Ducharme says that, for Executive Cabinetry, a transitional style is most popular, with wide frame widths leading the way. The firm has seen requests for exotic veneers on slab doors, and has also had some demand for an elaborate Old World look, with glaze distressing and crackle finishes as accent pieces.
Wilcox has also seen a market for subtle glazes, light finish and physical distressing on finishes. “Some say that the distressed finishes are out, but I think that depends on the consumers needs,” he says. “We’re still seeing needs for some consumer lifestyles that really like a rustic look. Current trends in residential furniture also confirm this.”
Elements of Design
Design trends are all over the board, in part because consumers are still looking for individualization in their kitchens. “[Consumers] don’t want an ‘off the shelf’ solution,” says Brewer. “They want their kitchens to reflect who they are and how they live.” Many manufacturers are responding to this desire by expanding their offerings, particularly in available paint choices and door styles.
Korsten, for instance, says, “Showplace has increased its product offerings to the point of having 69,611 unique combinations of door style, wood species and finish available straight out of our catalog. We have been in full-blown product development mode for quite a while.”
As companies expand their offerings, a wide variety of wood grains come into play. While maple and cherry are still most popular, many others are creeping their way into the cabinet market as well. In the West, alder is a popular choice, says Ducharme. Ptacek says that his firm has also seen a pickup in hickory and Lyptus. Others are using walnut and birch in their new collections.
Finish choices still trend toward darker stains, but manufacturers are also seeing a rise in painted finishes, especially in non-standard colors. Ptacek says custom colors have taken off – even in surprising shades like cardinal red. “[Consumers] want something different than the person next door,” he says.
Harvey is also seeing a bigger demand for paints and glazes, particularly in very light colors, but sometimes in designer colors that make a bold statement. He adds, “Two-tone projects are being seen more, two stains or stain and paint mixed within the same project.”
While framed cabinetry still leads in the U.S. market, interest in frameless is on the rise, say some manufacturers. “Framed cabinetry is still in greater demand by our clientele; however, frameless continues to gain momentum,” says Harvey. “Frameless cabinetry is viewed as [offering] a greater value without sacrificing function and aesthetics,” he says.
Ptacek says that the market for frameless design hasn’t hit the U.S. like it has in Europe, and while they used to hear people say they needed to offer a frameless line, they haven’t heard that lately. However, there is a desire to see less of the frame, he says, so the door sizes have increased.
Miller says that his company does not offer frameless cabinetry and is seeing a growing trend toward the Shaker look in full overlay, and any mitered door. Ducharme agrees that, with improved assembly techniques, mitered door styles are growing, with both stained and painted finishes.
Wilcox, on the other hand, is seeing more framed inset doors rather than overlay styles. He sees raised panels and recessed panels with beading as popular.
Brewer notes that case construction is less important than consumers getting the look they want at whatever price point they are in. “Most dealers and installers are used to traditional framed cabinetry, so that has the biggest market share,” he says.
Environmental responsibility is a natural part of the landscape these days, so it comes as no surprise that manufacturers identify it as an important part of the conversation about cabinet trends. At the same time, customers interested in value seem to shy away from green products that have a higher cost.
Korsten says, “People still like to feel they are ‘doing the right thing’ by asking about [environmentally friendly products], but they are only compelled to buy green if the product fits their desired look and is cost neutral. We are not yet seeing a movement to green purely for the sake of going green,” he says. However, he adds, consumers will, in many cases, appreciate and give “extra credit” to dealers who find a productive way for their old cabinetry to be re-used, such as donating to a Habitat Restore.