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Kitchen Design Trends

By February 11, 2021December 7th, 2023Design Advice, Niche Homes Studio Features

A kitchen remodel comes with the highest price tag, but also with the highest return. A well-executed remodel adds value not just to your home, but your everyday life. Niche Homes always advocates for invoking a classic style that honors the architectural story of your home. And my goal as a designer is to guide my clients into design choices that will withstand the test of time. Some popular design features from the last decade are here to stay. White and bright will always be a timeless option. Brass hardware, brass light fixtures and brass plumbing will also be popular for the foreseeable future.  However, warm and organic is coming into the spotlight with the exit of cool grays and the returned popularity of stained wood cabinets. Continue reading to learn more about kitchen trends for 2021.


Full height slab backsplashes have been making a resurgence since 2020 as the popularity of unique natural stone has grown. Quartzite, a natural stone in-between marble and granite on the hardness scale, has beautiful veining and comes in unique colors as well as beloved neutral whites, grays and beiges. 

Photo credit Marie Flanigan 

A stone ledge detail in your slab backsplash elevates the design choice further by making it more functional and allowing for you to decorate with personal touches. 


More time at home, and an uncertain world, deepens our desire for the warm and nurturing comforts of home. Stained wood cabinets in white oak and walnut allow for an earthy neutral palette that is timeless. The key to successful stained-wood cabinets is to match your flooring or choose a finish with enough contrast to make your floor look intentionally different. I love the soft iridescence of natural walnut and it is a great choice for a contemporary or craftsman space. 

 Photo credit Studio M

White oak has also been very popular over the past couple of years. When selecting oak cabinets, select a rift-sawn or quarter-sawn oak, not the plain-sawn oak that was popular in the 1980s and 90s. Another important key to a successful stained wood cabinet is to select a water-based stain instead of an oil-based stain. Oil-based stains will richen and warm over time. Specifically, this finish will orange oak over time, so avoid it at all costs unless you want your cabinetry looking like a basketball court!

Kayley Danielson Design/Marie Jefferies Photography

Kayley Danielson Design/Marie Jefferies Photography

If warm and neutral does not appeal to you, dramatic, dark-painted cabinets may feel just right. Rich jewel box colors like Benjamin Moore Navy Hale and Benjamin Moore Salamander feel both interesting and forever classic. 

Photo credit Room for Tuesday

Photo credit Tom Howley

Deep charcoal, like Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain, conveys a unique drama that is easy to adore.

Photo credit Raili CA Design


My grandfather, a great builder, once told me that good design always includes interesting ceiling details. Wood ceiling elements add organic warmth to any space. You do not need to have a high ceiling to add a ceiling feature in your kitchen. 

Photo credit Carol Reed Design

In fact, I believe that a lower ceiling can benefit greatly from a tongue and groove finish or other special detail. Shallow beams can also be used to hide support beams that need to be added when creating an open floor plan in what was once a closed off space.  

Photo credit Style me Pretty


Light fixtures are the jewelry of a home. I am thrilled to see the trend for unexpected light fixture choices in kitchens. Urban Electric has a selection of pendants that can be created in an unlimited number of paint colors. Adding a pop of color in a traditional space is unexpected and elevates the design. 

Photo credit Urban Electric

Photo credit Urban Electric

One single, sculptural pendant is a great alternative to a group of two or three pendants over an island. It is a sophisticated statement that I find really interesting. 

Photo credit Home Bunch


Faucets of the past have been utilitarian. However in 2021, faucets are becoming a unique way to make a design statement. Waterstone’s, The Wheel, faucet has a unique nautical wheel detail for the pull-out sprayer that is sure to be a conversation starter. 

Photo credit Waterstone

And if you do as many dishes as I do, you may be interested in raising your faucet power from one spout to two. Waterworks has designed a beautiful industrial faucet with two spouts. 

Photo credit Waterworks

The faucets above come with big price tags that will not fit into everyone’s budget. A more budget-conscious option would be to consider some of the offerings from Brizo. The Artesso’s unique articulating arms and the contemporary textured detail on the Litze are interesting and will take a utilitarian faucet to the next level. 


When making fixture and finish choices, it is important to select things that speak to your heart. Use restraint when diving deep into Pinterest and Instagram. We are bombarded with beautiful imagery everyday. It is easy to have the vision for your space muddied and to get overwhelmed with all the options. The best practice is to find one or two images that really inspire you and discard the rest. As you make selections, keep referring back to the goal image to make sure you are staying on track to create your vision. This is not to say you should identically recreate something within the image. Use it as a permission slip to say “no” to other beautiful things that just don’t align with your goals. Or even better yet, call an expert. A good designer works as a facilitator to help execute your vision and dream.

Featured image photo credit Melanie Cherrier from House and Home Magazine

Want to know more about this year’s other trends? Read Kayley Danielson’s Bathroom Design Trends 2021

Kayley Danielson is Niche Homes in-house interior designer. Read more of Kayley’s design advice or follow her on Instagram.

Niche Homes is a boutique real estate agency specializing in Wasatch Front neighborhoods and enclaves. Contact us if you are interested in buying, selling or moving to Salt Lake.

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