Kitchen trends come and go. Over the last century we have seen the good, the bad and the return of some. But no two decades have been quite the same. Here, we take a look back at the most memorable kitchen trends of the last one hundred years.


From wallpapers that make a leopard’s skin look plain to timber detail, metals, stone, manmade materials and finishes that we would rather forget. Kitchen trends have certainly been vast and varied over the years.

Strap yourself into our time machine and take a look at these kitchen trends we remember the most. “Trendy” or not, we will let you decide.


1920’s kitchen trends

Kitchen trends of the twenties featured chunky, oversized burners that allowed for multitasking. Enamel finishes were a popular kitchen trend in this decade, which introduced a little style and ease of cleaning.

Appliances were introduced into kitchens of this time thick and fast. The electric dishwasher became more than just a kitchen trend; it was a revolution. Advertising encouraged men to purchase a dishwasher for their wives who would be happier being freed from the curse of hand-washing dishes.

Waffle irons, percolators and toasters were trendy placed right in the middle of the kitchen table!

Built-in kitchen cabinetry replaced the freestanding Hoosier cabinets. Colour slowly became another kitchen trend of the twenties.


1930’s kitchen trends

Smack in the middle of the Great Depression, kitchen trends of the thirties were simple and featured clean lines that maximised on space. The geometric motif made an entrance in this decade, influenced by the art deco period.

Kitchen trends and designs focused on materials that were easy to clean and maintain; metal cabinetry, stainless steel benchtops and linoleum floors.

Electric refrigerators grew in popularity over this time, however they were first more of a luxury item with astronomical price tags. Freon was the first non-toxic substance used in manufacturing refrigerators and was discovered in 1930 by chemist Thomas Midgely. It was adopted by manufacturers rendering electric fridges safe for household use. The thirties were a turning point in time for improved fridge designs. The major of these improvements saw the fridge compressor moved beneath the cabinet completing the simple box shape we see today.

The kitchen trends of this era focused primarily on functionality over aesthetics.


1940’s kitchen trends

The arrival of the washing machine and wringer came in 1948 in the U.K. Although now housed in the laundry, this appliance was seen as a kitchen trend as that is where it made its debut.

Kitchen nooks were hugely welcomed as a kitchen trend in 1949, making their transformation as a comfortable banquet area perfect for casual family meals. Another notable kitchen trend of the forties was gas-powered stoves.


1950’s kitchen trends

The fifties took on more of a fashionable angle for kitchen trends. Home owners started to move from practically to looks and the kitchen became a presentable living area.

Custom cabinetry and colour became a big kitchen trend focus. Bold hues, pastels and floral-patterned wallpaper were typical features. However, white enamel and stainless steel also upheld their kitchen trend popularity. The u-shape kitchen was a common trend, as was kitchen island benches.

The fifties saw innovations and kitchen trends like pull-out step shelves that doubled as an additional dining surface. Great on functionality, not so pleasing on hygiene. Alarmingly, homeowners of this time were also encouraged to add a chair in front of the sink – you know, to take the pressure off your back!

The sale of freezers escalated making the task of daily shopping a thing already of the past. High-tech cooking appliances, which now ran on electricity, were trending in kitchens. Rangehoods, ovens and decorative lighting were also on the rise.


1960’s kitchen trends

Earth tones, introduced as popular hues in kitchen trends in the sixties, stuck around for a while. In fact, golds and greens were still seen in kitchens in the eighties. Busier, bold patterns, solid-colour laminated benchtops, sleek curves and sharp angles were typical kitchen trends of this decade too.

The pegboard was a functional kitchen trend introduced to home equipment like pots and pans. And, this soon became a decorative kitchen trend which home owners really took to. Phones found their place in the sixties kitchen as well.


1970’s kitchen trends

An abundance of colour (mostly gold), daring wallpapers and timber cabinetry; weren’t the seventies all about inspiring new kitchen trends!

Natural materials such as wood, brick and stone replaced artificial plastics and laminates and took their place as memorable kitchen trends of the seventies. Acid-hued Formica became one of this decade’s biggest kitchen trends and allowed more flexibility in terms of cabinetry design.

The microwave landed in kitchens in this decade. Water and ice dispensers also became popular features of household fridges.


1980’s kitchen trends

Just like most things out of the eighties, kitchen trends of this time were big and bold. Bigger island benches, high ceilings, exposed beams, and plenty of natural light.

Black and white appliances trended in kitchens in the eighties, while a subtle burst of colour on cabinetry would break up designer patterns.

The fridge blended seamlessly into the background whilst chunky computers featured atop benches instead.

Open shelving was a welcomed kitchen trend of the eighties.


1990’s kitchen trends

Big and bold was out and minimal kitchen trends were in – what a difference a decade makes. Natural oak and pale coloured timbers featured in the nineties. Kitchen island benchtops doubled as bars and second dining areas with stools. Granite made a statement as a high-end nineties kitchen trend.

We remember the nineties for the increase in the farmhouse kitchen trend. On the other end of the spectrum was the gourmet kitchen, taking cues from restaurants with professional ranges and over-sized refrigerators.


2000’s kitchen trends

Minimalistic was the new kitchen trend. Beige was in (and in a big way) and bold colour was replaced with metallic finishes. Granite benchtops were a carry-over from the previous decade.

2000’s kitchen trends oozed high quality and sophistication.


2010’s kitchen trends

Kitchen trends of the modern era have taken on a more natural feel. White cabinetry, wooden flooring and stone benchtops are typical kitchen trends these days. Now nearing the end of the tens, we do see an increase in black-coloured tapware and darker cabinetry.

The modern kitchen trend is all about smart appliances that focus on efficiency and functional designs.


Kitchen trends have transformed dramatically over time. What will we see over the next one hundred years? It is hard to say for sure, but there is no doubt the kitchen will continue to play a pivotal role in households of the future.


The team at Harrington Kitchens can help you to navigate the often overwhelming realm of kitchen design and trends. Contact our team to discuss your new kitchen today.