Kitchen Design Trends to Watch

August 11, 2021

Now more than ever, the kitchen is the heart of the home. While entertaining has been a long-time focus of kitchen remodels — it’s still where our families and friends love to gather — the past 18 months of cooking and working from home has reinforced that a functional kitchen is a priority, too. Keep reading to see how you can blend on-trend style and multi-use functionality in your remodel.

How to Update Your Kitchen to Thrive in the New Normal

Let’s face it, our kitchens need to work harder these days. And that doesn’t just mean being able to handle three meals a day and seemingly endless dishes. Your kitchen needs to keep up with the changing times and multi-task all while looking fabulous. Here are some top trending kitchen ideas to consider when updating your home.

built in bench seating in eat in kitchen

Extra Seating

With many people forgoing the formal dining room, more homeowners want versatile kitchen spaces with multiple seating options. Layer in your seating: an island with room for counter stools, a table with a built-in bench or banquette or an island that converts into a table  are great ways to create comfortable places for people to gather, do homework or have Zoom meetings.

More Color

If you’re on Pinterest, you know that we are seeing a shift away from all-white kitchens. People are instead choosing stained or painted cabinets with islands of a different color than perimeter cabinets for added visual appeal.

Decorative Range Hoods

It used to be ventilation above a range or cooktop was an afterthought. Now, there are many stylish options. Appliance hoods that match the color or metal finish of the range, cabinet-wrapped hoods and stucco or wood-wrapped hoods are all trending.

Tile as a Focal Point

Backsplash tile has become a significant kitchen design element, whether subdued or bold, sleek or textured. Tiles also reach beyond the cabinets, installed up to the ceiling, framing windows and around hoods. And because you can choose tile that is relatively inexpensive, it’s a design selection where you can afford to take some risk. If you grow tired of it after a few years, you can change it out without breaking the bank.

Organic Elements

There’s something about using natural materials that make a kitchen space feel cozy. And after being at home so much, that coziness is reflected in these trending details:

  • Floating wood shelves
  • Hardwood floors
  • Luxury vinyl plank,
  • Rustic terracotta or terrazzo tile
  • Countertops in natural stone and quartz

Luxury vinyl plank is a man-made product, but is a waterproof alternative to hardwood floors. Quartz is a low maintenance, man-made option that can mimic marble.

super sized kitchen island

Super-Sized Islands

Clients are now giving up wall cabinets and counter space so they can fit a larger-scale island in their new kitchens. It’s ideal for entertaining with added seating, and you can maximize the space by incorporating drawers and cabinets with pull-outs for additional storage.

kitchen with large light fixture

Oversized Light Fixtures

Gone are the days of three or more small pendant lights. Instead, the trend is two or three larger light fixtures over the island. Add dimmers to add ambiance. Energy-saving LED can lights and under-cabinet fixtures can be installed for task lighting around the rest of the kitchen.


This long-time trend just keeps getting better. Cabinets with roll-out trays and bins, trash pull-outs, spice racks, pots and pans storage and custom pantry storage with family command centers help keep the household running smoothly. Some other must-have features to include:

  • Dry-erase boards
  • Key hooks
  • Charging stations

Smart Technology

Touchless technology, voice automation and app-controlled appliances are gaining popularity — from hands-free faucets to refrigerators that let you know when you’re low on food, to integrated charging stations that keep your digital devices powered up.

Don’t Let Trends Take Over

These trending kitchen design elements offer great ideas that you might decide to incorporate in your kitchen remodel. But be thoughtful about your choices. I advise homeowners to make design selections based on their personal design style — not merely on the trend reports.

Remember, your kitchen should reflect you!

If you’d like to bounce some ideas off me as you make your kitchen choices, you can reach me at orrb@doverremodeling.com.

The best is yet to come,

Beth Orr