Kitchen & Bathroom Remodeling Trends 2021

The kitchen and bathroom are arguably two of the most important and frequently updated rooms in the house. And with the amount of time people have been spending at home during the last year, these two spaces have been getting more use than ever before.

Every year, Fixr.com reaches out to top designers and industry professionals from across the country to get their input on what the hottest trends will be for the coming year. This year, 68 top interior design experts weighed in on what they believe will be the hottest trends in kitchen and bathroom remodeling for 2021. These experts were chosen based on a variety of factors, including demonstrated expertise, industry recognition, and overall influence.

After the unusual circumstances of 2020, which saw people working, learning, and remaining in their homes in new and previously unforeseen ways, 2021 may be one of the most interesting years to date in terms of home improvements and design. From toilet paper shortages to obsessively cleaning around the house, some of homeowners’ new perspectives and priorities have started carving out a unique path into home design.

Key Findings:

  • 54% of experts choose mix-and-match metals as a key kitchen design trend for 2021
  • Quartz and quartzite top the list of kitchen countertop materials, with 78% of the vote
  • An increased interest in gourmet kitchens has translated into higher-end appliances
  • Touchless features are sought-after Smart technologies for both kitchens and bathrooms
  • 78% of experts agree that there is an increased interest in easy-to-clean surfaces
  • Spa elements will be the strongest bathroom trend in 2021, say 53% of experts
  • 56% of experts have seen an increase in bidets or bidet toilet seats

Table of Contents

The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is also where people tend to spend the most time - cooking, eating, working, studying, and socializing. To that end, the way the kitchen looks and functions can be extremely important to homeowners. These trends capture some of the directions people will go with their kitchen designs over the next year.

Kitchen Trends 2021 - Top Kitchen Remodeling Trends

When asked what they thought would be the hottest kitchens trends for 2021, 54% agreed that it would be mix-and-match metals. While for years stainless steel reigned supreme in the kitchen, followed by a brief surge in popularity of warmer metal finishes, people are beginning to turn away from a kitchen of solid stainless steel. Mixing different materials on appliances, sinks, faucets, lighting fixtures, and cabinet hardware creates a deeper, more dynamic design, which can make the kitchen a cozier, more interesting room to be in.

The cost of incorporating mixed metals varies widely, ranging from as little as a few dollars to change cabinet hardware to split finish knobs or pulls to as much as $12,000 for installing a Tuscan or bronze refrigerator.

Kitchen Trends 2021 - Top Kitchen Countertop Trends, Quartz and Quartzite

Almost half the experts surveyed, 45%, agreed that quartz will be the most used kitchen countertop in 2021. This is followed by 33% who think that homeowners will opt for quartzite. While these two materials sound a lot alike, they are in fact very different.

Quartz is a man-made material that is controlled in color and pattern, and it is impervious to most stains and scratches. The popularity of quartz countertops may stem from the desire of many people to have easier-to-maintain kitchen surfaces. The cost of quartz countertops ranges from around $60 - $80 per sq.ft. installed depending on the fabricator.

Quartzite, on the other hand, is a natural material that is much denser and more durable than marble or granite. It comes in wild and darker colors, such as Elegant Brown and Blue Roma, but it is also available in softer and more neutral hues, such as Thassos, Ajax, and White Pearl. Many types have intricate and unique veins. The popularity of quartzite comes from people who want to see a natural material in their kitchen that differs from the standard granites. Quartzite is a more expensive option than quartz and even marble, costing around $75-$500 per sq.ft before installation.

Kitchen Trends 2021 - Smart Kitchen Trends, Touches Faucets and Smart Refrigerators

When you consider the importance handwashing has had over the last year, it makes sense that touchless kitchen faucets would top the list of smart trends for 2021, receiving 62% of the vote. Touchless faucets work with sensors so that you never have to touch the handle to turn them on and off. This is a bonus for people who want to minimize high-touch areas that could be a depository for germs.

Touchless faucets that are motion controlled start around $200 and have similar installation costs as a standard faucet. If you choose a touchless option that is toe-operated, the cost of the faucet starts closer to $500, and you will need to have it installed at the same time as new cabinetry, with higher installation costs at $200 to $300.

Coming in second place, with 54% of the vote, are smart refrigerators. Smart refrigerators can help you meal plan, create shopping lists, and even communicate with others. This can be a great way to help families organize, particularly as they get back into the swing of working and studying outside the home again. Compared to regular refrigerators, smart units cost around 25% more, with average costs between $2,000 and $12,000 for the refrigerator, plus installation costs.

81% of Experts Agree That Homeowners’ Interest in “Gourmet" Kitchens Has Increased

Kitchen Trends 2021 - Higher-end appliances

When asked about whether they felt homeowners would want to invest in a “gourmet” kitchen, 81% of experts agreed that there is an increased interest in them.

Dahlia Mahmood is one of the experts who feels that the events of the last year have driven people to want gourmet kitchens. She explains, “Over the last year, we have seen the kitchen truly become the heartbeat of the home. My clients are asking for expansive islands or double islands. These spaces are not only essential for meal prep but have become a hub for family entertaining, quality time and schoolwork. Along with top-of-the-line appliances, built-in seamless refrigerators, pot fillers, and large walk-in pantries, a gourmet kitchen has become a multi-use space of beauty and utility.

