Appliance applications—A look at kitchen appliance trends

Integrated design and high-tech appliances are driving kitchen trends
Seamless surfaces and integrated technology and appliances are notable trends in kitchens. (Photo: Yuliya Vadi, Dreamstime)

You can’t have a functioning kitchen without them, but homeowners have come to expect more from their appliances. Almost nine in 10 (88%) of renovators replace some or all of their kitchen appliances, according to the “2019 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Survey.” That includes the 54% who opt to replace all their appliances and the 34% who replace only some. Those in the 55+ age group are far more likely to replace all the appliances in their kitchen, at 62%.

Here’s how those upgrades break down by appliance type:

  • Refrigerator/freezer: 93%
  • Dishwashers: 93%
  • Microwave: 83%
  • Range: 72%
  • Range hoods: 65%
  • Cooktops: 49%
  • Wall ovens: 36%

Integration promises to be the appliance buzzword of the year. Today’s renovators either want their appliances to retreat into the rest of the space for a seamless aesthetic, or to be tucked away entirely into multifunctional cabinets, a trend most notably on the rise with microwaves and coffee makers. Positioning smaller appliances under countertops is also en vogue, particularly given the ease of access they provide older residents. Accessibility needs for older homeowners has also led to a six-point surge in cooktops over the past year, with 49% of homeowners including them in their kitchen upgrades and 56% of baby boomers doing so. Wall ovens, which can be lifesavers for cooks with aching backs and necks, are also gaining traction, as more than a third (36%) of all residents opted for these units, as did an impressive 42% of those older than 55.

[Related: Dignity and design—The aesthetics of aging in place]

Appliances are becoming more high-tech with every year, and although their popularity has been slow to catch on among renovators, interest in these units is indeed increasing. Last year, one-fourth (25%) of new appliances included high-tech features such as touchscreens or built-in speakers, while 30% of 2019’s homeowners upgraded them this year. Also on the upswing are wireless-controlled appliances, which represented 16% of upgraded kitchen electronics, up from 9% last year.

Americans are collectively putting more thought into how their appliances look, with shiny stainless steel fading in favor of less conspicuous surfaces. As a case in point, homeowners are showing sustained enthusiasm for black, with one in 10 new appliances now appearing in black stainless like those offered in the LG “Black Stainless Steel” line. For those seeking to achieve a farmhouse style, statement fixtures such as modern refrigerators with vintage midcentury lines and colors are worth exploring, while appliances with more sophisticated natural or engineered stone surfaces can bring a bit of interest to modern kitchen styles.

For those who really want their kitchen to cook, induction cooking, a favorite among bakers and cooks everywhere, is also trending. Greater, more even cooking speeds and surfaces that don’t get hot are appealing to a variety of clients, but particularly those with children or those concerned about adding more heat to the kitchen. Since the burners on induction units require little heat, they help keep homes cool, and stovetops with conductive features also take the range hood entirely out of the equation.

Like so many things on this list, the newest fad in range hoods is to conceal them. Surfaces that either blend into the space entirely or that complement other shades and textures are increasingly popular. This approach lets this less-desirable detail retreat into the background, allowing more vibrant upgrades to shine. For dedicated chefs, however, the range hood can become an elegant centerpiece, especially when dressed up in copper sheeting, reclaimed wood or elegant tiles.




Amy Guettler

Amy Guettler is a freelance writing, editing, marketing and communications professional. An expert in content development and management, Amy can be reached at [email protected].

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