Covid-19 is having a profound impact on what people now want from their homes, but nowhere is that shift more apparent than in the kitchen. According to Houzz’s 2021 Kitchen Trends Study, the past year saw many changes to kitchen remodelling trends: from bigger pantries to vinyl flooring.

Kitchens are the heart of the home and are often a hive of activity. This is particularly true continuing into 2021, with many people working in their kitchens at home, making them even more of a focal point

Trends for 2021 have reflected this, with a significant decrease in open plan spaces and a focus on storage over anything else. Colours remain neutral, and easy-clean vinyl flooring continues its growth in popularity.

High-tech appliances

With the internet of things (IoT) increasingly growing in popularity, people are adding more technical aspects into their kitchens. Combined with this lockdown period our appliances have seen heavy use, as everyone has spent more time in their homes, rather than relying on the office kettle

Whether this is smart home integrated, wireless controlled or similar, there is plenty of scope for technology in the kitchen. Wireless controls were the most popular upgrade, and in taps alone water efficiency was the most popular high-tech feature

When adding in appliances, some of the most popular are still gas or electric hobs. Home design site Houzz said that one of the five most popular products on site was gas and electric hobs, alongside taps and kitchen sinks.

Storage taking the lead

When the pandemic started, bulk buying essentials was a trend seen nationwide. Shops sold out of essentials like flour almost immediately, and when we were encouraged to stay at home, people bought bigger quantities, but found they didn’t have enough storage

Nearly two thirds of people surveyed by Houzz replaced all their kitchen cabinets last year, and already this looks to be continuing into this year. Homes are becoming a greater focus in people’s lives

Four times more people added storage into their home last year when compared to 2019, showing a decisive upward trend in additional storage. Cabinets were still the most popular addition, but open shelves also became popular.

No more open plan

Open plan has been a popular design trend in years gone by, but with home working being the case for most people, this has shown a notable decline. People are starting to compartmentalise their houses, whether this is due to working from their kitchen or from their living rooms. There is a demand for people to work in separate spaces from where they relax.

However, this is only for interior spaces, there has been a notable uptake in kitchens connecting to the outdoors, whether this be through double doors or a series of folding ones. According to Houzz, one in five homeowners opened the kitchen to an outdoor space (22%) in 2020, again something that mirrors house buying trends. Nationwide reported that nearly 30% of people considering moving home were doing so because they wanted a garden, or to be near parks and other outdoor space.

Neutral colours are here to stay

While some people choose to add bright colours to their homes, more often neutral tones are brought in to add some serenity to an otherwise busy room. Kitchens are functional rooms that need to be (and look clean, and the colours people are choosing are reflecting that.

Grey has taken the top spot for wall colour, as well as dark appliances picking up momentum. Houzz’s study reports that 10% of renovators chose black stainless appliances over the traditional brushed grey or white goods.

Amidst the grey is some colour, with many choosing to add colour in their backsplash – in fact, 18% chose a multicoloured one. While white was the favourite, people still are adding colour into their homes.

Grey walls are being used to complement wooden floors, along with coloured metals such as rose gold to warm homes up.

Flooring choices continue to change

Tile has taken the top spot back from hardwood, perhaps due to its easy ability to change around and replace if broken. Hardwood flooring has dropped down below tiles but not by much.

Vinyl has jumped in popularity, up by 5% in a year. It’s easy to wipe down, doesn’t shatter unlike a tile, and unlike hardwood, won’t splinter if a knife is dropped on it. Perfect for houses with young children, you can see why it’s becoming a popular choice.

Kitchens are a focal point in any home, and hopefully this article has given you some ideas and inspiration on what trends are here to stay in 2021.

This article was written in collaboration with KNB Ltd., Nottingham’s leading kitchen specialists.