Kitchens are built around cabinetry, both from a design standpoint and an organizational standpoint, making it critical for kitchen designers to stay abreast of current trends.
From clean-lined designs and an increased interest in painted finishes to the growing importance of interior accessories that maximize space and accessibility, cabinet trends continue to reflect both consumers’ aesthetic preferences and their organizational needs.
Additionally, current economic conditions, along with an increasingly savvy consumer, have sparked changes that sometimes have more to do with business than design – and these, too, are having a profound impact on the kitchen cabinet market.
A CHANGING CONSUMER
Both technology and the impact of the economy have changed how consumers shop for a kitchen remodel. There’s no question that more consumers are doing their research online, and as a result, they know far more about products than in years past. In fact, according to Scott Korsten, marketing director for Harrisburg, SD based Showplace Wood Products, “For some very motivated shoppers, you might find they know more details about the product than the salesperson does”
As a result, they not only know what’s out there, but they are also better equipped to shop around to ensure they get the maximum bang for their buck, whether they are doing an ultra-high-end remodel or a more modest project.
Steve Wilcox, director of product development and marketing for Sunny Wood and Sagehill Designs in Cerritos, CA says, “The largest trend is that the end consumers are looking for perceived value at any price point. It is crucial to have the right style, materials, finish and functional features all working together to make a new line of cabinetry successful.”
The end consumer, he continues, is looking for the most features and benefits they can get for the money they pay. “The challenge for dealers is to be able to find a product that meets these criteria in their market and with their clientele. This would apply to any price point,” he says.
In a more budget conscious economy, some consumers will compromise style and design when necessary, says Perry Miller, president of Kountry Wood Products in Nappanee, IL. “Consumers are much more educated about the products, and therefore value may at times influence design,” he says.
But Korsten disagrees. “We think people are still buying what they want, if they become convinced they are getting the best value they can. Someone who has a certain quality expectation isn’t likely to compromise,” he says.
Ray Ducharme, director of marketing for Executive Cabinetry in Simpsonville, SC agrees that style/design is still the driving force behind cabinet purchases. “They still want the look they dream about,” he says. However, they want it at a cost that suits them, he adds.
“Value to today’s consumer means, very simply, more for less,” says Ducharme. “In a climate where the consumer’s mindset may be ‘I want it all, but I do not want to pay for it,’ they can have it all.”
“Customers want to feel like they are getting a bargain,” agrees Jeff Ptacek, CKD, product manager at Fieldstone Cabinetry in Sioux Falls, SD. “If they feel they are getting a good deal, they’ll lean towards this other door that might be 5-10% off the normal door.” He added when customers buy a less expensive door style, then they are more likely to upgrade the interior.
Indeed, cabinet interiors are increasingly important because more kitchen designs are focusing around maximizing space and accessibility. As homes – and by default kitchens – are becoming smaller, the need for organizational tools inside the cabinets is on the rise. This isn’t new – the demand for more functional storage space has been increasing consistently in recent years. “Smaller layouts put more pressure on finding good places for these items and it requires more creativity on the part of the designer,” says Korsten. He adds, “Any product that helps organize a kitchen is in demand; increasing organization in the kitchen helps clients know where they put things, which takes stress out of their life.”