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The Best Kitchen Design Trends of 2021

It's never been more true than in this past year: the kitchen is the unsung hero of the home. In a typical year, our kitchens serve our families relentlessly through every weeknight meal, Saturday pancake breakfast, and Thanksgiving dinner. But this past year, they’ve expanded their roles as we all collectively struggled simultaneously through cooking fatigue (I really missed takeout in the early days of the pandemic), homeschooling, and working from home.

So many of our clients are looking to refresh or renovate their kitchens, and we’ve been keeping a close eye on items that are trending.

Do I think that you should invest in a here-today-gone-tomorrow trend? No – not with something as permanent as your kitchen design.

Do I think these things below are here to stay? Absolutely!

Read on to find out about the best developments in kitchen design - without being a passing trend - and what details can make yours unique!

Dark and Moody Cabinets

Sure, an all-white shaker cabinet kitchen always looks timeless and fresh, but we’ve seen a HUGE interest in darker and dramatic cabinetry lately. From the uber-popular deep black to moss green, darker colors are definitely making a comeback. They give a kitchen personality and add loads of visual interest. If you’re worried about your kitchen being too dark, you can always pair them with lighter countertops and backsplash selections, and be sure that your design includes plenty of lighting.

Or Warm it Up with Wood

For those of you who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, you may have a visceral reaction to honey oak cabinets like I do. (Must.Paint.Now). But now, wood cabinetry, albeit in a completely different way, is on its way back into kitchens everywhere.

It has a unique ability to instantly warm up a space with its organic look and feel, and with the variety of gorgeous options out there, you can go from pale oak to deep walnut.

Don’t want to commit to it everywhere? Try it out on the island, and you’ll instantly get a welcoming space where everyone wants to gather.

Appliances Get Smarter

Each year, appliances get more sophisticated in all that they can help us do. Many manufacturers have appliances that are more energy-efficient and allow for more automation than ever before. A few of our favorites include:

  • Food waste is a real problem, and in the interest of reducing waste, Subzero refrigerators have preservation technology that keeps fruits and vegetables fresher for 20% longer. When you think about the fact that the average American household wastes nearly 500 pounds of food (worth at least $600 or more) a year, those savings add up, and have a positive impact on the environment!

  • GE Smart Ovens and Ranges have an app that lets you remotely preheat your oven from anywhere (perfect when you’re rushing home on a weeknight), change the oven temperature, and adjust cooking timers all from your phone. There’s also an in-oven camera so that you can see what’s cooking - no more "oven hover"!

  • Have you ever been at the grocery store and can’t remember if you need eggs? Samsung’s Smart Refrigerator links to their Family Hub app, where you can look inside your fridge from your phone, find recipes based on what’s in there, and even order the things that you’ve run out of! Plus, their integrated smart screen on the fridge door lets you peek inside...without having to open the door!

Integrated Cabinetry Pulls …. Or None at All!

I spend a LOT of time with clients talking about cabinetry hardware, and it’s a fantastic way to add another layered element to your kitchen’s design. But we’re seeing more people opt of traditional hardware and choose pieces that are integrated into the cabinetry itself. It’s right at home with the way that kitchens are trending in a cleaner, more minimalist designs.

Integrated Pulls

Integrated pulls are built into the cabinet itself, and have a low profile with an inward-beveled edge so that you can wrap your fingers around one side and pull them open. It’s a bespoke way to customize your cabinetry with a clean design aesthetic that lets other elements shine.

Push Latches

For a completely minimalistic look, you can use a push latch, which is a magnetic or mechanical device that allows you to press on the door and have it spring open. It’s a perfect option for flat panel cabinets, especially when they’ve got a pretty grain on the front:

Beyond Stainless Sinks

For years, kitchen sinks have been the workhorses – tirelessly accepting those dirty dishes, scalding hot pasta water, and your leftovers that are headed for the garbage disposal. And for a long time, they’ve been crafted from stainless steel for durability.

Now, there are a whole new set of options in granite and quartz composite sinks. These sinks offer an amazing blend of durability and stain resistance, plus come in a range of colors beyond stainless! Solera and Blanco are just two manufacturers that offer a huge variety of shapes, sizes to fit your preference of double or single bowl sinks, and an array of colors that will coordinate with your countertops perfectly!

Tile everything!

With the advent of open shelving several years ago, we’ve been more carefully considering our backsplash areas and beyond. Tile isn’t just a practical way to keep mom’s almost-famous recipe for spaghetti sauce off of a painted wall, but also a way to add interest to your kitchen through the color, pattern and texture.

More often, we’re seeing tile that extends beyond the typical 18 inches between the countertop and the upper cabinets – we’re seeing it go the ceiling around windows, behind range hoods, and as the backdrop for open shelves.

Range Hoods that Stand Out…. Or Blend Right In

In the world of range hoods, there’s not much in between lately!

Some kitchens full-on feature the range hood as a showstopping centerpiece of a kitchen. Apron styles often feature metal strapping (see first photo below), and come in a myriad of colors, shapes and finishes. They’re often used in more traditional or transitional style kitchens.

There are so many custom hoods available now, often made out of plaster, wood, copper, brass or stainless steel, to perfectly complement a space. The key is finding a shape and finish that fits with the overall aesthetic of your kitchen’s design.

And finally, the pendulum swings the other way in with hoods that blend seamlessly into the cabinetry of the kitchen. These are custom built to replicate the existing upper cabinetry within a kitchen:

Don't forget - in a kitchen, the details make the design!

With so many options, it's easy to feel overwhelmed! Let us help with a customized design, tailored to your individual needs and preferences with our Kitchen Design Service. Start the conversation with a complimentary Design Discovery Call today!

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