The Best Kitchens of 2021

kitchen with large marble topped island covered in food in foreground and blue la cornue stove to the right and sleek modern wooden cabinetry in background

Thomas Loof

The all-white kitchen may be a classic, but it was an endangered species in the design world in 2021. In its place: color, glamour, and razzle-dazzle details from coats of emerald lacquer to hand-poured terrazzo floors and custom chandeliers. If we had to psychoanalyze the trend, we’d conjecture that months (turning into years) of time spent at home—and home kitchens where chilly ranges were suddenly fired up to produce everything from sourdough loaves to homemade gourmet meals—might have inspired many to up the ante on the design of the most used space in the house. Here are some of our favorites.

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Green Lacquer

Green lacquer envelops a minimalist kitchen in a Parisian loft designed by Fabrizio Casiraghi. The galley kitchen has zinc countertops, the oven is by Miele, and the kitchen flooring is travertine inset with Verde Alpi marble.


Marble Marvel

A vivid blue La Cornue range was the jumping off point for Summer Thornton’s design of a Chicago kitchen. Cerused oak cabinetry, a counter in heavily patterned marble, and Roman and Williams Guild pendants add to the room’s dazzle.


Crisp Details

Textural accents like fluted wood cabinetry by Henrybuilt and Cristallo quartzite counters from ABC Stone warm up a sleek modern kitchen by Michael K. Chen. The barstools are by KGBL, and the pendant is by Roll & Hill.


All That Brass

Architect Poonam Khanna’s design for a Hamptons kitchen features a custom island clad in brass that is designed to patina over time. It’s topped with a Calacatta marble counter. The pendants are by Apparatus.


Romantic Lilac

Lavender walls add unexpected charm to the kitchen in textile designer Lisa Corti’s Milan apartment, which is separated from the living area by a windowed wall. Colorful touches like a blue worktable and red baseboards add to the candy-hued palette.


Inner Strength

In Johannesburg, architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens created an open kitchen with an island in flamed Namibian granite and dramatic overhead cylindrical vent hoods by Faber. The Aga stove is original to the 1950s home designed by Eyvind Finsen.


Pedal to the Metal

A massive wood table by Hermes Erbanesteria provides an organic counterpoint to the stainless steel kitchen in the Rio de Janeiro home of designer Juliana Lima Vasconcellos. The chairs are by Andrée Putman for Emeco.


Fit to Be Tiled

A restaurateur’s kitchen in a midcentury villa in Capri, designed by architect Giuliano Andrea dell’Uva, has walls lined in majolica tiles, metal-fronted custom cabinetry by DeManincor, commercial appliances, and a terrazzo floor.


Celadon Symphony

An antique farm table provides extra work space and anchors the kitchen at Chris Benz’s 1880s home on Long Island. He kept the home’s existing cabinets and refreshed them with Farrow & Ball’s Old White, with doors and trim in Ball Green. The brass hardware is from Rejuvenation.


Old-World Glamour

This kitchen, inside an 18th-century villa designed by Lorenzo Castillo, maintains its old-world charm but with palatial touches—at times literally: The fringed bronze chandelier was sourced from a royal residence in Madrid.


Staking a (Re)Claim

London design firm Retrouvius turns reclaimed architectural elements into “salvage glamour.” In this townhouse kitchen, the island was made from old museum cabinets, and the pendants are fashioned of vintage Czech glass chemistry funnels.


Ice Ice Baby

From its brass cabinetry to its hand-cast glass chandelier and chunky terrazzo floor, this Milanese kitchen by architect Hannes Peer nods to 1970s glamour. The vintage barstools are by Marcel Breuer.


Colorful Cubism

For a 1930s bungalow in the Silverlake district of Los Angeles, Rachel Bullock of LAUN created a kitchen-in-a-box: A green lacquered cube conceals appliances, cabinetry, and shelving for dishes and pantry items. Next to it, the island is in pink marble.


Rich and Rustic

For restaurateur Rose Bonura, Ryan Lawson outfitted an 18th-century home in Stamford, Connecticut, with a raw wood-paneled island and open shelving by Mathieu Matégot for Gubi. The flush-mounted lights are by Schoolhouse Electric, and the range is by Wolf and the refrigerator by SubZero.


Curve Appeal

Feng shui principles guided the design of a TriBeCa kitchen by architecture firm Dash Marshall. A curving cabinetry wall and matching island embody the concept of “flow” and are clad in tambour paneling. The counters are Caesarstone, and the pendants are by Ladies & Gentleman Studio.


Light-Filled Sanctuary

The pièce de résistance of this Brooklyn kitchen by Home Studios is an island clad in fluted white marble with a top and matching backsplash in deeply veined Paonazzo. Custom oak millwork conceals appliances and storage. The range is by Lacanche.


Postmodern Twist

In a Brooklyn townhouse designed by Civilian, the kitchen was relocated to the parlor level. Inspired by commercial kitchens, the steel frame island is given a luxury upgrade with an Arrabescatto marble top. A custom hood in red laminate adds a color pop to the neutral space.

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