How kitchens have changed – Kitchens over the years

Just as many other places in the home Kitchens have responded to changing tastes and trends over the years. We’re taking a look back across the years at some of the changing trends of the most important room in the house. If you want to learn more about kitchens then check out our learning hub!


The 1920s kitchen was practical but did not lack style. Black and white tiled floors were favoured with clean understated enamel finished cabinets. All in one cabinet configuration became popular in this era. Some of the more well-off households could now get their very own cooking stove with multiple burners. The 1920s also brought the electric dishwashing promising to rescue housewives across the nation from "the curse of dish-washing drudgery”, but it would be a long while before this item became the norm in every home.


Clean lines and efficiency was the theme of this era. Designers championed materials they were easy to clean and maintain, stainless steel really came into play in this era along with metal cabinets and linoleum flooring. Later in this era with the rise of art deco, the geometric designs began to make their way into the kitchen.


The washing machine and wringer makes its debut in the UK. The eat-in kitchen becomes more popular in this era with comfortable circular tables and coloured tablecloths. The kitchen is more based around family dining, warming primary colours make the room more homely.


With the rise of cinema, the UK was taking style tips from America like wood cladding and bright colours. Fridges start making their way into more homes, with easy to clean glass shelves and crisper drawers, making daily grocery shopping a thing of the past. The fridge wasn’t the only in demand appliance the electric range was making waves as the high tech kitchen must have. The 50s were also the birth of the open planned home and with the raised on time-saving devices, there was more room to show your personal style with ornaments and decor.


The u-shaped kitchen makes its first appearance in this era providing more space without feeling enclosed. Pegboards too and pots and pans on became popular with American TV chef Julia Child leading the way. Bold prints and bright colours are now in the family home as well as upmarket apartments.


The daring design really took over in the 1970s, with saturated colours, loud wallpapers often in more than one prints, wood cabinets and brightly coloured appliances. But the bold design wasn’t limited to colour, with Rustic wood grain, a stone backsplash, gleaming copper, and a ton of ferns made for a very "in" look. The bold trend in colour also shows how fashion often crossed over to interior design.

Home tech took a step forward in the 70s with the microwave hitting British homes. A little larger than their modern-day counterpart but with the rise of ready meals, marketed as the next best thing this appliance became the must-have-item.

Kitchen islands were cutting-edge and integral to the modern design. Formica was the decades most popular material and it let homeowners get creative with their kitchens. Water and ice dispensers arrived in American fridges, allowing homeowners to dazzle guests.


The kitchen island becomes a mainstay in the 80s and just like everything else in the 80s (shoulder pads and hair) the kitchen island get supersized. The kitchen really starts to become a social place and the real heart of the home on the 1980s with cooking shows becoming far more popular.

The bright colours of the 70s are lost and in their place stand sleek black or white counters and appliances. Fashion is changing and interior design is never far behind.


With the 90s came the rise of granite countertops, the Formica and laminate of the previous decades were lost in place of real stone worktops. Colour makes a small return but is much more subdued than that of its 70s counterpart, colours that worked with black and white were the fashion. Subtle but effective.

The 80s country looks reduced down in the 90s to become the popular farmhouse look, nostalgic and eclectic with open shelving and white cabinets. With cooking shows really gaining traction the 90s kitchens begin to shift towards the gourmet look, taking cues from restaurants, with professional ranges and huge refrigerators.



Open plan design becomes the trend in the early noughties and so we see the rise of the effective use of space with minimalist inspired designs. The kitchens of the noughties all but boycott colour and the timeless shades of beige, cream and magnolia becoming the favourite choice for walls and cabinets alike.



Like the noughties the trend in early 2010 borrowed elements from trendy restaurants which would all look amazing as a new social media post. This is the beginning of the loss of the average trend with some kitchen getting bigger other getting smaller. Colour makes a statement for some while other stick with the dark cabinets or a clean white finish.


Kitchen design in the UK is looking to Scandinavian countries and Germany for inspiration, handleless and flat-panel kitchen units are becoming increasingly popular while traditional British shaker kitchens remain as desirable as ever. A rise in awareness and support for environmental issues has filtered into our interior designs, with kitchen colour palettes taking on a new range of muted, natural tones. Hand in hand with this, is a revival in wood finishes bringing a warmth to our spaces. 2020 looks to continue with sophisticated use of more daring colours and a love of stylish stone worktops and metallic elements.

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