Kitchens are built around cabinetry, making it critical for kitchen designers to stay abreast of current cabinet trends.
From clean-lined designs and an increased interest in painted finishes to the growing importance of interior accessories that maximize accessibility, cabinet trends continue to reflect aesthetic and organizational needs.
Additionally, current economic conditions, combined with an increasingly savvy and educated 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
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, “Some shoppers, might 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.
Steve Wilcox, director of product development and marketing for Sunny Wood and Sagehill Designs in Cerritos, CA says, “The largest trend is that consumers are looking for perceived value at any price point. It is crucial to have the right styles, materials, finishes and functional features all working together to make a new line of cabinetry successful.”
He continues: “The challenge for dealers is to be able to find a product that meets these criteria in their market and with their clientele.”
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, IN. “Consumers are much more educated about the products, and therefore value may at times influence design,” he says.
Korsten disagrees. “We think people are still buying what they want – if they are 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 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.
Cabinet interiors are increasingly important because more designs are focusing on maximizing space and accessibility. As homes – and by default kitchens – are becoming smaller, the need for organizational tools 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 they require more creativity on the part of the designer,” says Korsten. “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 lives.”
Rod Brewer, v.p./marketing and product development for Mid Continent Cabinetry, in Eagan, MN, says, “In many ways, smaller kitchens are more efficient kitchens. I think that people are looking for highly usable storage solutions, so dealers and manufacturers need to show how to use interior storage to make their lives better.”