in the tiles. Avoid wall cabinets – use open shelves instead – and top any base units with a sleek white work surface in a hardwearing composite.

Statement tiles can be extremely effective if zoning an open-plan kitchen. Here, they sit beautifully against wooden planks that bring warmth to the bright space.

19. Broken-plan kitchens

Open-plan kitchens have revolutionised the way we cook and entertain, but they do have their niggles. For a start, where do you hide all the dirty pots and pans from dinner guests? So if you’re after a little more privacy, broken plan might be for you.

The concept is simple – take an open-plan design but add in a freestanding shelf unit or raised breakfast bar to create separation without the need for a full-on wall.

‘This more zoned approach is an evolution of open-planned living and allows for a more sociable experience for everyone,’ says Daniele Brutto, co-founder of Hub Kitchens.

20. Grid tiling

Rectangular ‘metro’ tiles have been the go-to for kitchens in the last few years. But is their reign about to come to an end? Square tiles laid in a grid formation – usually with a much darker grout – look modern and striking, particularly in white. For glamour, you could try edging the tiles in gold, as seen above.

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