6 Outdated Kitchen Cabinet Trends to Avoid, According to a Designer

published Aug 27, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
White modern kitchen room with cooking utensil simple lifestyle cooking at home
Credit: wera Rodsawang/Getty Images

Cabinets are one of the biggest investments we make in our kitchens (in our homes, period, for that matter). They’re also the kitchen feature that’s likely to stick around the longest. But just because they’re a fairly permanent feature doesn’t mean they’re immune from going out of style (hi, high-lacquer cherry cabinets with braided wood trim!).

To get the inside scoop on what kitchen cabinet trends are fading fast, I chatted with interior designer TK Wismer of the Department of the Interiors, a brand consultant who forecasts trends. Here are the cabinet trends she said we can say goodbye to this year. 

1. Light Woods

“Wood is really popular,” Wismer says, and notes that it’s a great sustainable natural material, but, maybe a victim of its own beauty, white oak has gotten really hard to find. “Ultimately it comes down to what you can get,” she says. And as a result, “We’ve seen the prices rise.” Mid-tone woods have gained favor in place of lighter woods.

2. White Cabinets

We’ve been awash in white for a minute. “Every beautiful kitchen we’ve seen is white,” says Wismer. It’s the definition of oversaturation. And while it’s a beautiful color for a kitchen, she says, with so many also white walls and ceilings, “People are really understanding that they need a little bit more depth,” she says. A creamy color, or a khaki like she did in her own recent kitchen reno, can also serve to make the other white features pop.

3. Boring Neutrals

Neutrals are popular for good and obvious reasons. But we don’t have to be limited to beige and gray as our only options, Wismer says. Taking their place? “Blue and green are really becoming neutrals,” she said — especially in lighter hues, and with the growing popularity of looking to nature for color inspiration (it’s what we see out our windows, she says). So much so, she adds, that stock cabinets are now being offered in those shades.  

4. Highly Decorative Cabinets

Intricate, overly wrought profiles just feel dated, Wismer says. Even the perennial favorite, Shaker style, is veering toward a slimmer profile, she says, as we’re moving away from decorative cabinets. If you’re not ready for truly plain, flat profiles, her personal favorite is a slim Shaker with just a little bit of an edge. 

5. Matching Hardware in Brass and Matte Black

Because so many people are looking for distinct designs, Wismer says, “There’s a big trend toward not having all pulls or knobs throughout the whole kitchen be the same,” she says. Rather than matching everything up, people are “mixing them by zone and thinking of the ergonomics of where they work,” she says. And while brass has been hot, along with matte black, in hardware she’s seeing signs that titanium and brushed black, sort of a “soft industrial,” are poised to take over.  

6. Wasting Existing Cabinetry

Ripping out an entire kitchen to update it leads to excessive waste, says Wismer. Both in terms of materials that often end up in landfills — and in money. “As we all look at the cost of living and DIY projects, sometimes it’s easier to just change out the front than gutting the entire cabinet,” she says. We can keep the boxes, but transform and personalize a space with custom cabinet faces.