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7 Jun 2021

Top kitchen ideas and trends for 2021

Spending all of our time at home has meant a surge in home improvements. If you're planning some kitchen updates, here are the latest trends to inspire you

Got a new kitchen project on the horizon? We've rounded up our 10 favourite kitchen ideas to help get you started, whether you're planning to simply paint your cabinets in the latest hue, or completely redesign the space.

Heavily veined marble surfaces and splashbacks, grooved wooden cabinetry and dark green tones are set to be big news in 2021. Read on to discover more of the latest kitchen ideas and trends.

If you're planning on buying a new kitchen sometime this year, check out our guide to the best and worst kitchen brands. It's based on the reviews of thousands of kitchen buyers and are lab test assessments of kitchen units from some of the big name brands, including John Lewis, Ikea and Wickes.

1. Strongly veined marble

Tile Mountain

Whether on your floors, worktops or walls, marble is a timeless choice. Picking a marble design that's full of veins, however, is a key look for 2021 and beyond.

If a full floor in strongly veined marble seems a bit daunting, then test the waters with a mini marble splashback behind the oven or try it on as a kitchen island worktop instead.

Marble is a versatile material that looks good in both contemporary and traditional kitchens. Plus, marble veining can come in a variety of colours, styles and depths to suit any aesthetic.

2. Grooved wooden cabinetry


Grooved, or fluted, paneled wood might look like something you'd see in a retro kitchen, but it's back in fashion, big time.

Whether the grooves are horizontal or vertical, in natural or painted wood, it's a look that adds tactility and will work beautifully with sleek worktops and beautiful brassware.

Love the look? Reeded glass cabinetry is also a hot look for 2021.

3. Dining islands


Islands have been popular for a long time now, but what we're seeing more of is adjoined matching tables.

They're practical and blend perfectly into the kitchen for a more seamless look than a separate dining table.

Use the same worktop as the island and paint the dining table legs in the same colour as the island base for a coordinated look. If you don't use it as a dining table, it can be a handy extra surface space to dump shopping, prep for cooking, an area for kids craft and homework or even a home office. Add in plug sockets for extra versatility.

Read more: Tips for working from home

4. In-built pantries and bars

Kitchen Makers

Seamless, clutter-free kitchens are the stuff of dreams. So the more we can hide behind closed doors, the better.

In-built larders and pantries that neatly store food, dry goods and spices are often on the top of kitchen customers' wish lists.

But more recently, secret hideaway bars with perfectly designated spots for glasses, bottles and bar paraphernalia are the latest kitchen must-have.

5. Monochrome kitchens

John Lewis

Monochrome schemes are always a popular look. Black, white and grey is a solid base that's easy to live with and feels contemporary. Plus, colour and individuality can be added via accessories, art and soft furnishings.

To avoid the scheme feeling too cold and clinical, warm it up with soft wooden floors and worktops, plenty of atmospheric lighting and choose tonal greys rather than solid black and white.

Read more: The Which? guide to planning a kitchen

6. A curated kitchen


Despite clean and clutter-free kitchens being very popular, showing off favourite kitchen items is equally trendy.

On-show pantries with jars of pulses and pastas, labelled spices and grabbable cups and saucers add personality and interest to a bare wall.

Try one single shelf instead of a wall cupboard, or go big and fill a whole wall with racks and rails.

7. Colour of the year: Pantone's Ultimate Gray & Illuminating

Wren Kitchens

Pantone colours are essentially a universal language of colour and stand for a specific shade, and each year the Pantone Color Institute announces the new colour of the year. For 2021 it's PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating.

The yellow cabinetry and soft grey worktop play in harmony in this sleek, joyful kitchen.

After one of the strangest years in recent history, Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, explains the choice:

The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude. Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a colour combination that gives us resilience and hope.

8. Natural stone floors


Country-style stone and brick floors have been given a 2021 contemporary update by being laid in herringbone, chevron and honeycomb patterns.

Pair with dark green cabinetry for an eye-catching and dramatic kitchen. Or for something a little more modern, keep cupboards and worktops light and bright.

Top tip: underfloor heating will help an often cold floor stay warm, all year round.

Read more: underfloor heating explained

9. Arches and curves


Arches are having a moment and they're adding much needed softness to kitchens across the country.

Don't worry if you've not got any arches naturally at home, you can add the curvy detail via clever carpentry, paintwork, tiles and accessories.

If you're planning an extension and fancy something a little bit different to standard bi-fold doors, go for arched doors or a feature arched window instead.

10. Green kitchens


Move over dark blue kitchens, it's time for something a little more green.

Earthy, calming green tones are bang on trend this year, especially in the kitchen. Update your current cabinets or walls with a lick of paint for an affordable and effective way to update the space.

Read more: Be inspired by more kitchen ideas.

Ready to take the plunge with a brand new kitchen? Check out our comprehensive guide to fitted kitchens where you can find information on planning a kitchen, more kitchen design ideas, details of how much a kitchen should cost and more.