During the pandemic, our kitchens have become even more the centers of our lives. Most meals are cooked at home; pasta makers, bread makers, and rice cookers have all seen jumps in sales as quarantine created both the need and opportunity for more appliances. KitchenAid, maker of iconic appliances like their stand mixer, chose the dark orange-yellow hue of honey for their 2021 color of the year — a fitting choice for quiet homeyness, though it was decided on in 2018.
The KitchenAid team already had in mind telling a story about connection and empathy for this year, “reaching across differences to make the world a better place, to build a brighter future,” according to Jessica McConnell, a director at KitchenAid, and Katie Remaly, a color, finish, and material designer. The color “is a reminder of the sweetness of coming together in the kitchen and experiencing the irresistible positivity, warmth and coziness of honey.”
In photo shoots, the honey color fits in perfectly with the tasteful kitchen interior of the moment — white subway tiles on the walls, thinly stained warm wood, and plentiful natural light. It’s a deeper hue than you might expect, both striking and organic. KitchenAid’s appliances appear less like gadgets and more like sculptural objects, their forms highlighted by the smooth and shiny surfaces.
Picking the color of the year begins 18 months in advance for the company. Honey piggybacks on the overall trend of earthiness in interior colors that has been happening recently, with everything toned down. Once the general idea has been determined, the North America Studio Color Finish team does its research, which involves going out into the world to figure out a precise formula for the color. “They visited markets, shops and restaurants,” according to McConnell and Remaly. “They tasted and smelled and bought different honeys from various places around the globe to get into the mindset of honey as an ingredient.”
It might be tough to find sweetness in 2021, but swapping out colors can be a way to imbue a space with a different mood. The new slate of honey products might enliven your kitchen once more.