I decided it would be “fun” to read the intro of last year’s kitchen trend post before I started to write this one. Let’s just say it was “fun” in the same way that it’s fun to look back at your diary from highschool – comical, cringe-y, and you’re constantly thinking, “Oh baby, you don’t even KNOW what’s ahead of you.” HA. I think we can all say we did not under any circumstances know what was ahead of us. So because of our truly “unprecedented” 2020 year, it may or may not surprise you that a good amount of the predicted trends never really took off. Why? Well, the pandemic made us look at design differently. Comfort and real longevity were at the top of everyone’s list. Investing in things that were “hip” for the sakes of being cool felt and still feels quite literally like the least important thing in the world.
Sure we still want ideas that are new and exciting because if you are reading this post you too are a design lover. Don’t worry we have lots of ideas for you to sink your teeth into. But I think this post will be surprisingly refreshing in that it’s far more inspirational than aspirational. Kitchens are BIG this year and this year’s trends are far more doable which gives actual, tangible ideas (unlike some from years before… looking at you, cylinder hoods even though you were and are awesome).
Let me show you what I mean…
Floor to Ceiling Tiles: Subway Tile
Did I hear your heart skip a beat when you saw this photo?? Me too. This floor to ceiling, wall to wall zellige subway tiles are SUCH an impactful way to make a bold but timeless design choice. It has so much texture, is easy to clean (yes please), and is just really beautiful (plus paired with that black and white diamond floor your eyes just keep happily bouncing around.)
But zellige tiles might now be in your budget so even choosing a more traditional white subway tile can still be awesome. I love how Adam Lippes chose a darker grout for contrast and also tiled THE CEILING. I think the trick is to make sure that you either have another bold pattern on the floor like in the first photo or contrast the walls with a nice wood floor. That way your eye has a break and with wood flooring you get instant organic warmth.
But remember that you can use color too! I love how Mandy Cheng chose this green (still a favorite cabinet color amongst the design world) and flipped the tiles vertically. It’s excited without being “too in your face”. Also, those swings are also super cool.
P.S. Albie might have something cooking with this trend in mind:)
Floor to Ceiling Tiles: Non-Subway Tile
Subway tiles are a great and likely more affordable option but if you like to design even further outside of the box then don’t worry this section is for you.
Ok, I know these are technically the actual walls of this home but I love how these bricks bring so much organic material into this kitchen while still having an awesome pattern. Just an idea for those organic lovers:)
These tiles are busy but so beautiful and still feel classic. I think this would work best if you have an enclosed kitchen (aka not an open concept floorplan). That way you get your big pattern moment without having to look at it 24/7. Also, I would consider only using one, maybe two materials for your cabinets/countertop, like in the photo above. The simple stainless steel balances out the busyness of the pattern so it’s not too visually overwhelming.
Now if small, detailed pattern isn’t your thing but you don’t want to do a simple subway, do something like this. Rebecca Gibbs decided to play with shapes instead of pattern and it really paid off. It’s beautiful, interesting but doesn’t overwhelm you.
Large Scale Diamond Flooring: Tiles
I think this is the biggest trend of the year (even outside of the kitchen). Well, the large scale diamond shapes at least. Well, get to more options in a minute. It’s truly the perfect pattern and size to be timeless, bring in a bold pattern, and contrast the size and shapes of small wall tiles. It’s the dream and I’m SO glad it’s back in full force.
This example is a bit more of a modern take with its color and terrazzo secondary pattern (is that a real term?) It feels really formal at first glance, then gets a bit trendier as you look closer:)
Large Scale Diamond Flooring: Painted
EEE! This is might be my favorite version and if you are brave enough a VERY doable DIY. Emily has been eyeing this painted wood pattern for a minute and we really can’t get enough. It’s just so damn charming.
Now, natural wood and white aren’t the only color options. You can do a classic black and white too. There are no rules. Heck, try a navy even!
Large Scale Diamond Flooring: Vinyl
But for those of us who are renters, don’t have the funds, or just want to try before you buy, vinyl is always a great option and is affordable. These are two great current examples but let’s not forget Brady’s kitchen floor from three and a half years ago. See it’s completely timeless.
Large Scale Checkered Flooring
So while diamonds might be at the top of the 2021 trend list, checkered kitchen floors are next in line. I mean the checkered pattern has been exploding in general (I have been a huge fan) so why not put it on the floor?? Plus when it’s in a color it’s so happy.
But when it’s in a soft black that’s also great. Again, no rules.
What’s great about the checkered versus the diamond pattern is that checkered feels a bit more “modern” and/or “trendy”. So when you have a traditional style kitchen like the one Studio McGee designed above, the checks make it feel a little fresher and dare I say, more 2021:)
This trend, in my opinion, is completely informed by the pandemic and the need for a little more privacy. Here you get the illusion of privacy without completely shutting off your kitchen to the rest of your home. The best of both worlds, right??
Even if it’s just one window like in this kitchen above, you have the option of cooking in peace. Plus you also get a beautiful architectural moment. Accordion glass interiors windows? Yes, please.
With this example above, it gives us two ideas. 1. you can take an existing wall and add an interior window for more light and flow or 2. you can build a wall for more privacy but add an interior window for light and flow. That way it’s not completely closed off. It’s your house so play with all of your options.
