Kitchen cabinets can make or break your kitchen renovation. Consider these 9 trendy kitchen cabinet finishes for 2021 that you're sure to love.

Long gone are the days when vinyl-covered kitchen cabinets were your only option for a ”trendy” look and feel in one of the most important rooms in your home. Today, we’re spoiled for choice with kitchen cabinet finishes, colors, add-ons, and embellishments.

If you have a specific look in mind for your kitchen, no doubt there’s a kitchen cabinet style and finish to suit your aesthetic. And the great news is that most of these cabinetry finishes are far more affordable (and robust) than ever before. 

If a kitchen remodel is on the cards for you in 2021, here are some of the top cabinetry finishes and details to consider. 

On-Trend Kitchen Cabinet Finishes for a Truly Modern Kitchen

So, maybe you don’t quite have to budget for an entire kitchen remodel, but want to overhaul this area of your home in some way. One of your best options is with a cabinetry overhaul as your cabinets tend to take up the most surface area of your kitchen. 

If you think about it, your kitchen cabinets are what you see first. If you want to make an impact, but don’t want to spend an absolute fortune, cabinetry re-finishing is your go-to. 

Here are some of the most on-trend and timeless options you might want to consider: 

1. The Waterborne Finish 

This is one of the most popular types of cabinetry finishes today because of its durability. The waterborne finish offers amazing UV resistance, which means that your cabinetry coating is made to last and will not fade over time. 

Waterborne is also a high-performance type of finish and specifically manufactured with the environment in mind. With its low VOC content, you can rest assured that this cabinetry finish is not only good for the ecosystem but healthy for your home too. 

It’s also scratch-resistant, the finish dries very quickly once applied, and looks similar to varnished, stained, or painted cabinets. The only downside is that you’ll pay a little extra for this finish — but the longevity makes it worthwhile. 

2. The Stained Finish 

This is yet another popular type of cabinetry finish where raw, natural wood is stained with your chosen wood color. Some popular options include walnut, pecan, or oak. The goal is for these cabinets is to look like real hardwood, but without the price tag! 

You can also stain your cabinets yourself. It’s a simple DIY task that requires sanding down your cabinets, then re-staining with your chosen finish. You’ll need to do a few rounds of staining to achieve your desired look. 

The downside with this type of finish is that your wood color options are a little limited. 

3. The Glazed Finish 

This is a great option if you want to not only change the color of your cabinetry but the texture, too. You can apply cabinetry glaze on top of wood paint or stain. Generally, a glaze is applied over a finished base coat of color, then varnished to achieve a beautiful glossy finish. 

Glazed cabinets are great for more modern or contemporary kitchens, especially if you prefer stainless steel appliances. Not only this, but glazing adds an extra layer of durability, depth, and interest to your cabinets. 

4. The Au-Natural Finish 

The natural wood look is back, and it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon! In short, a natural wood finish does not include any form of paint, stain, or dye on your cabinets. This is where you let the natural wood color and texture do all the talking. 

However, the natural wood is sealed with a clear polish to preserve it and prevent fading over time. Depending on the type of wood you choose, the durability of your cabinets will vary. 

Most au-natural wood cabinets are processed and oiled with Tung, mink, linseed, or mineral oil. 

5. The Painted Finish 

Along with the waterborne finish, painted cabinets are probably just as popular in most kitchens today. The reason for this is the huge range of choice you have in terms of color.

You may also hear painted cabinets referred to as opaque cabinets. Most painted cabinetry will include a varnish over the paint to prevent chipping and improve durability. It’s best to opt for light, clean, and matching colors for most of your cabinets, and then add in a pop of color along your cabinetry trim. 

6. The Varnished Finish 

This is yet another popular cabinetry finish because of the longevity and sleek look of varnished cabinets. You’ll find these types of cabinets pre-assembled and coated with a polyurethane catalyzed varnish to seal in the color and integrity of the wood.

Varnished cabinets are extra durable and also resistant to heat. The varnish includes a combination of oil and resin. Once it dries, it creates an impenetrable surface on top of your cabinets. 

7. The Distressed Finish

Now, this style of cabinetry may not be for everyone, but it’s a brilliant way to bring in character and texture to your kitchen. If you prefer the country-chic, farm-style kitchen look, then distressed cabinets could be a lovely fit. 

This is basically a type of painting technique that gives your cabinetry a weathered and aged look. The paint coat looks scratched and worn, on purpose. You can achieve this look with paint, stain, or glaze. 

8. The Open-Concept Finish 

Nowadays, you don’t even need to have cabinets in your kitchen if you want to open up the space. You can remove your old cabinetry and simply replace them with open-concept shelving instead. 

This is actually a timeless kitchen trend that appears to as popular as ever. However, you may want to stick to open concept cabinetry for your upper cabinets and keep the lower cabinetry for storage. 

You can use these open-concept shelves as a way of adding visual interest and depth to your kitchen by using them as display shelving. Line your kitchen walls with floating shelves and stack them with your favorite dishes, cookbooks, appliances, and potted herbs for a homey kitchen feel.

9. The Glass-Insert Finish 

Finally, there’s also the option of removing a panel or two from your existing cabinets and replacing these panels with glass. This is a great way to break up the space of your kitchen and give your eye a break from a solid wall of wood. 

You could use these glass-insert cabinets as display areas for all your best crockery, glassware, and other kitchen gadgets. You could even insert downlighters inside the cabinets to light up the display area for an extra cozy touch. 

The Best Cabinetry Finish for Longevity 

So, now that you’re up-to-speed on trending cabinetry finishes, what is the best option for your kitchen in terms of longevity and durability? The long and short answer to this is the waterborne UV finish. 

Although it may be on the pricier end of the spectrum, the finish just lasts so much longer than other cabinetry finishes. It’s also the most eco-friendly option, if that’s something you’re concerned about. 

Not only is it UV-resistant, fade-resistant, and scratch-proof, the finish is easy to apply and it dries quickly. It also does not add toxins to your home and accentuates the color of your cabinets. 

Other Cabinetry Areas and Add-Ons to Think About 

When it comes to cabinetry customization, the options are endless. Cabinetry detailing and add-ons are a great way to not only add convenience to a kitchen but also character and overall home value. 

Here are some innovative ideas to think about: 

1. Display Cubbies

If you have an awkward space to fill between your kitchen cabinets or appliances, this is where display cubbies come in handy. They’re also useful for tight spaces that might not fit the width of an entire cabinet. 

You can use display cubbies for almost anything — showing off your cookbooks, a place to store your most-used kitchen tools, storage for spices, etc.

2. Built-In Appliances 

If you’re not big on displaying flashy appliances and want a more uniform, sleek look to your kitchen, you can use your cabinetry to hide just about anything. This is where built-in appliances are a great idea. 

Basically, you can disguise large appliances likes your fridge, a dishwasher, or even a microwave behind sleek cabinetry doors. 

3. Custom Cabinet Storage 

Custom-built storage options are brilliant if your kitchen is on the smaller side and you only have a certain amount of space to work with. Nowadays, you can do so much more with storage other than just a customized spice rack! 

Think along the lines of custom pullout trays, customized bread boxes, storage spaces for spices, baking equipment, chopping boards, and pots and pans — the options are endless. 

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These kitchen cabinet finishes are some of the best to ensure your kitchen has a timeless, elegant, and sophisticated feel to it. With a simple cabinetry overhaul, you can transform your kitchen from a space that’s drab, to fab. 

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