When asked what their clients want in a gourmet kitchen, 30% of experts agreed that higher-end appliances were what people want the most. Anna K. Gibson elaborates, “Since people are spending more time cooking, we have seen a surge in higher-end appliances and different types of cooking techniques, such as steam and suave, that clients want to be incorporated into their kitchens. We also see even more requests for stations for bars and coffee bars.

To create a gourmet kitchen, you can go one of two routes. You can upgrade existing appliances for a total cost of between $6,000 and $15,000, and add things like appliance lifts and rollout carts to add extra counter space for smaller appliances. Or, you can go the full kitchen remodel route. In this case, you would be able to control for all factors, such as adding larger cabinets and pantry space, and integrating pot fillers, larger ovens and refrigerators, and appliance panels that can cover them. If this is the case, you can expect your total costs to fall between $100,000 and $120,000 for the complete renovation, design, materials, and installation of the gourmet kitchen.

There Is an Increased Interest in Easy-to-Clean Surfaces, Say 78% of Experts

Kitchen Trends 2021 - Increased Interest in Easy-to-Clean Surfaces

Although the experts’ opinions were mixed on what the best finishes were to keep the space clean and disinfected, many experts agreed that low-maintenance materials that could be easily cleaned were a must. As Pat Valentine Ziv explains, “I have always advocated for durability and the most maintenance free products for our busy lives. Now, more than ever, our focus is on cleaning and disinfecting, this includes utilizing everything available including the use of products that are naturally anti-microbial as well as borrowing from the knowledge and anti-microbial materials developed by the healthcare industry. This may include wallcoverings, flooring and paints.

Patti Johnson agrees, “Keeping a clean and not just tidy kitchen and bath is always a priority. When selecting cabinet hardware, I tend to select something smooth that can be easily cleaned and eliminate the harder to clean surfaces. A popular way to help keep surfaces clean is to tile walls outside the shower to use larger format tile in showers to cut down on grout. Storage and hampers help to keep the areas clean as well. Touch technology and voice activated faucets also can help a lot!

For both kitchens and bathrooms, the easiest to clean surfaces are those that are non-porous, meaning that they don’t have microscopic spaces for germs to live in and grow. For countertops, quartz is the best option, since it’s non-porous, and naturally antimicrobial. This has costs between $60 and $80 per square foot installed. Faucet and hardware finishes have several good options, including brass and copper, which naturally kill germs on contact, and chrome, which can be cleaned with any cleanser including bleach without harming the finish. Faucets made of chrome start at $50, while faucets made of brass or copper can start closer to $300.

When it comes to flooring, backsplashes, and other tiled areas, using large-format porcelain tile can help make things easier to clean. Porcelain is non-porous and can be cleaned with any cleanser. Finally, for the bathroom, look for fixtures that are coated with an anti-stick surface, which is designed to be easy to clean and to help prevent the growth of germs or bacteria, and which have costs starting between $100 and $500, depending on the fixture.

The bathroom usually ranks just behind the kitchen in the rooms most often used in the home, with both spaces being considered the two most important in terms of resale. This means it is just as important to pay attention to the trends in the bathroom as it is in the kitchen to make the most of your spaces.

Spa Elements Will Be the Strongest Bathroom Trend in 2021, According to 53% of Experts

Bathroom Trends 2021 - Spa Elements as Top Trend in 2021

When you consider the amount of time people have spent at home over the last year, it is no wonder that they are looking for some comfort and pampering in their own homes. For this

reason, spa elements are poised to be one of the strongest bathroom remodeling trends for 2021. Spa elements include soaking tubs, performance showers, saunas, steam showers, and other items that can be used to make you feel good about yourself right in your own home.

There are many ways to achieve a spa look in a bathroom, and they vary widely depending on the homeowner’s budget. One common way is adding a soaking tub, which is deeper than regular tubs. These units range from $1,000 to $12,000, depending on the material and size. A more affordable yet sophisticated way of attaining this look is by adding river rocks to your shower floor. These can massage your feet with every shower, and cost around $30 a square foot installed.

You can also use things like waterfall faucets, which start around $50 - $100 each, and add vessel sinks to your countertops in a variety of materials including stone, copper, or glass, depending on your personal taste. These sinks start at about $200.

71% Project Black Will Continue as a Big Trend in 2021

Bathroom Trends 2021 - Black Bathrooms

Black bathroom accents were one of the biggest trends of 2020. And most experts feel that it will continue to be popular in some way throughout 2021, with 37% saying that the trend will continue as is and another 34% thinking that black will be balanced with other colors and finishes. Black as a color works well with a wide range of other colors and tones, from bold hues like red and turquoise to more mellow hues of tan, gray, and white. This means that black is very easy to incorporate into a bathroom, even if you do not want it to take center stage.

