Kitchen design trends 2021 – 15 looks to bring your kitchen up to date

All our fave kitchen trends in the same place so you can get inspired to start planning your 2021 update

Harvey Jones blue kitchen
(Image credit: Harvey Jones)

2021 going to be the year you finally update your kitchen? After the year we have had we think a good freshen up of your space is the least you can treat yourself to – be it a whole new kitchen or just a few new stylish accessories. So to help you pick out the perfect on trend pieces and styles, we have asked the experts, trawled social media and picked out some of our own fave new looks and brought all of the best kitchen design trends together into one handy gallery...

Oh and if you want even more kitchen ideas to help your plan your makeover (be it big or small) head over to our full feature. 

1. Kitchen shelving 

Devol dark grey kitchen

(Image credit: Devol)

Pinterest's much anticipated (by us anyway) trend report, showed that search kitchen shelving was up 130% towards the end of this year, so this pretty but practical storage solution is set to be a huge kitchen trend for 2021. We are hardly surprised, mixing in some open shelving ideas in your kitchen, no matter what the size just brings in a bit of extra personality and interest to the space. 

2. Textures in a kitchen 

Industrial style kitchen island

(Image credit: Ikea/Benjamin Edwards)

Layer up on those textures in your kitchen. This could be something as small as stacking up your wooden chopping boards to adding in an island that contrasts the texture of your kitchen cabinets. 

'With all that has occurred in 2020, clients have become very aware of the connect  to the space they live. From this need to bond with our homes, we are seeing a revived sense of layering. Clients are layering up on texture and adding personal touches through surface treatments, soft goods and styling accents. Layering texture is a great way to showcase personal style and ensure the room has a richness to it.' Says Melissa Kink, Head of Design at Harvey Jones. 

3. Dark kitchens 

deVOL kitchen

(Image credit: deVOL)

We've always been fans of a black kitchen but recently we have been seeing them everywhere and this deeper more dramatic hues seem more popular, and more accessible than ever. For a more fresh look keep walls and countertop light, but if you really want to create that cocooning feel, match the walls to the cabinets and add in accents of copper too. 

4. Two toned kitchens

Harvey Jones kitchen trends

(Image credit: Harvey Jones)

Two tone kitchens have been all over Instagram lately, and we love the fresh, colorful look they bring to a kitchen. You could go with the classic, island contrasting your kitchen cabinets, or you could pick a different color for your wall and floor cabinets. Think outside the box too, pick two colors for your walls and floors or go for a bold splashback – the combinations are endless. 

5. Painting kitchens 

Harvey Jones blue kitchen

(Image credit: Harvey Jones)

We have tried and tested painting kitchen cabinets and can confirm it's easy to DIY and totally changes the look of your kitchen, so everyone looking for a budget-friendly kitchen update in 2021 should give it a go. 

Kitchens can be costly investments and aren’t easily interchangeable, using paint to add a splash of color to walls, cabinet fronts, tiles, or shelving unit is not only cost-effective but also allows for a unique burst of creativity and personality to be injected with ease. We’ve seen a significant rise in sales of paint for these types of jobs and interestingly the darker hues have been most popular, especially deep blues and greens.' explains Helen Shaw, Benjamin Moore UK (opens in new tab) Director.

6. Pantry storage

cottage kitchen shelves

(Image credit: Future / Kasia Fiszer)

The Home Edit, Marie Kondo, speeding clean videos, our love of storage is going strong into 2021. Pantries are on everyone's kitchen wish list for 2021 and are becoming must-have in a kitchen redesign. And you know what, you actually don't need acres of space to add one to your kitchen – pantry cupboards, clever use of space, it's possible just check out our pantry storage ideas as proof. 

7. Slab splashbacks 

deVOL kitchen with marble slab splashback

(Image credit: deVOL)

Want to add something special to your kitchen design? A slab splashback is a massive kitchen trend for 2021 and can make a real statement in any sized space.

'Slab splashbacks are a great trend to give instant wow factor,' explains Harvey Jones' head of design Mellissa Klink. 'Because the application isn't being used as the main worktop, this opens up a variety of other options like specialized marble and porous stone.'

8. Natural wooden cabinetry

A move to the North East gave Caroline Briggs a chance to indulge her passion for reclaimed treasures and create a unique home with inspiring views

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

Loving the mix of woods in this kitchen, all those natural colors and warm textures create such an inviting space. This trend definitely links in with what we talked about earlier, with everyone wanting to create spaces that we want (/have to) spend all of our time in. Now a kitchen potentially has to be a workspace, a living space, as well as a place to cook in – so picking a neutral (but still cozy) backdrop is best.

9. Freestanding additions 

Grey kitchen with warm wooden island

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

Freestanding kitchens have long been associated with more traditional kitchens but for 2021, they are having a contemporary glow up. Mixing vintage pieces and reclaimed industrial furniture into a new kitchen is the perfect way to add character to your space, plus it makes them more flexible as you can move pieces around. 

10. Colored glassware

deVOL kitchen with open cabinet

(Image credit: deVOL)

A little bit retro and a yes a little bit kitsch, but colored glassware is back and looks so gorgeous as a collection in an open cabinet or on shelving. You can pick up new pieces on Anthropologie (opens in new tab)but the best are the vintage bits you'll find on Etsy (opens in new tab) and eBay (opens in new tab).  Group them in colors to create a real display in your kitchen. 

11. Hidden hoods

Harvey Jones kitchen trends

(Image credit: Harvey Jones)

Extractor fans ain't pretty, never have been, but they are essential in most kitchens so for 2021, concealed hoods and downdraft extractors are going to be a big trend in kitchen design. Turning your extractor hood into a design feature is on trend too – facing it with a marble slab, or covering it in a classic molding to match your kitchen. 

12. Copper cookware

Copper accessories used to make a small kitchen feel bigger

(Image credit: Nest)

Again, this was of course a Pinterest kitchen trend this year. Search for copper cookware was up 35%! This is such an easy trend you can bring into your current space, get yourself a kitchen rail (opens in new tab), and hang your collection of copper pots to create a gorgeous feature. 

13. Larger kitchen islands 

Mike and Sasha Martin extended their Victorian property to create a large and modern family space

(Image credit: Bruce Hemming)

Redesigning your kitchen in 2021? Why not scrap the cabinets and just go for a massive kitchen island. This can work so well in an open plan kitchen and if you are tight on space. Islands are big enough, you can fit in all your appliances plus storage and create a really open, social space. You can always add a dresser if you need extra storage space. 

14. Marble kitchens 

Kitchen with marble island

(Image credit: Cult Living)

Ah marble kitchens, so luxurious, so sophisticated and actually so achievable if you use marble effect materials rather than the real thing. Or just choose a portion of your kitchen to add marble, like the top of an island, a splashback, or a section of your worktop. 

15. Simple muted color schemes 

Kitchen painted in Valspar paint

(Image credit: Valspar )

Forget grey, 2021 is all about muted colors  – sage greens, plaster pinks, pale terracottas. These kinds of dusty hues everywhere at the moment and we love how they look in this slightly retro kitchen. Pinch this kitchen trend paint your cabinets two different colors, (you could even add another color for the kickback). Keep it all quite subtle and choose colors that have similar tones.

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.