Design Trends in 2021 Kitchens

Unlike years past, 2021 was marked by one game-changer in particular, as well as the preceding year: COVID-19. Even though the surges will eventually decrease and we will return to a new normal, the virus has left its mark on many things, as kitchen design is one of them.

The NKBA’s (National Kitchen and Bath Association) “Design Trends 2021 Study” tells us all about the changes that coronavirus brought to new kitchen design, and the other design trends that are prominent this year. Here are some of the highlights from the study. 50 percent of the people who were surveyed were designers, and the remaining correspondents were specialists, manufacturers, showroom professionals, dealers, and others.

Accommodating Working from Home

Because most people switched into a work-from-home role, and because many kids had to stay at home from school, working from home became the norm. And this was not always confined to an office or a bedroom - potentially because many homes do not have offices at all. This means that kitchens are becoming multi-functional. Expect to see more layouts that are geared toward seating that allows for work to be done. Think chairs set up at a kitchen island, and more open spaces.

This means that L-shaped designs are more popular because they allow for large kitchen islands. The most popular new layout option was actually opting to remove kitchen walls entirely, in order to open the space larger into other areas - 64% of correspondents voted for this option.

Saying Goodbye to Traditional

Traditional style has ranked in the top three of studies for most popular style for years. However, in 2021 it is seeing a new place as tenth on the list. On the contrary, natural style shot up to the top three. 50% of people in the NKBA study said that it is an up-and-coming style for the next few years, so renovating your kitchen in an organic and natural style will be the trending option for years to come. The only styles that rank higher are contemporary at 55%, and transitional at 53%. Overall, designers said that taste is trending on creating clean and natural spaces using recycled materials.

Moving it Outdoors

Speaking of keeping things organic and natural, exterior kitchens got an extreme boost in popularity in 2021 so far. Many restaurants and other establishments had to rethink their outdoor spaces, which lead to the same thing with homeowners. 

20% of respondents said that the increase in outdoor kitchens was significant. Outdoor areas are getting enhanced with better seating, fireplaces, and opening up an existing kitchen to the outdoors, or creating a new kitchen entirely. Outdoor spaces won’t just be for the warm months anymore - people are looking to use the area year-round. 

Keeping it Medium

70% of all participants said that they worked on medium-sized kitchens, which are anywhere between 150 and 350 square feet. The spend for these kitchen remodels was between $40,000 and $55,000. 

Looking at Appliances

70% of respondents said that standard-door dishwashers will still be the way to go in 2021, while two-door dishwashers were fairly far behind at 36%. Cooktop appliances were in a much closer battle, where 47% were in favor of gas, and 44% were in favor of induction. Stainless steel is expected to remain as one of the most popular appliance materials, with 74% of that being regular stainless steel, and 39% being black stainless steel. Separate oven and cooktop units will still reign over a range configuration.


Choosing Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets favor painted wood as the door-facing material, which follows the trend of creating an organic style in the kitchen. Full wood grain was at 52%. The styles of the cabinet doors are most popular with slab tops or flat panels, at 78%. Following behind that were recessed panels at 6%. 


Cabinet colors still remain popular in light hues, like white and gray. 68% of people said that whatever color their cabinets were, they wanted their kitchen island to be a different color. In general, the most popular colors for kitchens overall were white and off-white, with beiges coming in second. Following that were blues, which is a rising trend in kitchen colors.


Beefing Up Technology

Creating new technology in kitchens has been on the rise for years now, and is not slowing down in 2021. Going along with the work from home trend, people most wanted integrated areas for laptops and mobile device charging and viewing. They also are seeking video communication areas. Voice activated lighting controls remain a priority, as well as making sure the kitchen has emergency detectors for events like power outages, gas leaks, or floods.


At Reico Kitchen & Bath, we have been in the business for decades. That means we have seen a lot of trends come and go. We will be able to spot the ones that are going to make homeowners happy with their kitchen remodels and bathroom renovations, and the ones that probably should just remain trends. With an expert eye, we will guide you through your renovation step by step so you know exactly what you should expect. Contact us today for any of your kitchen and bathroom needs, and we would be happy to assist you with the smallest to the biggest questions you might have.

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