We’ve had a fundamental shift in how we think about home. As a result of the financial crisis, rather than moving to a new home, people have been “forced” to appreciate what they have, finding ways to make it better for them. One thing to emerge from this shift in thinking is the open floor plan, which makes the kitchen even more integral to the home: a place to connect as a family, whether it’s by cooking together or having space for multiple activities, and for guests to gather more informally and linger.
52% of consumers surveyed say that price was the main reason for rejecting any cabinet, up from 38% in 2009*
*J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Consumer Cabinets Customer Satisfaction Study
To find out what your clients need, encourage them to visualize how the kitchen will work in different scenarios and ask plenty of questions about how they intend to use the space. Then listen for clues as to what countertops, appliances, seating, and storage they need.
Islands: I’m seeing larger islands that allow more people to work in the kitchen and for more guests to hang out. To help islands fit with the transition and flow into a nearby family or living room, homeowners want islands with a furniture look, classic finishes, and neutral hues. They’re also eschewing wall cabinets to make the kitchen look less cluttered.
Seating: Homeowners might have a breakfast area with a table, but they want supplementary seating with stools, chairs, and banquettes, and they want more comfortable furnishings.
Personalization: Based on their lifestyle, families are choosing to include specific features such as a wine bar, baking center, grilling area, or computer station.
Appliances. I predict that commercial appliances may be on the down swing in favor of more concealed appliances. Energy efficiency is definitely important.
Lighting: Sconces add a living-room–like feature to the kitchen. Large drum fixtures are also popular. Pendants hung low over an island give it a cozy feel.
Windows. Homeowners want lots of natural light, so windows are getting bigger, which also allows for a connection to the outdoors. I’m seeing more windows placed at counter level.
Media: Increasingly, kitchens have larger TVs.