7 outdated kitchen cabinet trends to close the door on — and what to pick instead

Say goodbye to these outdated kitchen cabinet trends

Outdated kitchen cabinet trends date kitchens, but here are three examples of what looks great instead, including a kitchen with matt paneled navy blue mounted kitchen cabinets on the wall above a white countertop, the middle is peach shaker style open tall cabinet revealing a red interior and glassware, a white kitchen cabinet set surrounding a window, with open shelving and dark bowls and cups
(Image credit: Searle & Taylor Kitchens / Olive & Barr / Naked Kitchens)

Outdated kitchen cabinet trends are worth steering clear of if you don't want your home to look old-fashioned. For those who love sleek, up-to-date home design, it's worth keeping up with the latest styles.

We've spoken with interior designers to find out the cabinet styles they've firmly crossed off their lists. Matching colors and ornate finishes are just two they're avoiding.

If you're looking for kitchen ideas, you're likely to have one or two tired cabinets in need of a zhuzh. This is where finding out what's in vogue will come in useful.

If you're looking for kitchen trends, scoping out up to date kitchen cabinet ideas and kitchen cabinet trends is a key part of tying the room together.

Our experts have helpfully recommended specific solutions throughout, which our in-house shoppers have curated to help you get your cabinets on trend ASAP.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article.

1. Ditch ornate cabinets, try sleek

A kitchen with three brass pendant lights, a marble kitchen island with gray cabinets underneath in the middle and a brown chair underneath it, a wall with white cabinets, an oven, and a silver fridge, and a black door

(Image credit: Higham Furniture)

If you own your home and have inherited some elaborately-designed cabinets, it’s time to replace them with a more timeless style.

“Traditional, ornate cabinet designs with heavy moldings and intricate details are becoming passé,” explains Ricky Allen, interior designer and director of Ever Wallpaper.

This outdated style often makes spaces feel cramped and dark. Don’t worry if you’re stuck with these, though — there are plenty of ways to make a small kitchen look brighter.

Ricky continues, “I recommend a shift towards sleek cabinet fronts with a matte finish for a more contemporary and spacious feel.”

Instead of refitting the whole cabinet, brush on matte paint in a refined color such as bright white or light gray (we love Benjamin Moore's dreamy Touch of Gray Paint).

2. Ditch bulky cabinets, try slimline

A kitchen with navy blue kitchen cabinets on the wall and below the white countertop, with the one in the middle open revealing a light wooden door and three shelves with jars on them, with further kitchen space beyond

(Image credit: Searle & Taylor Kitchens)

You might not have thought about size when looking for outdated kitchen cabinet trends, but it can play a big part in making your kitchen look current.

“Gone are the days of bulky, overbearing cabinetry that dominated kitchen spaces,” explains Nina Lichtenstein, principal designer and founder of Nina’s Home Design.

She continues, “I’m seeing more people gravitate towards slimline cabinets that prioritize efficiency without sacrificing style.”

For those handy with DIY, you could always build these yourself to ensure the perfect fit for your space. Alternatively, you can go for a slimline freestanding kitchen cabinet, like this Scandi-style Red Barrel Studio Kitchen Pantry from Wayfair.

We also like the idea of using slim storage trolleys as kitchen storage ideas, such as the highly-rated Sywhitta Utility Cart on Amazon.

3. Ditch dated materials, try modern

A kitchen with dark brown wooden cabinets, black cabinets with glass fronts and pink shelves, dark green tiiles, and a kitchen island with a white surface, a wooden glass cabinet on it and pendant lights hanging above

(Image credit: Naked Kitchens)

Having just plain wooden cabinets alone is so yesteryear. Sure, they’re a classic — but if you want to wave goodbye to outdated kitchen cabinets, it’s a smart idea to switch up materials wherever possible.

“It’s out with the old-fashioned wood veneers and dated laminate surfaces, and in with the avant-garde materials such as glass, metal, and high-gloss acrylics,” explains Nina. “These modern materials offer durability, versatility, and visual appeal, breathing new life into kitchen spaces and elevating them with a refined finish.”

For those who are renting and can’t change the materials entirely, you can use peel-and-stick tiles, such as these gorgeous Abolos Reflections Wall Tiles from Wayfair to add a glossy, modern touch to your space.

4. Ditch closed doors, try open shelves

A white kitchen cabinet set surrounding a window, with the cabinet to the left having open shelving with 4 shelves of dark cookware and jars, two glass pendant lights on the ceiling, and a black oven below the window

(Image credit: Naked Kitchens)

You may have gone to the effort of buying gorgeous jars and tubs to stash in your pantry — but what good are they if no one can see them?

Nina explains, “Bid farewell to closed-off cabinets that conceal clutter and inhibit visual flow, and instead go for open shelving. They not only create the illusion of space, but allow for curated displays full of your favorite cookware, decorations, and kitchen accessories."

Simply take the doors off your existing cabinet, learn how to declutter your kitchen cabinets, and then curate them as you like.

If you don't want to change your cabinets but like the idea of open shelving, these Behost Wall Shelves from Walmart are a chic option.

5. Ditch uniformity, try contrast

A peach kitchen cabinet opening up to three red shelves with glassware on them and a kitchen mixer at the bottom, on a white surface with peach lower cabinets underneath

(Image credit: Olive & Barr)

Switching out outdated cabinet trends is a great opportunity for bringing in textural and colorful kitchen ideas in a subtle way.

Nina says, “The era of uniformity in cabinetry color schemes is a thing of the past. Instead, pair sleek, matte cabinets with glossy accents, juxtapose natural wood grains with industrial metals (this Ben and Jonah Nexus Wood Vinyl Tile from Wayfair is a great all-rounder), or experiment with bold pops of color to inject personality and vibrancy into the heart of your home.”

We love the idea of adding contrast with different paint colors, such as adding a striking one on the inside shelving that marries up with the outside, like the picture above.

6. Ditch handles, try handleless

A light wooden kitchen cabinet with two shelves of plates and books, with two curved wooden chairs in front of it and a white surface on top of the cabinet with a sink, plants, and vases on it

(Image credit: Searle & Taylor Kitchens)

Get a grip on your outdated kitchen cabinets by removing any bulky, unnecessary handles.

“I recommend removing cumbersome hardware, and instead opting for clean lines and understated sophistication by removing handles,” says Nina.

Instead, install push latches (such as these Jiayi Push Latches from Amazon) so you can sleekly open up your pantry with the flick of a wrist.

7. Ditch dark hardware, try brass

A kitchen with dark blue cabinets with gold cabinet pulls, a black oven with a copper kettle on the stove and a dark hood above it, and light wooden beams on the white painted walls and two glass pendant lights hanging

(Image credit: Olive & Barr)

If you really are attached to your handles, you can still update them to avoid outdated kitchen trends in your place.

“Brass kitchen cabinet hardware has surged in popularity as homeowners and designers increasingly embrace its timeless charm and versatility,” explains Hannah Haynsworth, co-owner of San Diego Hardware.

This embodies a shift towards warmer, more organic design elements, which are key interior design trends for the year.

Make sure to grab them in a set so you can create a cohesive look throughout the cabinets in your kitchen, such as the Goldenwarm Gold Cabinet Pulls from Amazon.

By saying bon voyage to outdated kitchen cabinet trends, you can bring in a new era of design possibilities.

“Reimagine the possibilities and transform your kitchen into a sanctuary of modern elegance,” Nina finishes by saying.

While you’re styling up yours, you might also find it useful to find out what material kitchen cabinets should be, in case you’re starting again from scratch. 

Eve Smallman
Staff Writer

Hi there! I’m a staff writer at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses.