This Is the Surprising New Color Popping Up In Trend Setters’ Kitchens

published Jan 19, 2022
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.
Woman painting cabinets
Credit: Diana Liang

Now Trending is our one-stop spot to get ahead of all of the biggest things for 2022 — before everyone else knows about them. From the surprising color that’s taking over kitchens to the TikTokers you need to follow and so much more, check out all of the top trends of 2022 here. Now Trending is created independently by our editorial team and generously underwritten by Target.

As a design writer, part of my brain’s always on the lookout for trends emerging in the world of interiors. When suddenly everyone is wallpapering their home with botanical prints or making their beds with throwback ruffles, I notice. Lately though, I’ve been focusing on cook spaces, helping Apartment Therapy’s sister site Kitchn gather candidates for their Renovation Diaries series. While scouting kitchens, you quickly realize that white, white, and more white is the current color trend in kitchen design. If people are feeling adventurous, you get some grays and blues. So it was with great surprise when my trend-spotting eye saw glimmers of a new and bold kitchen color trend emerging: shades of red!

I’ve been following designer and blogger Shavonda Gardner’s California kitchen renovation from its earliest stages. Having written about Gardner’s home in my book “Living Small,” I knew Gardner would opt for something colorful, but I was genuinely surprised when she shared the first peak of her cabinets painted in Sherwin-Williams’ Burgundy.

“I chose this color because I love moody, deep jewel tones,” Gardner told me about her kitchen renovation project, pictured above. “It’s one I know most people would never have chosen. I wanted to create a space that felt fresh and inspiring and would challenge people to think beyond neutrals.” She continues: “I think so many design lovers and creatives are really, really sick of the all-white kitchen reign.” Amen!

Credit: Laure Joliet

When Architectural Digest published Kirsten Dunst’s Los Angeles home in October 2021, burgundy-hued cabinetry popped up again (which you can see here), and my trend radar started to blip. Describing the kitchen as “extraordinary” AD contributor Mayer Rus called the room “a deeply soulful composition bathed in tones of aubergine and russet,” and the cabinetry is just the beginning. Even the countertops are a red stone, Rojo Cehegin marble to be exact.

Dunst’s cabinets are a slightly more plum hue than Gardner’s burgundy, but clearly, they’re kindred colors. I wasn’t the only one who caught the similarity. Gardner reveals, “So many people in my community sent Kirsten’s kitchen to me because of how many similarities it has to mine.”

Next, I spied oxblood cabinets in design writer Sophie Donelson’s new kitchen as shown just above, and as the saying goes, “Three is a trend,” right? “My designer Celia Bryson and I didn’t really look at other options,” Donelson said of the project. “She already knew my high threshold for living with color, and, when I saw it, it was sort of obvious how and why it would complement everything in it and near it.” While Donelson knows the color’s a bold choice and not for everyone, she does think it’s quite livable and versatile, especially when paired with warm earth tones like beiges and greens. “Berry colors are, unsurprisingly, appetizing,” she adds. “They look beautiful with green — from the houseplants on the windowsill to whatever we’re prepping for meals.”

Will these hues in the deep red to plum range truly become an all-encompassing trend though? Donelson and Gardner think it’s possible. “I hope it will make its way into the mainstream,” says Gardner, who doesn’t imagine, say, off-the-shelf burgundy cabinetry being available everywhere. “But I do see it in specialty stores and also offered in freestanding pieces like hutches or cabinets that can be incorporated into kitchens or other spaces as accents.”

Donelson agrees but thinks these bold hues are part of a larger trend. “I believe we’ll be seeing more colorful cabinets in the future,” she says. “I wanted painted cabinets so that I’d have the option of re-painting when I needed a fresh start. Is that arduous? Absolutely — but it’s easier and more environmentally responsible than installing new fronts or a new kitchen. I’m a huge believer in iterating on spaces.”

With paintable cabinet doors, you can change your mind without ripping the whole kitchen out. If you’re the type to crave a new look often, this is something important to consider when specifying cabinetry for your kitchen renovation. Even if it is more expensive upfront, it’ll mean you have an economical option to update later on down the road. As Donelson says, “No color or design choice should feel permanent — unless you want it to be!”