From Open-Plan to Small Spaces: What Kitchen Trends Are Here to Stay

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By Allie Weiss
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As we wrap up 2015, we take a look at the latest trends that are impacting kitchen and appliance design.

According to Marc Hottenroth, the Leader of Industrial Design Operations at Monogram, smaller kitchen trends, such as finishes, countertops, backsplashes, and cabinetry fronts, seem to come and go every five to 10 years. But larger layout trends are longer lasting.

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One trend that Marc Hottenroth, Monogram's Lead of Industrial Design Operations, cites is the disintegration of traditional working zones in the kitchen. Now, the cooking zone, storage zone, beverage zone, and so on are interacting with each other.

At the moment, the open-plan kitchen that combines the eating, dining, and living spaces, continues to be extremely prevalent. Hottenroth says that kitchen designers are "explaining this as a continual trend that’s going to be around for a while." The open layout influences how Monogram approaches its products. "A concept like three rooms becoming one—what does that mean for our appliances and how people experience our appliances?" he says. "Before, when the kitchen was a work area, there was a completely different experience than an open area where it’s part of the living space." The company is exploring how appliances impact the five senses, paying special attention to how they look and smell in an open-plan environment. "The open floor plan is so much more demanding—you can’t just stick an ugly appliance there," Hottenroth says. 

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The merging of work zones "leads to the idea of disintegrated products like refrigerator drawers—you may have several of them in different zones, not just a big refrigeration center," he says. "It’s more about what you need in each work zone."

In part because Millennials, the second largest demographic after Baby Boomers, are largely based in urban areas, small spaces have also become a huge area of focus for Monogram. Solutions that maximize small footprints, such as the 18-inch dishwasher, are a fast-growing trend.

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While larger ranges and appliances are still common, Hottenroth says the fully integrated look—including the induction cooktop—is becoming a popular alternative.

Another trend that's starting to take hold is connected appliances. Millennials, Hottenroth believes, will also drive a lot of that demand. "They’re going to expect a lot more out of appliances, expect them to be a lot of smarter, assist their tasks, be predictive," he says. "That leads to a lot more connected scenarios, appliances being connected to each other and the world."

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Stainless steel has been extremely common in kitchen design, but new finishes in the metal family are being introduced across the board. Durable and scratch-resistant graphite is a new finish in Monogram's lineup.

From layouts to finishes, how does one know if a trend is just a passing fad? "It’s when you see it commonplace in suburbia," Hottenroth says. Monogram's design team hopes to anticipate what will end up in both urban and suburban homes across America.

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While small spaces are a big focus, larger, commercial-style products like the French-door wall ovens have appeal for dedicated home cooks.

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