People have been heralding the end of all-white kitchens for years, so let’s clear the air before we go any further: “They will never go away,” laughs Stephanie Pierce, director of design and trends at Masterbrand Cabinets. “They’re timeless.” But that doesn’t mean the look is the same as it’s been since 2012—or that other colors aren’t rising in popularity. In fact, as we chatted with designers and analyzed data on the top kitchen trends, one thing was certain: 2021 is all about creating your most comfortable space to cook, eat and entertain. So, if you love white on white, go for it. You’ll still find these ideas helpful for breathing new life into your space.

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1. Hidden Charging Stations

When Masterbrand Cabinets surveyed designers across the country, a whopping 67 percent said they were looking for more ways to integrate charging stations into the kitchen. And the brand’s only seen demand increase since the pandemic started. “People are looking up recipes, hanging out and working from their kitchen islands, so it’s more important to make sure you have enough outlets—not just for your appliances but your phones and tablets too,” Pierce says. Features like charging stations tucked into drawers or outlets that pop up from the counter keep cables from getting in the way.

kitchen trends foxhall green
Masterbrand Cabinets

2. Dark Green Cabinets

Deep blues and greens are growing in popularity for every room of the house, and the kitchen is no exception. “All color drained out of the kitchen during the recession, and the first color to come back was navy, which makes sense, because it’s pretty neutral,” Pierce says. “We applied that same logic to green and launched dark, Foxhall Green. It’s a nice base color that others can build off of.” The shade’s been a total hit, and not just at Masterbrand. After designer Joanna Gaines created a custom KitchenAid mixer in forest-bordering-on-emerald-green, she liked the shade so much that she repainted her cabinets the same color. (So if you’re intrigued by the trend but not ready to commit to a full makeover, you could always incorporate a few dark green accents into your kitchen.)

3. Touchless Tech

Now that we’ve gotten very used to washing our hands—and, well, everything—all the time, we’ve also become more aware of our kitchen habits, Pierce says. As a result, more people are adding touchless tech into their homes, like trashcans that open and close with the wave of your hand, or Alexa-enabled faucets that can pour exactly a teaspoon or two cups of water (no measuring cups needed), all based on your command. That way, if you have raw chicken on your hands, you don’t have to worry about contaminating your faucet handles (or fighting to nudge them open with your wrist or elbow) as you cook.

4. Sustainable Cleaning Supplies

Several designers have noticed that their clients are more interested in sustainability all-around, from installing solar panels to repurposing old décor. And that extends to the cleaning products we use, evidenced in the rise of eco-friendly dish soaps and detergent that comes in reusable containers. Most recently, Grove Collaborative launched a sustainable home collection with designer Jeremiah Brent, offering cleaning concentrates, hand and dish soaps, soap dispensers and spray bottles—all plant-based and plastic-free. (Oh, and they happen to come in moss green, too.)

5. Multi-purpose cookware

To that end, if something’s going to take up space in your pantry or on your counter, it’s got to be something you’ll use for years. Instead of buying a ton of different products, we’re seeing readers invest in multi-use tools that keep their kitchens clutter-free. The Always Pan, for example, replaces eight pieces of cookware with a single pot (like your fry pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet and saucepan, just to name a few). And it’s been so popular that the brand can barely keep up with demand—orders purchased now will ship in mid-February.

Another hot buy? The Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer, which combines two of the hottest appliances of the past three years (an Instant Pot and an Air Fryer) into one device.

kitchen trends quartzite
Courtesy of Artistic Tile

6. Colored Quartzite Counters

If marble feels overdone, consider going bold with your countertops, choosing a moody, colored quartzite instead. Quartzite has been steadily rising in interest, since it tends to be more durable and affordable, says Nancy Epstein, founder and president of Artistic Tile. Most recently, more dramatic colors—think blues, greens and other ocean-inspired hues—have been replacing the traditional white and cream quartzites, since they add more dimension to the room.

kitchen trends sconces
Margaret Wright Photography © 2018 Houzz

7. Swing-Arm Sconces

Sconces aren’t just for the dining room. Their sculptural shape can liven up kitchen walls better than any Live, Laugh, Love sign. Plus, swing-arm styles are particularly helpful for adding task lighting around a sink or range, which is why Houzz named it one of their top home trend predictions for 2021.

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Masterbrand Cabinets

8. Walnut

Wood tones immediately warm up a kitchen, preventing it from looking too one-note (particularly if everything else is all white). One of the most popular materials right now is walnut, Pierce says. “It’s a very neutral brown that always picks up a little gray,” she adds. “It isn’t very yellow or orange, and it has such a great base that pretty much every stain works with it.” The only downside is that walnut can be pricey, but Pierce says that many of today’s walnut-grained laminates look just like the real deal, only they’re much more affordable.

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