The Ultimate 2021 Kitchen Trends Report – The Decorologist

If you are considering updating your kitchen this year, I’ve got the scoop on everything you need to know about 2021 Kitchen Trends. In this post I’m sharing the top trends reported by the best current trend studies, as well as my thoughts on what will be popular in kitchens this year.

2021 Kitchen Trends Report just put out their U.S. 2021 Kitchen Trends Study based on feedback from those who had completed a kitchen remodel or addition in the last 12 months or were in the process of doing so. The results of their study are reflective of the most popular kitchen-related choices in 2020.

The median spend on major kitchen remodels in 2020 was $45,000 for large kitchens and $35,000 for small kitchens.  The median cost of a minor remodel on a large kitchen was $12,000, while a minor remodel on a small kitchen was $5,000. The most popular feature upgrades include countertops, backsplash, sinks, faucets, light fixtures, and flooring.

houzz kitchen remodel costs

Houzz Top 2021 Kitchen Trends Study

Regarding Kitchen Storage

Most kitchen renovations included adding cabinetry or replacing all cabinetry. A growing percentage of homeowners were adding or upgrading pantry space, whether that meant walk-in pantries or pantry cabinets. White shaker-style cabinets continued to be the popular choice for those adding cabinets or replacing cabinet doors.

Regarding Kitchen Layout

In the last two years, the number of homeowners creating an open-concept floor plan by opening up their kitchen to other spaces has dropped significantly. There are definitely reasons for this, which I wrote about here. The most popular kitchen layout is L-shaped, followed by U-shaped. The most popular kitchen wall colors were gray or white.

2021 kitchen trends + dark blue island + kitchen colors by The DecorologistKole Custom Homebuilders, color design by The Decorologist

Regarding Kitchen Islands

41% of homeowners chose to differentiate their kitchen islands from their other cabinetry. The most popular colors in 2020 for islands were blues and grays. Nearly all who added or upgraded an island included at least some storage. Most popular storage are cabinets with doors and drawers, but some are adding a few shelves of open storage. Most islands added are 6-7 feet in length, although a third are more than 7 feet long. More than half of new or upgraded islands featured a new appliance, most frequently dishwashers and microwaves. Most who upgraded above island lighting put in 2-3 pendants.

Regarding Kitchen Backsplashes

Houzz reports that an increasing number of those remodeling their kitchens are no longer doing those dated, short backsplashes (usually an extension of their countertops), but of course we knew that! White subway tile is still the top choice, but more are wanting to install multi-colored tiles which suggests a growing desire for statement backsplashes. A growing trend is to extend quartz countertops all the way up the wall to the upper cabinets and range hood. Almost 10% are now choosing to take backsplash tile all the way to the ceiling where there are no upper cabinets (often around the sink).

backsplash tile on entire wall, blue ceilingKole Custom Homebuilder, color design by The Decorologist

Regarding Kitchen Flooring

While hardwood flooring is still the first choice for many kitchen remodels, it’s use dropped in 2020 and ceramic or porcelain tile took first place. This is likely due to the increase in popularity of multi-patterned flooring and encaustic-look tile. Although less often used, vinyl or resilient flooring is growing in popularity due to affordability and improvement in design options. Vinyl is now considerably more popular than engineered wood flooring.

Regarding Kitchen Countertops

While engineered quartz is by far the leading material for upgraded kitchen countertops, it dramatically declined in popularity in 2020. Houzz is absolutely correct in attributing the decline in use to the increased tariffs on imports from China, where most quartz comes from. Another reason is because so many people chose to use a different countertop material on their islands than on their perimeter cabinets, with butcher block or wood slabs being popular picks there.

Here are the top-selling products of 2020 from the Houzz website:

most popular houzz kitchen products

find links to these products in my ideabook here

FIXR Top 2021 Kitchen Trends also put out a report based on a survey of 68 top designers and industry professionals, chosen on the basis of their professional portfolio, social media influence, and industry awards. I happened to be one of those chosen to participate, so my own opinions played into their findings. While the Houzz study reflected on what actually happened in 2020 kitchen remodels, the FIXR report is more a prediction of 2021 kitchen trends.

FIXR 2021 Kitchen Trends

1. Mix and Match Metals

According to FIXR, people are beginning to turn away from a kitchen of solid stainless steel. “Mixing different materials on appliances, sinks, faucets, lighting fixtures, and cabinet hardware creates a deeper, more dynamic design, which can make the kitchen a cozier, more interesting room to be in.”

