The 'Kitschens' Trend is Replacing Minimalism — Designers Say It's "The Perfect Antidote to Bland"

Playful, colorful, and whimsical, so-called 'kitschens' are slated as this year's next big thing. Designers talk how to curate this personality-filled vibe at home

Pink and green kitchen paint color idea
(Image credit: Sustainable kitchens)

Move over, minimalism — there's a new trend in town ... or at least there will be soon, according to Pinterest. It's a movement that's been dubbed 'kitschens,' quite fittingly, and it's all about ditching the highly-curated for the mess, the neutrals for the colors, and the bought for the found. 

In other words, this interior design trend is all about putting the 'kitsch' back in kitchens. 'They say the party always moves to the kitchen. But sometimes, the kitchen is the party,' Pinterest wrote in its annual predictions report, compiled from an analysis of search trends and patterns on the platform. 'This year, Gen X and Boomers will spruce up their cooking areas with thrifted finds, vintage appliances and jarring pops of paint. No minimalist aesthetic is safe.' (Notably, Pinterest did not call out Gen Z or Millennials in this forecast, probably because Gen Z is already inclined toward maximalist decor and sustainable buying practices, with Millennials at least somewhat on their heels.) As far as the raw data goes, Pinterest mentioned a 50% rise in the search term 'eclectic kitchen decor,' a 75% rise in the term 'kitschy kitchen,' a 55% rise in 'green kitchen paint,' a 160% rise in 'eccentric kitchen,' and a 40% rise in 'retro pink kitchens.' That's some serious maximalism intrigue right there.

'I think people are pushing the envelope more... they're feeling the need to be self expressed ... not only in their fashion, but also in their homes!' said color-loving interior designer Kate Dawson when asked why 'kitschens' are on the rise. 'No one wants to be basic anymore. People don't want to be bland. Being 'extra' has become a thing! So of course it's going to flow into our homes!'

So let's take a little dive into this emerging kitchen decor trend, shall we? Think of it as a look under the hood of a new movement, one you might be interested in replicating by the time we're done. Of course, I'll put a little Livingetc spin on things, as well, so you know it's sealed with our stamp of approval. Otherwise, let's get kitschy!

What is the kitschens trend?

Red paint on cabinets with a light yellow on the walls

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Kitschens are colorful, thrifted oases full of personality and attitude. No two kitschens are the same, though they might feature a few of the same elements — things like bright color palettes, unique appliances, and more.

After the pandemic, 'people are ready to make a statement!! And they're ready to make it big' and 'in a way that is eclectic, joyful, colorful, super unique, and very cost effective,' Kate said. 'The COVID years changed the way people experience their homes, and the kitchen is ALWAYS the heart of every home. It's just the spot where everyone hangs out ... and all that time at home made people realize the value of loving their space!'

Of course, loving your space can become quite a pricey feeling. But the 'kitschens' trend affords homeowners the opportunity to add unique value to their home in a nontraditional way: via 'vintage items, unusual fixtures, and lots of color and pattern,' Kate explained. This, all in all, is what 'birthed the 'kitschens' trend.'

How can I bring the 'kitschens' trend to life?

Colorful kitchen decorated with primary colors

(Image credit: JMorris)

Kate's number one tip? 'PAINT! Paint is a decorator's miracle!' she told me. Paint your top and bottom cabinets a different color or paint your cabinets one color and the fronts of your doors and drawers a different one, before playing up that 'color contrast with fabulous [drawer] pulls from an artist on Etsy.'

If you're not sure which kitchen color scheme to go with, maybe try finding a wallpaper that 'excites you' and pulling your color palette from that. 'Bold, rich colors are incredibly yummy ,' Kate continued, 'but if you're worried it'll feel too dark, then keep the darker colors on the cabinets, and the fronts of the drawers and doors a lighter color.'

'The sky's the limit with this trend,' she went on, 'and more is definitely more!' You can always tone in down if it starts to feel like too much ... but that's honestly unlikely in this case. 'Let your inner child go to town! Delight in the indulgences you can make with colors and patterns,' Kate suggested. 'This ain't your mama's kitchen ... this is YOURS. So bring the bold, playful, adventurous YOU to the space!'

If you've been looking for a reason to lean into your crazy, maximalist self, this really just might be the trend for you. In some ways, it reminds me of the lived-in bookshelf wealth look we've been seeing lately, wherein decorators and homeowners are prioritizing personality and coziness over minimalist design. So if that's resonating with you, I've done a bit of online shopping to find pieces that match this lived-in 'kitschens' look but still feel quite true to what we do here at Livingetc (with a bit of my personality thrown in; I can't help it!). So happy shopping — I think you're going to have a lot of fun here ...

The Livingetc Kitschens Edit

Brigid Kennedy
Style Editor

Brigid Kennedy is a style editor at Livingetc.com, where she is responsible for obsessively combing the internet for the best and most stylish deals on home decor and more. She was previously a story editor at TheWeek.com, where she covered both U.S. politics and culture. She describes her design style as colorful and clean, and in her free time enjoys reading, watching movies, and curating impossibly niche playlists on Spotify. She lives in New York.