What Recent Cabinet Trends Tell Us About the Trajectory of Interior Design


Trends affect every industry, but interior design is more sensitive to them than most. Popular design choices wax and wane regularly, so getting ahead of shifts is crucial to success. To spot these trends early, look no further than the humble cabinet.

While cabinets may not take center stage in many interior design philosophies, they tend to be reliable markers of larger trends. Consequently, you can learn much about what to expect in the sector's future by noticing how cabinet choices change.

Why cabinets are a good indicator of design trends

What Recent Cabinet Trends Tell Us About the Trajectory of Interior Design

Stella House by Demo Architecture - Photography: Sidney Bensimon

Interior design trends often appear in cabinets before larger areas for a few reasons. First, they take up a lot of real estate in kitchens, which are the top remodeling priority for 27% of homeowners — more than any other space. More than half of homeowners also agree updated kitchens are a home's most appealing design feature.

Cabinets are a safe place for homeowners to experiment when trying new design trends. They're relatively easy to change and are affordable. Consequently, budget-conscious consumers are more likely to turn their attention here before addressing the rest of their home.

Finally, cabinets involve both functionality and aesthetics. People interact with them frequently, so they must function well, but they also see them often, so they must be aesthetically pleasing. This conjunction between form and function makes them a prime target for emerging trends. With that in mind, here's what recent cabinet trends say about interior design as a whole. 

1. Quiet luxury is coming to more than clothes

What Recent Cabinet Trends Tell Us About the Trajectory of Interior Design

ROOST East Market Apartment by Morris Adjmi Architects - Photography: Matthew Williams

Quiet luxury has dominated recent clothing trends and as it grows, it'll likely also apply to interior design. This philosophy marks a shift away from extravagant displays of wealth in favor of subtler indicators. Think classic shapes, colors that match with more hues, intricate patterns instead of flashy ones and high-quality materials.

You can see this in how cabinets are trending toward matte or textured wood finishes instead of glossy ones. Showy handles like those made of glass or shiny metal are also falling out of fashion as more practical alternatives take their place.

This trend is showing stronger performance than many fashion fads, too. Quiet luxury companies' stocks have outperformed flashier alternatives by 23% in some cases. Now that this shift is showing up in cabinets, it's almost guaranteed to influence overall interior design soon.

2. Natural wood is making a resurgence

What Recent Cabinet Trends Tell Us About the Trajectory of Interior Design

Woods Cove by Jen Samson Design

Along similar lines, you’ll see many cabinets today opting for natural wood finishes instead of metal, glass or laminate. Specific shades still vary widely, but homeowners are often choosing stains over paints. This emphasis on visible wood grain reflects a larger movement toward natural materials and aesthetics.

Wood hasn’t always been a popular choice for kitchens, as it can discolor easily and doesn’t hold up well to moisture. While those factors may affect its popularity on kitchen floors, it’s coming back in force for cabinets. Countertops, walls and doors will likely follow suit.

It’s worth framing this trend in light of the growing attention to biophilia and sustainability. Wood finishes make a home feel more one with nature but aren’t always an eco-friendly option. You can meet both demands by opting for faster-growing lumber like birch and bamboo, or fiberboard with a strong wood grain veneer finish.

3. Hybrid styles are growing

What Recent Cabinet Trends Tell Us About the Trajectory of Interior Design

Beverly Hills Redesign by Proem -Photography: Christopher Sturman

In some ways, the move toward wood and less flashy luxury represents a revival of classical styles. However, that doesn’t mean interior design will see a full shift toward traditionality. Rather, cabinet styles suggest old-meets-new designs will dominate the coming years.

Consider the resurgence of shaker cabinets and raised-panel cabinet doors. At the same time, many modern shaker or raised-panel doors have thinner frames than they’d traditionally feature. This juxtaposition is a contemporary twist on an old style — something that will define tomorrow’s interior design.

Mixed styles account for a wider variety of tastes and won’t go out of fashion as quickly as strictly traditional or hyper-modern alternatives. Some may lean into this trend by opting for an old-fashioned aesthetic with modern conveniences like soft-closing cabinet doors. That balance between functionality and appearance will drive hybrid styles across other design areas, too.

4. Textural variety is in

What Recent Cabinet Trends Tell Us About the Trajectory of Interior Design

Kitchen Design by Durasein

Old and new aesthetics aren’t the only things homeowners are mixing. Recent cabinet trends also show a preference for varied textures and finishes.

The focus on texture is evident in the quiet luxury trend and resurgence of wood grain. However, cabinets today don’t just feature a single but prominent finish. Rather, they blend them, like adding polished brass handles to natural wood doors, or contrasting matte and glossy paints. Carved detailing around cabinet frames is another way they introduce textural variety.

Expect to see kitchens contrast natural cabinet finishes with smooth countertops or backsplashes. As this trend grows, you may see textural variety in flooring, accent walls, entryways and shelving. In all these applications, contrasting textures add interest and showcase unique personalities without loud colors or flashy designs.

5. Minimalism is out, display is in

What Recent Cabinet Trends Tell Us About the Trajectory of Interior Design

Prospect Park Apartment by Barker Architecture Office - Photography: Francis Dzikowski | OTTO

Open cabinets are another growing trend in cabinet design. A rising number of homeowners are forgoing cabinet doors entirely or including transparent windows.

This trend has two main takeaways for interior design as a whole. First, design is leaning toward increased practicality. Cabinets are more convenient when you can see what’s in them. Secondly, home design is moving away from the minimalism that dominated the late 2010s in favor of showcasing aesthetically pleasing appliances or unique collections.

Putting belongings on display instead of hiding them behind doors reflects a greater emphasis on individuality. That should come as no surprise, considering 71% of consumers today expect personalization from brands and one of the most popular social media platforms is TikTok, which centers around highly cultivated, hyper-personalized feeds.

Look to cabinets to get ahead of trends

Cabinets are easy to miss, but their commonness is part of what makes them such great indicators of shifting trends. As cabinet design choices grow, expect similar themes to show up across consumers’ interior design demands.

Recognizing these trends early will help you adapt to a shifting market. Getting ahead of the movement will let you serve customers’ growing needs better and earlier than your competitors.

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