What’s new in kitchen equipment, appliances, gadgetry, cabinetry and other features? The answer is there are a great many new things you can have built into a new or existing kitchen to enhance its functionality, comfort, value and appearance. Some of the new features available are trendy while others are just great ideas to help the cook and make the kitchen more family friendly.
Under the trendy umbrella, the consumer will find features like rounded edges on the countertops to soften the look of the kitchen or to take away some of the harshness of the current Industrial look that employs materials like stainless steel and concrete. In fact, round is popular in a number of kitchen units including round islands or small round tables for eat-in kitchens.
It is very ‘in’ to hide appliances or to give them Lazy Susan functions. Some new appliances are design to be concealed or to be less obtrusive when they aren’t being used. Some cooktops and sinks can be hidden under sliding countertops. Some sinks and chopping blocks actually rotate so they can be used more comfortably or placed out of the way when not used.
Whimsical appliances and housewares are part of the current trend as well and European makers are introducing much of this into North America.
The designs of these products may be described as ‘biomorphic’.
There are attempts – some successful and some not – to make kitchens into space age control centres. For instance, one kitchen island looks like a glowing ball and its fancy hood covers a cooktop, sink and wine cooler. It’s incredibly pricy. Glass is being used in countertops and cabinetry to make kitchens look more modern or less intimidating. Some of this glass is extremely high-tech or attractive.
Stone is used more and more in kitchens and some of this stonework is imaginative and almost wondrous. For instance, some stonework combines marble, onyx, glass and other exotic stones or materials to make beautiful but very expensive features for upscale kitchens. One textured glass countertop with a thickness of 1.5 inches, is priced at $145 per square foot.
Kitchen islands have changed dramatically over the past few years. The newest islands are table-height to seat diners in comfortable chairs. Some islands remain high but have lower tables or countertops attached to them for a combination of comfortable food preparation and sitdown dining.
There is even a two-level island with one part looking like a sushi bar.
Big appliances are becoming common for new kitchens in large new houses. There are six foot wide refrigerators with more than 40 cubic feet of storage, several temperature zones and wine caddies. There are extra-large dishwashers with room for 20 place settings or more. There are huge stoves and other major appliances built to handle the biggest party you can imagine throwing in your home.
Many of the newer kitchen features are much smaller but extraordinarily handy or nice to have. For instance, self closers on cabinet doors are excellent features. The newest thing in this line is the self-closing hinge which allows the cabinet door to close those last few inches without slamming.
Of course, full extension drawers have been around for years but they are still outstanding features to have in a kitchen. It may be easy to refurbish existing drawers with full extension runners much less expensively than if you had this feature installed when the kitchen was new.
Range hoods have come down in price with well designed, attractive hoods selling for less than $1,000 to add a great feature to a new or existing kitchen. Less expensive hoods have features like built-in lighting and several fan speeds but may be noisier than their still-expensive brothers and sisters.
There are many more features ranging from glass tile for backsplashes to recessed lighting and fancy ceiling trim for your kitchen. Some of the features will turn a traditional kitchen or even a pioneer style kitchen into the epitome of function and convenience despite its design style.
If you are considering a kitchen update, installing a whole new kitchen or designing the kitchen of an all-new home, shop around to see what’s new and interesting in the kitchen design centres and check the Internet for new features that haven’t yet made it into your area. Many new features are coming in from Europe and the U.S. every week and most are mentioned on the Web. If you like what you see, you can ask your local supplier to order the product or you can shop the Internet for the newest thing for your kitchen.