Kitchen Design

8 Earthy, Cozy Kitchen Trends We’re Seeing for Fall

According to some of our favorite designers.

August 25, 2021
Photo by Seelensachen Fotografie / @seelensachen

As we prepare to round out 2021 in the coming months, one thing is for sure—the kitchen remains key. “We’ve spent so much time in the kitchen over the past 18 months, so people are really being mindful of how kitchen design is so essential and has a major impact on how people inhabit their homes,” interior designer, Peti Lau, explains.

When it comes to fall 2021 kitchen trends, what can we expect to see, well, everywhere? We spoke with eight design experts who weighed in with their predictions.

1. Dining Tables in the Kitchen

Remember the eat-in kitchen of your youth? Well, it may just be making a comeback. Erin Kestenbaum says we can expect to see dining tables in place of islands this year. “I believe we're all craving cozier, more lived-in spaces and that extends into the kitchen, where warmth and patina continues to trend,” she says. As Lau states, “A kitchen is the heart of the home and we spend so much more time at home now, that the kitchen brings the family together to be nurtured.”

2. Islands as Furniture Pieces

Those who do choose to opt for islands are taking a different design approach, Claire Staszak says. “We also particularly love the trend of islands looking more like furniture pieces or tables and less like big cabinet blocks.” Prep tables are also on the rise, Katherine Thewlis notes. “These tables usually have legs as opposed to closed sides,” she explains. “This exposes more of the flooring, making the room feel much larger. It’s a more rustic, utilitarian look which can provide balance to a modern kitchen.”

3. Custom Storage Solutions

We’ll be seeing more upgrades “that make your kitchen work harder for you while maximizing every square inch of storage,” Kestenbaum says. What features, exactly, may be rising in popularity? “Produce drawers, in-drawer knife storage, under-sink drawers, and integrated cutting boards,” Kestenbaum notes. We wouldn’t be at all surprised if this largely stems from spending more time cooking at home and really utilizing our cooking spaces over the past year and a half.

4. Work From Home Solutions

And on the note of spending more time at home, Dominique Fluker says we can expect our kitchens to continue to serve double duty and function as makeshift offices. “Be prepared to see many flexible open kitchen models, as people are still working from home and need alternative workspaces,” she comments. “Modular kitchens highlight smart shelves, space-saving features, and maximized corners. Additionally, we may see an insurgence of kitchen nooks, as they are a cozy work-from-home option.”

5. Darker Tones

Wood tones in the kitchen will “become darker and richer,” Meg McSherry believes. Emily White agrees. “Rather than the flawless, white kitchens we know and love, people are taking a much more ‘lived-in’ approach with dark color palettes, beautifully stained wood cabinetry, and organic countertop materials, like marble and quartzite, with lots of depth and movement,” she comments. Lau predicts the same—“Instead of blue, grey, and white kitchens, the new kitchen trends are more warm, calm, and earthy tones.”

Jessica Brigham believes that autumnal hues in particular will reign when it pertains to cabinets. “The moodiness of burgundys, magentas, and even deep blues bring in such a fabulous pop of color and beckon the chillier, crisper autumnal days ahead,” she notes.

Note that the resurgence of upper cabinets themselves is also a key trend. Says Thewlis, “Cabinet doors are going to have a moment again with impressive hardware and cut-out details on the door fronts.”

6. Terracotta Tiles

And on the tile front, cozy touches are having a moment. “Backsplashes in hand made tile will still be in favor since they invoke feelings of comfort and coziness, which we all are attracted to right now,” McSherry adds. “I suspect we will be seeing terracotta tiles coming onto the scene—especially on the kitchen floor.”

7. Quartzite

Quartzite, which White mentioned above, is also a popular choice for kitchen countertops and backsplashes, Staszak says. Lau is also a fan of the durable material, which she says is easy to maintain but still extremely chic.

8. Shaker-Style Peg Rails

Everywhere you look, there seems to be a new installation of a peg rail. While they’re extremely practical for entryway or mudroom spaces (hanging up jackets and bags) they’re also expanding into kitchens. They’re just as functional there, too, for hanging decor, tote bags, fruit, and leaning pictures on top.

Which of these kitchen trends would you try in your own home? Which ones would you pass on? Tell us your thoughts below!

This article was updated in August 2021 to reflect the current kitchen trends.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Sarah Lyon

Written by: Sarah Lyon

Freelance writer and interior design enthusiast


rox L. September 12, 2022
Many design idea mentioned are suggested by designer's and aren't very practical.....terra cotta tiles, open shelving may look great but aren't good for a working kitchen.
MaggieC65 September 12, 2022
This is 2022, what’s up with tips for 2021?
Beth P. September 11, 2022
Not sure why you sent me Fall 2021 styles for Fall 2022?
livintoday September 11, 2022
Don't use instagram so much of this is a non-starter for me.
Susan I. September 11, 2022
Terra Cotta tile? I don't think so!!! We have it our bedroom (it was here when we bought the house.) It's horrible to clean, and the grout gets icky. It would be next to impossible to remove, so we put a gorgeous white carpet over it. Tile in a kitchen would be lovely when you drop a glass....
ed21e3 December 29, 2021
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Diana M. October 6, 2021
Can't get the open shelves thing. Doesn't anybody else get greasy dust in their kitchen? Or do they just regularly take everything down and wash it? Blech, either way.
Linda S. October 6, 2021
Your mentioned quartzite as a 'cozy' fall trend. It is a beautiful stone but higher maintenance I have found than granite. I never had to seal or do any kind of maintenance on my granite counters of 20 yrs. The quartzite however must be sealed every two to three years because it absorbs oils and leaves dark soaked spots that are not easily removed.
AliceK September 5, 2021
It's so lucky that I never got around to ripping out my upper cabinets and painting everything white! Looks like my '90s kitchen is coming back in style!
stellarsuz September 5, 2021
Hate having to click into Instagram to see the photos...
Marilyn S. September 5, 2021
So happy to see tables back in kitchens!
I like the storage in an island but sitting in a row is not a conversation where you see each other’s faces! If cupboards are more than shelves would help! Not sure I like the darker cupboards but am happy to see a possible demise of islands!