Kitchens are some of the most thoughtfully designed spaces in a home (and considering that a standard reno can run you tens of thousands of dollars, they should be).

From the countertops to the cabinetry, these rooms are brimming with semi-permanent fixtures that should last over a decade, so when it comes to remodeling, you want to get it right from the start. Enter the new 2021 kitchen trends report from the National Kitchen & Bath Association, which highlights five up-and-coming styles that can help you hone your design direction. 

Unlike other forecasts that can lean into “trendy” fads, the NKBA focuses on styles with considerable staying power. Their annual Design Trends study gleans insight from over 700 design professionals across the country including architects, showroom professionals, interior designers, renovators, and manufacturers.

If you’re currently planning a kitchen refresh or building your dream cook space from scratch, read up on where kitchens are heading in 2021 and beyond, from countertop stone to layout configuration. 


L-Shaped Kitchens Aren’t Going Anywhere

The design world has been fixated on open, airy floor plans for the last few years, and 2021 is set to follow suit. L-shaped kitchens with large, spacious islands, in particular, will dominate layout choices thanks to their practical configurations, which are well-suited for cooking, gathering, and entertaining. 


“Organic” Kitchens Are Taking Center Stage

Ornate, traditional-style kitchens have been losing favor for years now as natural, organic styles slowly take center stage. Think wood finishes, natural stone, handmade backsplash tiles, and neutral color palettes. This comes as no surprise considering the internet’s continued infatuation with Scandinavian minimalism, California Coastal, and boho sensibilities. 


Quartz Is the New “It” Countertop 

Marble will never completely go out of style, but durable and low-maintenance quartz is having a moment among designers and consumers alike. This trending stone looks remarkably similar to veined Calacatta, but is non-porous and easily stands up to wine, coffee, olive oil, and even sharp knives without staining or scratching. 


“Charging Stations” Are a Must-Have

It appears that kitchen designers are taking notes from airports. The NKBA marked dedicated charging stations as an emerging kitchen trend for 2021: an innovation that eliminates unsightly cord clutter and provides a designated place for guests and family members to stash their phones. Many of them are out of sight too, tucked away in a designated drawer or cabinet that blends in with existing decor. 


The “Work Triangle” Is Getting an Upgrade

Houzz’s 2021 trend report adds multi-zone layouts to the list of must-haves in kitchens of the future. While traditional cook spaces feature a work triangle between the fridge, sink, and stovetop, modern home chefs want additional space for prep work, baking, coffee, cocktails, and more. Houzz has dubbed this emerging configuration the “work trapezoid,” and only expects the trend to grow into the new year. 

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