5 Unexpected Farmhouse Kitchen Trends [In 2021]

I’ve noticed a few unexpected farmhouse renovation trends in the farmhouses I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know lately. Of course there are some “definites” that just about every farmhouse kitchen has (such as a farmhouse apron sink), but these are trends I noticed that I wasn’t necessarily thinking I’d see over and over like I have. If you’re looking for ideas to recreate a kitchen from a historic farmhouse, check out these awesome– and perhaps a bit unusual– inspiration pictures I’ve taken in 2021. Here are the top 5 trends I wasn’t expecting that I’m loving:

1. Pivot Away From the All-White Kitchen

kitchen with dark blue walls and dark countertops

For years, the crisp clean white kitchen was the ideal we all loved and wanted in a farmhouse, right? Simple white cupboards, white backsplash, white-ish marble or granite or quartz, something like that countertops… you know the look. White feels clean and easygoing. It doesn’t go out of style quickly, which made it all the more appealing for an expensive renovation project such as redoing a kitchen.

But it would appear the all white kitchen has had its time in the spotlight and the fad is on its way out, at least for farmhouse kitchens. I don’t know if it was the pandemic or just a natural shift away from white, but I’m seeing more and more kitchens that are going to warmer, darker colors. Warm wood tones are in. Moody dark colors are in. Homemade rustic charm is in. A place where you can feel cozy and congregate with your household for hours seems to be the goal.

dark wood kitchen

It’s a bit more bold and gutsy to decorate a kitchen in a color other than white because it’s a commitment. No one wants to change up their kitchen in 2 years. The fear of getting bored of (or sick of) a color is legitimate. I’m seeing poignant beautiful classic– and dark!– colors appearing, and I’m here for it.

Let’s make the kitchen the congregating place and stay and chat for a while. Since we’ve all spent so much time in our homes the past ~2 years, can we agree that a pristine all white kitchen isn’t the most comfortable place to hang out?

2. Good Bye, Upper Cabinets. Hello, Beauty.

Upper cabinets are functional and necessary for tiny kitchens with next to no storage. What I’m loving– and appreciating so very much these days– is the decision to forego that function in favor of dressing up the walls with beautiful art.

green kitchen cupboard

 

(The trend of open shelving in lieu of upper cabinets took off a few years ago. And while I love a good shelf here and there, old house owners quickly realized one thing: old houses are always. always. dusty. I am pretty sure if you put a plate on an open shelf in a historic farmhouse, dust will accumulate on it by the time you’re done setting the plate on the shelf to begin with.)

kitchen window with artwork around

My thoughts are that if hanging something on the wall makes you smile, laugh, or simply feel good, it is so worth the lack of storage space. Aesthetics matter. We spend so much time in the kitchen. Perhaps as a society we have hyper-focused on the aspect of storage space, which is very marketable. What if all that storage isn’t as important as we think? What if the atmosphere you’re in matters more? (Again, I don’t know if the trend was going this way before the pandemic or if the pandemic kind of spurred it along, but I’m loving the plot twist of forgoing upper cabinets in order to hang cool artwork up instead.)

This is definitely the route we took when we redid our kitchen (see it here: back in 2013). We took out a whole wall’s worth of cabinets in order to have open space and hang up meaningful artwork, and I’m so happy we made that choice. It lightened up the whole kitchen. (Side note: I am blessed to have a big kitchen and I know I could have found things to store in those upper cabinets had we put some up, but without the place to accumulate stuff, I simply don’t have the stuff.) I like simple.

3. Wood Paneling

Along with the idea that all white kitchens are not as cozy is the presence of wood. Wood in its natural state as well as painted wood seem to be really trending right now and it’s easy to see why.

wood fireplace with wood paneling in kitchen

Wood adds such a beautiful warmth to a room. It feels natural, kind of like a return to basics. Nature is timeless. Wood will always be in style. Even if it’s painted, wood just feels homey.

I’m digging painted wood planks being used as a backsplash. Kind of like bead board but again a more traditional state:

wood panel backsplash

The wood behind the countertop above is so simple and classic. While I think it’s “trendy” to have something like wood instead of subway tile as a backsplash, I don’t think this trend will be going anywhere anytime soon. It almost reminds me of colonial Williamsburg or some kind of simpler farmhouse style before kitchens became so complicated. Going back to basics seems reassuring these days, doesn’t it?

4. Kitchen Islands With Character

I love when the rest of the kitchen cabinets are one style but the island is clearly different and it becomes a talking point. Old houses always have stories to tell, and what better way to honor that than with a central point in the kitchen that has a story to tell too.

island made from old stovetop in farmhouse kitchen

Farmhouse kitchens were never meant to be perfectly pristine. The island is a perfect opportunity to show off something off the beaten path. You kind of get a free pass to have something a little messy and unusual when it’s not matching the rest of the kitchen anyway. It’s this kind of detail that makes a house into a home.

close up view of unique kitchen islandAs I’ve mentioned already, I think the significance of a comfortable atmosphere in a kitchen cannot be understated these days. It’s important to feel cosy in your own kitchen. A slightly-funky island that’s different from the rest of the cabinets can help make the whole space feel less formal.

5. Modern Floor to Ceiling Cabinets

Why have a backsplash behind your countertop when… you could just not?

I love the idea of the upper cabinet connecting directly with the countertop. It makes so much sense to me. In my kitchen, clutter frequently consumes the space at the back of the countertop anyway. This style of cabinets would reduce the ability for that to happen.

white kitchen cupboard with counter and windows on either side

If clutter does build up on the countertop, it makes sense to use cabinet doors to hide all of it. (Why do we not do this all the time?????)

floor to ceiling cabinets of kitchen

When you think about a farmhouse kitchen, you typically think of a simple, uncluttered look. When you need the kitchen tidied ASAP, you could simply close the cabinet doors on all the mess. Counter space can be utilized just as well when it’s behind cabinet doors.

 

On Trend: Farmhouse Kitchens

Farmhouse kitchens are having their moment, but what I love about restored historic homes is the knowledge that the trends will come and go but the big picture is timeless. Rather than look to Pinterest or HGTV for farmhouse kitchen inspiration, the best place to steal ideas is from old farmhouses themselves. After all, what might be considered trendy for some of us is classic and timeless for others. 🙂

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