The year 2021, Veranda’s Lauren Wicks jokes, is “the year of the sanity-saving kitchen.” Long the heart and service engines of our homes, kitchens are now our home’s command center: a multi-functional super room for crafting meals, Zoom calls, marathon homework and study sessions and a comforting place to reconnect with greatly missed friends and family.

But you can save sanity with style. Too often, we overlook the often underappreciated structures keeping our kitchens in place and running: the walls. If you can’t remember the last time your kitchen’s wall cabinets got a face lift, it might be time to consider restyling their look. For even Jennifer Anniston’s “Rachel” cut, Mr. T’s Mohawk and Justin Bieber’s “tattoo everywhere” look eventually went out of style.

Insert your “If these kitchen walls could talk” joke here. Kitchen walls provide the atmosphere, vibe and central storage areas of your home’s most important room. The 2021 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study notes upgrading cabinetry to create the right storage is a must for kitchens to realize their full functionality. And America’s homeowners are getting the message. Nearly all home owners surveyed in Houzz’s study – 94 percent — renovating their kitchens improve their cabinetry in some way, 63% are replacing their cabinets entirely, while 1 in 3 are opting for a partial cabinet upgrade.

“Storage has really come into focus as people have spent more time at home during the pandemic,” Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing at Houzz, said. “We’re seeing an increase in the amount of cabinetry added in renovations. And more homeowners are reaching out to professionals on Houzz for help making their kitchens work better, most often with the same layout and square footage.”

Houzz’s 2021 U.S. Kitchen Trends Survey also found 46 percent of renovating homeowners are adding or upgrading a pantry space and 13 percent are adding a walk-in pantry – a 3% increase from 2020.

The preferred color for America’s kitchen cabinets remains the country’s long-preferred cabinet tone: white (41%). Medium wood tones (13%) and gray (10%). Kitchen walls are moving in a neutral direction with redesigners choosing gray (28%), white (26%) and beige (21%) as their top colors of choice.

However, dark kitchens create a sleek, cool ambiance and look. Black, charcoal and midnight kitchen walls are giving kitchens coast to coast a ready-for-Hollywood look.

“(Dark colors) have always stood the test of time,” Architecture Lab notes. “In fact, these colors are unlikely to go out of style even in the coming years.

“… The contrast of dark or black cabinetry against a white backdrop works wonders as it offers elegance to your modern or contemporary kitchen.”

The list of this year’s trendiest looking kitchens also includes:

The Colorful Kitchen

Vibrant colors ranging from vivid greens to deep purple are bringing many contemporary kitchens to vivid life. When teamed with natural tones derived from stone or woodgrains, these colors create more warmth and texture for your kitchen.”

Colored cabinets popping with shades of blue, pink and green are also refreshing the looks of kitchens coast to coast.

The Painted Kitchen

Straight from yesterday and delivering classic style today, painted walls, furniture and cabinets paired with marble and concrete provide, Architecture Lab stresses, “a classic yet contemporary finish to your kitchen.” Kitchen walls with different shades of gray like taupe, charcoal and slate gray “offer a new lease of life to your kitchen when teamed with the right furniture and cabinetry.”

Remember, your kitchen’s walls and cabinets are much more than simply drywall, bricks and mortar, wood and storage units. They are artistic style statements on the look, feel and functionality of your kitchen. Keep them in style.

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