Jason Tippets, global brands design manager at Whirlpool, mentions a recent survey published by the National Kitchen & Bath Association, which indicates that contemporary styles with clean lines and little ornamentation will dominate kitchen design for the foreseeable future.
Bosch home appliance experts also point to minimalism as a trend, remarking in a statement that “customers view the cleanliness and appearance of a kitchen as a reflection of their inner self.”
However, the appearance of minimalism—sleek design, neutral colors, matte finishes—also appeals to consumers because it veils the appliances’ convoluted interiors, making the complex look simple.
“We’ve found that homeowners are looking for a modern or futuristic look,” says Tippets, “but with built-in technology that is subtle to the eye.”
2. Time-saving Features
Tippets also cites a recent survey conducted by Omnibus Research on behalf of Whirlpool’s Maytag brand that found American households spend more time on laundry than other household tasks.
Thus, Whirlpool offers two new washer-dryer solutions to help customers save time and energy: the Whirlpool Smart All-In-One Care Washer and Dryer Combo, which washes and dries laundry in the same machine and can be controlled remotely via the Whirlpool mobile app; and the Maytag Top Load Washer and Dryer, which has been tested to evenly dry loads up to 15 pounds so that families can wash more clothes at once and spend less time on laundry in general.
Consumers want to save time in the kitchen too, though concepts like precision cooking are still being developed by companies like GE.
“In the future, appliances will cook our food more precisely, making it easier for consumers to prepare their meals,” says Chris Bissig, manager of concept and brand development at GE Appliances. “Precision cooking takes out the intimidation of needing to program the oven; instead, your oven does it right every time.”
The popularity of open floor plans has changed the way that appliances are designed, particularly in the kitchen.
“When designing appliances, it’s important for us to think about being part of a broader environment, not just the kitchen—because today’s open floor plans mean that the kitchen is also a family gathering space, not just a room for preparing meals,” Tippets says. “Today’s kitchen appliances are blurring the line between furniture and machine.”
This is true with laundry machines as well, he continues, since new home designs often situate the laundry room in close proximity to the living room.
“We’ve started incorporating stainless steel elements to the console to reflect this commercial look and feel,” Tippets says.
In addition, Whirlpool’s Closet Depth Front Load Washer and HybridCare Heat Pump Dryer save space and offer installation flexibility.
Bosch’s Black Stainless Steel Dishwasher. Source: Bosch
4. Increased Focus on the Laundry Room
Julie Muennich, director of marketing for GE Appliances’ laundry products, says that she’s seeing more chrome, technology and bright lights added to washers and dryers, as consumers want to see “more wow factors” when using them.
“The laundry room is no longer in the basement,” Muennich says. “In fact, it could be the first room in your home that friends and family see. Consumers are looking for a more stylish design and additional color options, [but] timeless metallic colors are still very on trend.”
Barry Waddilove, head of design for Electrolux North America, has noticed that consumers are experimenting with “multi-wear behavior” and are therefore looking for durable fabrics they can easily wash and dry at home.
“Dry cleaning is much less popular these days,” Waddilove says. “However, consumers also lead busy lives and are now more inclined to combine loads and mix fabrics. Athletic-wear is now mainstream, and consumers look for appliances that deliver great cleaning for all of their clothes.”
GE embraces “integrated kitchens” that connect to the IoT. Source: GE Appliances
5. Kitchen Appliances in Matte Black Stainless Steel
According to Tippets, Whirlpool was the first corporation to sell a line of Black Stainless kitchen appliances in 2014; and since then, this color, finish and material combination has become the hottest trend in kitchen hardware.
“Satin and matte finishes blend seamlessly with other materials in the kitchen, creating continuity from surface to surface,” Tippets says. “The days of high gloss and super reflectivity are over.”
Trending colors for stainless steel include rose gold, copper and champagne, though matte black is by far the most popular.
Jumping on the trend, LG recently launched a line of kitchen appliances featuring LG’s new Matte Black Stainless Steel finish. According to director of public relations Taryn Brucia, “the new line builds on the success of the popular black stainless steel finish and refreshes it for today’s design-focused consumer who has a keen eye for superior design, performance and connectivity.”
At Electrolux, Waddilove confirms that black appliances are “a major kitchen trend,” and often contrasted with cabinetry in white or grey.
“Black stainless in particular is hitting the mainstream; until now, this finish was only available on high-end appliances,” Waddilove says. “It is exciting for us to bring this finish to a wide consumer audience, whom we know are often on a budget and looking for practical yet very modern designs.”
Maggie Bellinger, the lead industrial designer for GE Appliances, says that black provides a richness to the kitchen and complements other colors nicely—especially when combined with a matte or slate finish.
“The stone effect of matte and GE Appliances’ Slate finish add a calming effect to kitchens,” Bellinger says. “As kitchens become more of a part of the living space, a softer appearance is needed and achieved with the matte look.”