2021 Kitchen Trends + green cabinets + kitchen design by The DecorologistThe Decorologist – see how I remodeled this dated kitchen for under $10K

2. Smart Appliances

One of the most popular 2021 kitchen trends in smart appliances is touchless faucets. Covid-19 has driven the desire for touchless technology, and 78% of professionals say there is an increased interest in easy-to-clean surfaces. Growing in popularity. copper and brass are anti-microbial – so you can be on-trend AND extra hygienic! Two other top trends are smart refrigerators and smart ovens. Technology has driven the desire for, well, more technology. Or maybe Big Brother wants to know exactly what’s in your highly-guarded secret recipes . . .

3. Quartz and Quartzite Countertops

While most industry professionals believe that engineered quartz will still be the top choice for new kitchen countertops, quartzite is trending higher than before. There are likely two reasons for this: 1) some want to use a natural material in their kitchen that differs from the standard granites, and 2) quartzite offers some dramatic options to meet a growing demand for bolder countertops. That being said, quartzite is more expensive than either quartz or marble, and can cost hundreds of dollars a square foot before installation.

Houzz 2021 kitchen trends countertop trends

4. Three-Tone Color Palettes

We’ve done the all-wood kitchens, the all-white kitchens, and the two-tone kitchens. Looks like 2021 is the year for trending three-tone kitchens! This means mixing wood and painted cabinets, as well as more color in backsplashes.

studiomcgee_untitledproject_037.jpgStudio McGee

You can read the entire FIXR trend report here.

The Decorologist Predictions for 2021 Kitchen Trends

A couple other things I see trending in kitchen design include larger-scale backsplash tiles, colored and mixed cabinetry, matte finishes, copper accents, area rugs, statement hoods, lots of plants, and the addition of “prep” kitchens.

prep kitchen + blue color design by The Decorologistprep kitchen, Kole Custom HomeBuilders, color design by The Decorologist

If you are planning to sell your home within the next several years, you can stop reading here and just focus on the Houzz and FIXR 2021 kitchen trends reports. If you plan on staying where you are for the long haul, then read on! My predictions really aren’t specific to 2021, but to the next 5-7 years. You can do like most, and pick and choose a few to embrace to freshen up your kitchen. Or, you can embrace your inner designer and create a uniquely personal space where you can nest (and cook) to your heart’s content, as I predict that 2021 will be the year of The Decorated Kitchen.

green devol kitchendeVol

Kitchens, like the rest of interior design, are warming up. Moody palettes have been gaining popularity, thanks in part to the edgy deVol kitchens we now salivate over. Green is gaining traction for the kitchen cabinet color of choice, be it emerald, hunter, olive, sage, or mint. English and “heritage-inspired” kitchens are capturing the imagination of design-forward homeowners, incorporating furnishings like vintage hutches, plate racks, and artwork that might have only hung in a living or dining room before. Kitchens aren’t all about cooking. We long for them to be more livable and inviting – maybe there’s room for comfortable chairs, a fireplace, a place for the kids to do homework while dinner is being made.

green devol kitchen 2021deVol

We’ll be seeing lighter and mid-tone woods mixed with painted cabinetry and woven light fixtures that look handmade.

Haris Kenjar via Country Living

Square, textured backsplash tiles will be popular, while other interesting shapes emerge to offer a change to those tired of white subway. We’ll see larger tiles and tile patterns, leaving the smaller glass mosaics behind in the previous decade.

square glazed backsplash tilesWinchester Tile

Encaustic-type patterned floor tile will continue to be popular, but we’re moving away from the grays and towards warmer color palettes. Terra cotta and brick kitchen floors will begin cozying up rooms, as well.

terra cotta kitchen floorsdeVol 

heidi caillierHeidi Caillier

Wallpaper is becoming an option for kitchen backsplashes and walls again, and the available variety can help you create the most un-cookie cutter kitchen of your dreams.

found here

With such a small amount of wall space in most kitchens, it makes more sense to put the COLOR up top – on the ceiling. We’ll see more architectural ceilings, including painted or stained panels. Wallpaper is trending, and placing it on the kitchen ceiling will lift your gaze and your countenance in 2021!

Things you can do this spring to make your kitchen a happier place to be (for very little money) include adding live plants, putting wooden cutting boards and baskets on display, and hanging a favorite piece of art .

Pin this for future reference:kitchen trends report for pinterest

What trend would you like to incorporate into your kitchen this year?


