Surfacing manufacturer Cosentino and The Silestone Institute have published their 2017 Global Kitchen Study, which forecasts that connectivity will be the most important kitchen trend that will rise in popularity between today and 2042.
The annual study took information from interviews with 17 kitchen and food experts and a survey of 842 kitchen and bath retailers from Australia, Brazil, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Here are the five main findings.
1. Connectivity is key
Over 70 percent of the retailers surveyed said that they believed the most important kitchen trend is connectivity. Users will increasingly want their appliances to be smart, connecting to the Internet of Things, to their smartphones, and to each other. This also means increased safety and increased access to information, making cooking and using appliances easier.
“[Technology] is currently only an add-on, as technological elements coexist with non-technological items. However, in the future the very design of the kitchen will change and technology will be fully embedded to the point that we won’t notice its presence.” -Sandy Gordon, interior designer, consultant at SGI Interiors, and instructor at University of Wisconsin-Madison
2. Sustainability is here to stay
Close behind connectivity, users want their appliances to be sustainable. Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said that they thought energy- and water-saving appliances and taps would be a main technological trend affecting future kitchens. Fifty percent also thought that smart waste management was an important kitchen issue.
“In earlier times, we used 100 percent of energy and resources in the form of trees, marble, and surfaces of various materials. Now we can get better results and use only 20 percent of energy and materials. That is creativity, and that is what the future holds.” -Piero Lissoni, architect, designer, art director, and co-founder at Lissoni Associati and Lissoni Architettura
3. Ease of use for all
As the popularity of aging-in-place rises and kitchens become increasingly multi-generational, kitchen design will trend toward comfort and ease for users at all life stages. Ninety-nine percent of the retailers surveyed said that functionality and practicality were the most important elements in their kitchen refurbishing jobs. Moving forward, this will mean flexible, mobile products like adjustable countertop heights and smart lighting elements that change based on activity and time of day.
“We must be able to choose at all times what suits us. Some people have to work sitting down or in a wheelchair. A small child should be able to help Mom and Dad prepare food. And our grandparents, who will experience reductions and have less physical strength and mental capacity, should be able to prepare a meal with comfort and safety.” -Patricia Moore, designer, gerontologist, and president at MooreDesign Associates
4. Rise of professional products
With wide access to the internet and the rise of TV channels like Food Network, professional methods of cooking are becoming increasingly accessible and desirable for domestic users. Rising technology will encourage homeowners to use professional techniques like vacuum cooking and packaging. About 40 percent of those surveyed believe that kitchen countertops of the near future will include screens and internet connectivity, which could be used to look up recipes and cook along with videos of professionals.
“The foodie movement and the proliferation of cooking shows on TV and magazines have a great impact on kitchen design. The movement has its pros and cons, but the most positive thing is that it makes cooking approachable to people.” -Sian Supski, doctor in sociology and research fellow at Monash University
5. More than just cooking
The kitchen is quickly moving away from being an isolated room and toward being an open, integrated living space connected to living and dining rooms. When asked what activities will take place in the kitchen 20 years from now, 92 percent of respondents listed “hanging out with friends and family.” Eighty-two percent said eating, 63 percent said watching TV, and 62 percent said surfing the internet. The layout of the kitchen will have to evolve to meet the increasing types of use, changing the layout of the home with it.
“The kitchen will become more comfortable. It will be like a second sitting room where you can just relax, work, or even take a nap. Technology will contribute toward a more functional, warmer, and cosier kitchen via smart appliances, speakers, and streaming services, iPad use, and performance surfaces and materials.” -Susan Serra, kitchen designer, blogger, and president at Susan Serra Associates Inc.
See more of the expert interviews here.
More facts and figures
Of the 842 industry experts surveyed:
87 percent believe the kitchen is becoming more important in the home
82 percent think most kitchens will be open to the rest of the house in 20 years
68 percent say customers will most often ask for “modern” kitchen designs
Almost 90 percent predict quartz will be the preferred surface
70 percent think whites and beiges will be preferred colors
77 percent say the majority of refurbishment budgets are spent on cabinetry
Almost 80 percent believe they are ready to face these changes