Connett has seen a move toward white as well. “Depending on your style, white surfaces can be made to either blend in with kitchen cabinetry or stand out in distinct contrast with rich wood tone cabinets,” she says.
Ramona Panus, v.p. for RangeCraft Manufacturing in Fair Lawn, NJ adds, “Since RangeCraft range hoods have a distinctive Old World, we tend not to see the ‘cookie cutter’ trends.” While she says stainless steel and copper are the most popular metals, decorator colors are also very popular this year. “We can color match any paint or wallpaper colors with just a color swatch,” she adds.
Woodall states, “We are seeing new finishes: For example “Non Directional Stainless” and “Hammered Copper” are impacting the marketplace [and] oil-rubbed bronze powder coat finishes seem to be growing.”
Though color may be trending upward, other manufacturers contend that stainless is still the tried and true choice for high-end appliances. “Stainless steel is a timeless and neutral color that always has been the top choice among designers and customers,” says Elkin.
While appliance designs seem to be moving toward more minimalist design, there are always exceptions, and the demands of one consumer can be quite different from the next.
Wellnitz sees a demand for discreet designs that allow the room or vista to be the central focus. “There is still a large demand for designs with organic shapes and curves both in metal and glass,” he says. “And there seems to be a growing desire for minimalist designs with a European focus.”
Panus, on the other hand, says, “Consumers want options to match their design style and give their hood a unique look to create the ‘wow’ factor as [the] focal point in the kitchen.”
Haber says EuroChef is seeing a trend toward customization. “Whether it’s a unique color or trim choice, or optional backguard and handles, customers are seeking out ways to customize and make ranges unique to their own kitchen,” she notes.
Woodall says that though the desire for professional equipment has maintained its preferred status, design styles within this category are changing. “We are seeing a move toward both contemporary sleek styling and heavy baroque styling. It is unique that there is this divide,” he remarks.
Appliances, Great and Small
While many manufacturers see a growing demand for larger appliances of all types, there are those who have also seen a need for appliances designed specifically for smaller spaces.
“Today, homeowners are looking for bigger kitchens, no matter how large – or small – their homes are,” says Elkin. “The kitchen, more than ever, is becoming the hub of the home, so larger appliances are in demand.”
Connett says, “Homeowners are entertaining more in the kitchen instead of a formal dining room, so they need the kitchen to be larger, more open and as stylish in design.” She adds that as refrigerators become more energy efficient, larger refrigerators with more interior space are becoming a must. However, “The design of the kitchen and the homeowner’s specific needs are what really dictate the size of appliances.”
Shaw says that Bosch continues to see a growing demand for appliances that are designed for both small spaces and unconventional uses.
Panus says that hoods are trending toward larger sizes as well, with over 70 percent of Rangecraft’s recent orders for hoods larger than 54".
Appliances are used daily, often multiple times, and it’s only natural that energy efficiency should be taken into consideration. “Every day the consumer becomes more and more concerned about energy efficiency, not just for the sake of the environment, but also for the cost saving associated with it,” says Haber.
“In general, the trend of energy efficiency is driving range hood manufacturers to find more efficient motors and lighting systems to reduce run time energy use,” adds Wellnitz.
Bertazzoni believes that the trend towards less consumption and a greener attitude must be seen as standard, not just something to base a sales pitch on. “We need to do it because it’s ethical to do it,” he says. “Every time we can save on energy consumption or on the way that we manufacture product or the way product will be dismantled at the end of its life cycle or to extend its life cycle is very much appreciated by the customer.”