Tyler sees multiple trends occurring simultaneously on the design front, from a rise in simple, clean design to a desire for crafted or artisan looks. He says, “The other day I heard a designer say, ‘With all of the options in the marketplace, why is it still so hard to find the one you want?’ This idea of personalization – or finding the pattern that matches your lifestyle – is really relevant.”
Flexibility is also a key consideration. Dennis Poteat, marketing communications manager for the Stanley, NC-based Blum, Inc. says, “[Designers] want to be able to use all of our solutions in [any] type of cabinet and door combination: modern or traditional cabinets, wood or aluminum frame doors, narrow or wide drawers, short or tall uppers, light five-piece or heavy, thick doors. We design our hardware to work with as many applications as possible to give the kitchen professional the greatest possible freedom in designing their kitchens.”
It’s also important to the design for hardware to be concealed, such as undermount drawer slides that showcase the beauty of the drawer box or concealed hinges that give a clean finish to cabinet doors, according to Jan Fitzpatrick, customer and market relations manager for Grass America, Inc., in Kernersville, NC. “Clean lines, small gaps and tight reveals between doors and drawers are the job of functional hardware. Design demand for functional hardware is all about quality products in the kitchen,” she says.
When it comes to hardware finishes, the standards remain the same – nickel, stainless and polished chrome lead the way. At the same time, manufacturers see demand for antique finishes and bronzes, as well as some more modern finishes.
Subran says nickel still sells best, but every variation on the silver color is increasing in demand. They’ve also seen some call for bold, bright colors, such as red, yellow, orange and ruby, as well as a revival of antique finishes applied on large contemporary handles.
Tyler adds, “Of course Satin Nickel is still trending – but we’re offering more modern finishes in white and aluminum. At the same time, crafted Tuscan bronze and antiqued finishes are still holding strong.”
Mockett says polished finishes are making a big push in kitchen and bath hardware. “A polished chrome or polished stainless steel fixture can really enhance the surrounding design, especially in a very modern setting. Polished finishes can help complement any vibrant color schemes, especially white, black or bold primary colors,” he says. In addition, he calls satin stainless steel “a classic stand-by” that can be used on almost anything. “Stainless steel never seems to experience any waning in popularity, mainly due to its versatility, low-maintenance and durability,” he says.
Hindman notes, “Rustic and classic silver tones continue to dominate the market. We are slowly seeing gold tones re-emerge, especially in accent pieces such as hardware.”
At Notting Hill, Dustman says the firm is seeing requests for richer, warmer finishes such as Dark Brass, Antique Brass and Satin Gold.
When it comes to size, oversized or larger decorative hardware seems to be trending upwards. At the same time, there’s still demand for hardware that is small and unobtrusive, and even some desire for no hardware at all on the fronts of cabinets and doors.
“Variety is the biggest demand we see,” says Poteat. He adds that although 21" drawers are still the standard in the kitchen, Blum offers drawer runner lengths from 9" to 30" to handle all possibilities.
Dustman adds: “Customers appreciate choices in terms of the length of the pulls. If they have tall pantry doors or large drawers…they want a larger-scale pull.” Notting Hill has seen a trend toward larger hardware due to the prevalence of larger doors and drawers in kitchens, she adds.
Hindman also sees oversized cabinet hardware becoming more popular. “It is predominately being used in larger kitchens, but oversized knobs are also being chosen for furniture restoration projects,” she says.
Travis McElveen, product manager for functional hardware at Hardware Resources in Bossier City, LA, concurs: “We are seeing longer lengths becoming more popular, 128mm and 160mm center to center. Some customers are straying away from putting two pulls on one long drawer and like the longer lengths.”