Are white kitchens back in? Fresh kitchen trends 2023 for smaller cooking spaces

Serving up dopamine dining and fresh functional kitchen looks

Pink dining room space with wooden chairs and colorful abstract print on the wall
(Image credit: @ohsorented)

From making that first pour-over coffee in the AM to cooking noodles at ungodly hours, we love our kitchens and one way to reward this all-important space is to keep it up-to-date with the latest kitchen trends 2023. 

In 2022, it was all about defining your cooking space with darker colors (much of it influenced by pandemic times), and we were starting to really tap into flexible cooking spaces where we could work hard at making dough in all senses of the phrase.

So what's in store for kitchens this next year? I was excited to hear that, according to some of my favorite interior designers and influencers, we're going to be branching out even more, getting thoughtful with color, design, and overall dining setups to help our cooking spaces enhance our homes — from the tiny studios to the more spacious rentals. 

"I’m really excited about where kitchen trends are headed in 2023," shares Alexandra Gater, an expert on decorating tiny rental apartments on a budget. She anticipates some far-out and dramatic edits for the year ahead. Whereas some designers predict more mellow looks that feel closer to nature and even a return to white kitchen spaces... 

There's a lot on the menu, let's get into it.

1. Bold cabinetry 

Army green cabinets with bold black and white checkered backsplash

(Image credit: @alexandragater)

Black and matte kitchen cabinets were a look in 2022, and Gater says that bold colors in cabinets will be a must for 2023 also. For a standout look that elevates your entire home space, beyond the boundaries of your kitchen, consider unexpected tones and new takes on classic kitchen colors.

2. Statement backsplashes

Starry pink kitchen backsplash against white laminate cabinets with pastel small appliances on countertops

(Image credit: @ohsorented)

"Homeowners (and even renters) will be ditching the plain subway tiles and opting for more exciting styles and colors — with heritage influences," says Steph Kaluza of @ohsorented. She notes that statement backsplashes will definitely be a big focus for kitchens in 2023. 

Gater likewise anticipates patterned tiles. "People are straying away from 'playing it safe' and going for more risky finishes, which I love," she says. We're into this starry tile pattern above which will add a dose of energy to small galleys or tinier kitchens in the corner of a studio.

For renters, you can actually find a ton of peel-and-stick tiles fit for a cool backsplash from The Home Depot and even Wayfair to get a similar look.

3. Dopamine dining

Pink dining room space with wooden chairs and colorful abstract print on the wall

(Image credit: @ohsorented)

"I think dopamine dining will definitely be a big trend in the kitchen/dining space," says Kaluza. Without a doubt, seasoning your space with some of Pantone's 2023 Color of the Year makes sense here, especially if you have a studio or super small kitchen space that you want to brighten up ASAP.

Think beyond kitchen counters, and if you're able to include a small dining table or even coffee-cum-dining table, you totally should. 

"Tablescaping is already really popular, but I think people will take it to the next level and really curate their dinnerware and accessories to be even more joy-inducing," adds Kaluza. Dress your space with loud candles and cute pops of color for fun surroundings that are friend-ready.

4. Paris-chic accents

Duck egg blue open buffet with small kitchen appliances and cane mounted cabinet fronts

(Image credit: @alexandragater)

Or should we say, Emily in Paris accents? Whether or not you're into the hit Netflix show, 2023 is looking like the year to channel all of the French vibes into our cooking spaces. According to UK-based Wren kitchens, there has been a 320% increase in searches for "French kitchen ideas" over the last 12 months, a clear sign that vintage blues, unique Parisian-style antiques, sweet silverware additions, and more cute picks should make it into your kitchen and dining space for a fresh and chic finish.

5. Natural tones and materials

Bright modern kitchen with tiled backsplash

(Image credit: L S Design Studio)

"For smaller kitchens, I think there's going to be a huge focus on function and design," says Anthony Immediato, San Diego-based interior stylist and founder of Immediato Interiors. Contrary to Gator, Immediato predicts a greater want for a more subtle aesthetic. "It seems that kitchens in 2023 will be all about embracing those natural tones of the cabinets whether that be dark brown walnut or white oak," says Immediato. "I think we are starting to see a decline in demand for those infamous green (and even blue) kitchens and we are starting to see people really wanting natural materials to speak for themselves."

"We think there is going to continue to be an increase in the use of more earthy and natural mediums, irregular textures and edges, and neutral tones for kitchens," says Lilli Morgan of LS Design Studio in San Diego — noting that handmade clay tiles had a big moment in 2022 and that they might influence the materials we'll use in 2023.

6. (Kinda) white kitchens

Bright modern kitchen with white island topped with vase of flowers and seating

(Image credit: L S Design Studio)

White kitchens have been a classic in the past and it looks like 2023 could be the year we see them come back, especially in smaller kitchen spaces.

"I don't think all white kitchens are going anywhere in 2023," says Immediato. "Even though we're seeing a lot more of those natural brown tones. In my opinion, there is always going to be room for that classic white kitchen look in the world of design."

7. Busy-patterned countertops

Small kitchen island with patterned top and wicker bar stools

(Image credit: @alexandragator)

If you're more into natural tones and white cabinets, you might want to add detail and playful interest elsewhere, like on your countertops. "Since we are straying away from adding in those colors to make our kitchens pop, I think we are going to see a lot of very busy marble and stone countertops to complement those beautiful natural wood cabinets," says Immediato. 

Camille Dubuis-Welch
Former Deputy Editor

I'm Cam, the former deputy editor of Real Homes who worked on the site from 2020 to 2023. As a renter myself, sharing a home with two friends (and my cat) in London, I know all too well the challenges that this can pose when it comes to creating your perfect setup. As someone who has always loved everything interior design-related, I cannot rest until a home feels right and I am really passionate about helping others get there too, no matter what their living situation, style, or budget may be. It’s not always the easiest to figure out, but the journey is fun and the results are so worth it.

After interior design, travel, art, and photography are my next big passions. When I’m not writing or editing homes content, I’m usually tapping into other creative outlets, exploring galleries in London or further afield, taking photos, scribbling, or drawing!