There are many ways of incorporating black accents into your bathroom. You can use a retro tile that features black and white patterns on the floor for around $3 - $4 per square foot. You can also go simple and add small things like a black mirror frame, towels, shower curtain, and throw rugs. If you want to get more involved, you can also opt for black marble thresholds into the room and shower, black marble countertops, or shelves.

All of these cost around $50 per square foot. Remember that accents look the best when you have a way of tying them back to the rest of the design. So, adding a small black tile border, adding some black mosaic tiles to a floor pattern, or using black shelving and thresholds gives you the ability to build on these accents with textiles and artwork later, without overwhelming the space.

Natural Stone and Bold Colors Top the List of Ways to Make a Statement in the Bathroom

Bathroom Trends 2021 - Natural Stone and Bold Shower Tile

It was nearly a 3-way tie between natural stone, bold colored shower tile, and bold colored cabinets for the ways to create a statement in the bathroom. Bold colored accents like tile and cabinets are a great way to inject life and personality into a small space. Natural stone, on the other hand, can have distinctive color and veining patterns that make every bathroom unique. Since some natural materials are often included in spa-style designs, it makes sense that natural stone would also be included in the list of popular statements.

Natural stone can vary a lot in costs. Bianco Carrara is one of the most popular stones, and has costs starting as low as $3 per square foot. You can also combine styles, and opt for a bold colored stone tile for your shower, with costs starting closer to $20 per square foot for something like Rosso Asiago. Another option is choosing a bold shower tile with handmade bright colors starting at $25 per square foot, and coming in a wide range of different colors and patterns. You can also opt to simply paint your existing cabinets a bold color for less than $50 if you want to get one of these trends for less.

Bathroom Trends 2021 - Unusual Marble and Bold Patterns

When asked about the most popular bathroom tile trends for 2021, 43% of experts answered unusual or bold marble. This includes marble in different colors but also with striking veining. Another 38% thought that bold, repeating patterns would be the most popular type of tile, followed by ceramic mosaics in unique patterns. By using a bold marble or repeating pattern, you can make the bathroom floor more visually interesting. Bold and repeating patterns also disguise dirt better than solid-colored floors, which can be an added bonus for busy households.

Bold marble floors tend to cost more than simple, more popular marbles. Some good examples to try include Sahara Gold, which has costs starting around $10 per square foot, as well as Breccia Oniciata, which has costs starting closer to $20 per square foot. If you want to opt for a bold, repeating pattern, take a look at some of the offerings at Pratt and Larson, for $30 to $50 per square foot, or from Walker Zanger for a wider range of costs from $20 to $100 per square foot.

If you want to get a ceramic mosaic floor, costs range from $5 for penny tiles and classic designs to $30 for more intricate patterns.

56% of Experts Have Seen an Increase in Bidets or Bidet Toilet Seats

Bathroom Trends 2021 - Increased Use of Bidets and Bidet Toilet Seats

With the toilet paper shortage in March and April of 2020, many people predicted that there would be an uptick in the number of installations of bidets and bidet toilet seats. When asked whether they received more requests for these features in bathroom remodels or new bathrooms, 56% of interior design experts claimed they had more requests of some kind (29% stated more requests for both, another 18% saw more requests for bidet toilet seats, and the last 9% experienced an increase in bidets only).

On the other hand, 44% saw no increase at all. With these mixed answers, time will tell if this is a long-lasting trend. However, this situation may have given many Americans the opportunity to try this feature, which is well-known in many other countries, and they may want to keep it for the future.

If you are having your bathroom completely remodeled, it’s easy to add a bidet. Costs range from $500 to $1,500 depending on style and placement. It is more difficult to add a bidet to an existing bathroom, in which case a bidet toilet seat makes the most sense. These can cost between $200 and $1,000 depending on the options you choose to add. Bidet toilet seats can have warm air, heated seats, and even scented options if you desire.

Bathroom Trends 2021 - Touchless Toilets and Faucets as Top Smart Trends

Like in kitchens, touch-free features top everyone’s list for smart trends in 2021. Touchless toilets received 53% of the vote, while touchless faucets received 50%, with the experts being able to choose up to two options. Touch-free toilets and faucets help keep hands clean and avoid cross-contamination. It also means that there are fewer high-touch areas in the bathroom for people to clean. For families looking to cut down on the spread of germs, touchless fixtures can be a big bonus.
Touchless toilets can have a range of costs depending on brand. Expect the toilet itself to cost between $400 and $1,200. Depending on the model, you may need to have additional work done during installation, including electrical wiring in some cases. This can increase installation costs from $100 to $500 on average.

Methodology

Fixr sent 68 home design experts a survey containing both multiple-choice and open-ended questions. Each survey participant was selected for their role in the home design industry based on their professional portfolio, influence on social media, and industry awards won. The survey questions covered a wide range of topics about kitchen and bathroom trends, and some questions allowed the experts to choose multiple answers. The data and visualizations used in this report include all responses received. Some open-ended responses were edited for clarity.

The Expert Contributors

To create this report, we asked for input from a number of industry experts. We appreciate the time and effort each one of the contributors put into sharing their expertise for the creation of this report. We extend a special thank you to them all.