Learn about my professional home staging and paint color specification certification courses!The Decorologist courses


  1. Laura

    Hi Kristie, This is so interesting, especially because I’m starting a kitchen (and bath) renovation and you’ve validated many of my choices! I’m at the point of having to choose hardware, faucets, and lighting and want to mix metals. Is there a design recommendation as to where to use each metal? Is it the same for baths (faucets, hardware, lighting, and mirror)? So glad you’ve been posting again!

    • Kristie Barnett

      Hi Laura,
      Just how much you mix metals is a matter of taste. My general rule is that iron finishes mix well with most other finishes (warm or cool, gold or nickel). If there is existing oil-rubbed bronze, that pairs well with gold or copper finishes, but not chrome or nickel. In my own recent bathroom design, I chose copper + black finishes. Matte black appliances, iron light fixture, iron hardward + copper sink, faucet, and appliance handles/knobs. Good luck on your kitchen project!

      • Laura

        Thanks so much, Kristie! The photos in your post are gorgeous. I’m going to look through your blog for more inspiration. I’m so glad you updated us recently about the ups and downs during covid. Of course you are relevant, never doubt that! Congratulations on your daughter’s upcoming wedding, and all the tweaks to your courses. You’ve been busy!

        • Kristie Barnett

          Hi Laura, thank you so much for your encouragement! I’m glad you enjoyed the kitchen trends post and hope it gives you some inspiration in your own kitchen. Have a great rest of the week 🙂

  2. Kitty Breed

    I love this idea and it just so happens that I planning a total house renovation!

    • Kristie Barnett

      That’s so exciting! Best of luck, and have fun with it!

  3. Stephanie

    Great post, thank you Kristie!

  4. Veronica D.

    Very nice post. Complete with information and beautiful pictures.
    I like the more colorful and daring kitchens I see coming.
    Thank you!

    • Kristie Barnett

      Thanks, Veronica. I’m excited to see more personal and daring kitchens being done this year and forward!

      • Veronica D.

        Yes me too 👏🏼

  5. Emily

    Love this! I’m wondering about some of the cabinets pictured that don’t reach all the way to the ceiling. My own kitchen is small and I can’t imagine wasting that extra foot of space-is there a design trend regarding this detail?

    • Kristie Barnett

      Good eye – you are definitely paying attention to all the details! Taking cabinets all the way up is the ideal, but some remodels may choose not to do that for varying reasons like cost, scope of project, custom vs. semi-custom or stock cabinetry, etc. In my own recent kitchen remodel, exposed wood ceiling beams made it impossible to take the cabinets all the way to the ceiling without a lot of cascading issues. If ceilings are 10+ feet tall, cabinets that go all the way up would require a full-size ladder to access those upper cabinets (I speak from experience!). If you have 8-9 foot ceilings, I’d definitely go to the ceiling with the cabinets. Thank you for your comment and question!!

  6. Laura

    Love this post Kristie. We are about to do a kitchen facelift on our 1880’s fixer upper. We’re replacing just the base cabinets, countertops and faucet/sink. I’m painting the lower cabinets SW dried Thyme and leaving the 1960’s uppers their original orangey maple color(for now?). Since this is a 5 year plan, I’m excited about adding an on trend color on the cabinets. Who knows, maybe it will stay. And yes, I’ve been very much inspired by the DeVol kitchens, and the unkitchen, heritage look. But I can’t live without upper cabinets. I hate bending over!

  7. Kathy

    Do you have favorite brands for bathroom wallpaper?

    • Kristie Barnett

      I have ordered quite a bit of wallpaper from http://www.wallpaperdirect. I like Borastapeter, Cole & Son, William Morris, Sanderson, Graham & Brown, etc. Albany has some pretty options at a lower price point!

  8. Susan Richardson

    Great post! It’s very detailed and informative. I remember a post mentioned that going with a light color scheme with dark accents helps create a modern classic kitchen design. Pairing white cabinets with a dark countertop and stainless steel appliances is an example. You can visit this site for more details.

  9. Jineesh sunny

    This is an excellent article! It’s extremely thorough and informative. The kitchen is a popular space in most homes, and it’s no wonder why. It’s the place where families get together to cook great food for dinner or breakfast, and it’s the heart of home life. But over time, kitchens have evolved; they are no longer just utilitarian spaces with basic appliances and traditional cabinets. You can visit this site for more Kitchen Cabinet Designs

  10. Landscaping Depot Ottawa

    It’s a very interesting and I learned a lot of creativeness and style for kitchen renovation, This article is worth reading. I love how you emphasize the importance choosing the proper ways of making your kitchen so presentable.


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