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Six New England design trends in kitchens and baths for 2021

Discover the latest rage in cabinet colors, what’s replacing stainless steel in the kitchen, the trendy new bath tiles, and more.


1. It’s Easy Being Green

Searches on Houzz for green kitchen cabinets rose 829 percent this past spring. Boston-area designers report that clients are indeed moving away from all-white kitchens and baths, and some are embracing shades of green, at least as an accent. Designer Lisa Buyuk used Farrow & Ball Green Smoke for this Charlestown kitchen to impart a sense of history. Her impulse was validated when the team unearthed remnants of deep green beadboard during demolition.

Green cabinets are in big demand. michael j lee

2. Everything and the Kitchen Sink

The reps at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery confirm that workstation kitchen installations are soaring, especially among avid entertainers. The setups, which range from bar-size styles to long, restaurant-worthy extravaganzas, accommodate accessories such as drying racks, colanders, and cutting boards that transform the sinks into multifunctional prep, cleaning, or serving stations. “Workstations increase efficiency and performance in a kitchen,” says Donna Venegas, whose South End kitchen studio worked with designer Justine Sterling on this kitchen in Norwell.

A kitchen workstation.Jessica Delaney

3. Reed It Right

Reeded cabinets in kitchens and baths offer an update for those with a taste for texture and the desire to move away from simple Shaker styles. “Reeded wood elevates an otherwise utilitarian piece,” says Katie Bogart, who designed the reeded vanity in this Weston home. Reeded wood is especially effective for injecting dynamism into neutral and/or monochromaatic ensembles. Slatted and fluted surfaces, similar visual treatments to reeds, are also beginning to trend.


Reeded bathroom vanity.Jessica Delaney

4. Perfect Imperfections

The National Kitchen & Bath Association reports that natural/organic styles are on the rise. In New England, the popularity of zellige tiles reflects the trend. “Zellige brings in character while staying true to a classic feel,” says designer Hannah Oravec of Lawless Design. In this Newton Victorian, she mixed the hand-glazed, terracotta tiles with natural wood, a pairing prevalent in kitchens and baths. The tiles work well in both modern and traditional design schemes.

Zellige tiles on the wall behind the twin sinks on a bathroom vanity.Joyelle West

5. The Big Conceal

Kitchens are evolving from commercial to cozy. Instead of showcasing stainless steel, designers are creating custom hood covers that integrate with the cabinetry, or using plaster to blend them seamlessly into the walls. In this Newburyport kitchen, Jordan Cashman of Sage concealed the hood with crisp plaster, then trimmed it with white oak that ties to the floating shelf that flanks it. “Plaster hoods fade away so other elements can shine,” says Karen Swanson of New England Design Works.


A custom cover conceals the hood above the stove.FREEBIRD

6. Thinly Veiled

Mesh inserts are airy alternatives to glass-front cabinets that provide some cover. In this Melrose home, Jenni Jacobs of McGuire + Co. Kitchen & Bath outfitted marine blue cabinetry with diamond mesh panels in antique pewter to “distinguish the bar from the rest of the kitchen with a little bling.” To enhance cabinetry in walk-in pantries, designer Sarah Cole favors unlacquered brass mesh that will patina naturally. Mesh for bathroom linen cupboards is also proving popular.

Mesh inserts in the upper cabinets in a kitchen makeover.regina schwitz of regina mallory photography

Marni Elyse Katz is a contributing editor to the Globe Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @StyleCarrot. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.