Dark Stone Countertops With Medium Wood Toned Cabinets
We’ve talked about a lot of countertop/cabinetry combos in the past but have yet to dive into this one. Personally, I really love it. It continues the “warm toned” kitchen trend of last year but adds in the depth and dimension with the dark stone countertop. It’s pretty darn inviting, right?
This wood is slightly lighter but it still works. Had the wood been any lighter it wouldn’t have that same visual warmth. I think warmth and coziness are what we’ve been craving in our homes this past year in particular which is why I think this pairing is trending.
These two photos not only sell it for me but also show its style versatility. I’m a big fan if you can’t tell.
Single Material Vertical Stove Backsplash
This was one I asked Julie about. Sometimes you see something pop up that catches you off guard and you aren’t sure if you’ve been seeing it forever or if it feels new. Julie confirmed I wasn’t seeing things and that this vertical single material oven backsplash is indeed a 2021 trend. Look at that marble, it’s perfect.
It’s great because it’s simple, doable, and more cost-effective since you aren’t trying to cover an entire wall and you can use metals or tile.
I really love it when it’s only behind the stove and there isn’t a border along the perimeter of the counter like in the photo above.
However, a little border never hurt anyone because this tile situation is very sweet.
Mid Rise Single Slab Backsplash
Ok, so I confirmed with Julie about this too. Two Libras are better than one!
With this backsplash trend, there is no need for multiple heights and subsequent cuts. All you need is one long low to mid-rise single slab piece. I love that it’s taller than the popular skinny trim backsplash but lower than the mid-wall version. The goldilocks of backsplashes if you will.
See how it looks great in a traditional kitchen…
And a super modern one?? V.E.R.S.A.T.I.L.E.
If I were doing a kitchen reno I would 100% create a range cubby. What is a range cubby you ask? Well, it’s a little (or large) structure in your kitchen that holds your range and hides your vent. So a total dream and can be totally customized.
These rounded corners are perfect and I love the extra-wide counter space on either side of the range.
This one is both modern and traditional and I love the counter to ceiling cabinets flanking the cubby. Such pretty clean lines.
What’s also great is that you can choose any shape of cubby you want! This one is so beautiful. I also love the teal cabinetry with the navy island together:)
This cubby is also very linear like a couple of the ones above but I think this kitchen just needs a moment in the sun. How pretty is it??? This is from the same designers that designed the kitchen with the round island from last year’s trend post. They are so talented.
Wood Cubby Accents
Boy oh boy do we love a good wood accent and these are no exception. I think all of our jaws dropped to the floor when we saw Velinda’s first client project and those wood cubbies (and canned backing). So simple but such high impact. And then later last year, our other EHD alum, Ginny showed off one of her client projects with similar (but different) wood cubbies in the kitchen.
The trick is for the wood to be a medium tone (sense a trend??) and for the wood to be about 2 inches thick. That way it adds visual warmth in a bolder way than if you used a thinner wood.
They also need to look built-in and contrast with the colors and materials it’s next. If you’ve done that then you are all set.
The Kitchen Skirt
I always like to make sure that there’s at least one trend that doesn’t require a reno. For example, last year it was table lamps on countertops and the year before that one was kitchen mirrors (which is honestly also big this year…see above photo)
So this year, skirts are back. Leanne Ford’s new kitchen (above) is SO charming and that shirt most definitely adds to it. I love how a skirt can soften a kitchen. I’m actually planning on adding one in my kitchen this year:)
Same goes for this kitchen. What a fun burst of pattern at what was probably a very affordable price (or could be:))
I also noticed in these two photos, they both have small tiled sink backsplashes. I am here for it! It’s so sweet and a great way to find and use cool vintage tiles since you don’t need a ton of them.
I also like this slightly more refined skirt option. It’s on a brass bar with hooks so that the pleating is more unified. Plus that backsplash is also adorable.
The Single Shelf (The 2019 and 2020 ALL STAR)
Em felt that the single shelf needed to be mentioned because it is still going STRONG. When Athena Calderone’s kitchen hit the internet at the end of 2018 all of our design hearts melted. Not only was the whole kitchen (well entire home) stunning but that single shelf was the star we all couldn’t get out of our heads. And it still lives on in various iterations like in Amber Lewis’ new kitchen above. Also, Sara’s new kitchen might have one of these beauties in it…coming soon:)
Brigette Romanek even included one in her Iconic Home kitchen rendering. Man, I wish that beautiful kitchen could someday be built out for real.
Studio McGee is also still a big fan. I mean it’s both beautiful and practical. Why wouldn’t she still be?
And our last example is that of Crystal Sinclare. She is SUPER talented and you all should check her out. Also, this is the same kitchen with the interior accordion windows. Very Athena inspired:)
So those are the 10 (plus 1) kitchen trends of 2021…so far. While we are all cautiously entering this new year, we are SO excited to see all of the insane creativity that is most definitely going to come out of it.
With all this said are any of you in the middle of or planning a kitchen reno? Are you implementing or now wanting to implement any of these ideas? Have you noticed any other kitchen specific trends? Let’s chat!
Love you, mean it.