But while this option can work for small spaces, that doesn't mean there isn't a wide variety of chair styles available in suspension mode to fit a wide array of design styles. In fact, "any chair that can come apart [remove the legs], we can use in our system," says Wadley. He adds that designers can also choose a style from the firm's catalog.
Of course, even when space isn't the problem, organization remains a priority in the kitchen.
"I think we're more collectors," says Maxwell, "with gadgets and specialty things. Some of these bigger kitchens allow for more clutter. We may not be looking to maximize the efficiency of the storage, but at least the efficiency of how it's organized."
Adds Grevenstuk: "Blind corner storage products, narrow cabinet or filler cabinet storage are some of the hottest selling items we feature now."
"We have a new pull-out [that's designed for] the big columns next to sinks, decorative onlays, twisted posts," adds Jenkins. "Consumers are excited about that because they don't like wasting that space. Not everyone has a giant kitchen in America." And even those who do like to see maximum efficiency in the organization and usage of space.
Functional storage is also available in a greater variety of larger sizes. For instance, Branner says his company recently added heavy duty runners in a 27" length, while Betz adds that his company's custom Plexiglas and polycarbonate drawer interiors are now frequently requested in a 32" width.
In general, the American cabinet market relies so heavily on customization, it sometimes makes interior fittings a challenge. Unlike homes in Europe, where cabinets tend to come in standard sizes, "most of our customers are custom or semi-custom, and a lot of their cabinets are built around our pull-outs," notes Jenkins.
While the kitchen is the central organizational point for the home, kitchen organizational systems and interior fittings are increasingly finding their ways into other applications in other rooms of the home.
The home entertainment center and computer station may be part of a Great Room concept, but manufacturers surveyed say kitchen storage products are making more inroads with entertainment storage. For instance, Martin notes that Häfele's sliding door technology is increasingly being used to hide giant TV screens. Similarly, pull-out bins can be used to store kids' video games and accessories.
For computer station applications, consumers are still looking to the office furniture store for solutions. Jenkins points out that, for instance, computer printers come in many shapes and sizes, so developing a push-up or pull-down mechanism that would work for all of them, "that's a tough application," he notes.
The advent of outdoor kitchens has made backyard suspended seating a new market, Wadley adds, with weather-resistant aluminum or marine-finished wood chairs as the popular picks. Suspended seating is also growing in popularity for computer stations and game tables in Great Rooms, he adds.