Kitchen Innovations: Kitchens of the New Millennium
Much has changed over the last few decades when it comes to how we are designing kitchens these days. Consumers are much savvier today, and with the use of computers and the internet, access to just about anything can be found within minutes at the click of a button. There’s not one item or product out here in today’s market, that can’t be seen, researched and or investigated without ever having to leave your home. Still, there’s nothing like actually seeing and touching in person, these new innovative products that are so readily available to us. So it’s very important when considering a kitchen remodel project, to really do your homework, and see for yourself just how things have changed as compared to the kitchens that we all grew up with. And just think, most of us haven’t even begun to see the new products that will be available to us all in the near future.
Innovations in Appliances
Appliances have probably made the greatest impact as far as changes in the kitchen industry today. Of course, they are all much more energy efficient then the older counter parts we’re so used to, however, there are lots more there than just dollars and cents when it comes to what meets the eye with appliances these days. Why, just look at where the microwave has come in the last twenty years alone. Originally recognized for the quick ease of heating and defrosting, they now have the ability to cook a whole turkey in a fraction of the time. With new technology, high speed ovens can even cook a complete gourmet meal that not only looks great, but taste great too, and fast, fast, fast.
Today, with over-scheduled two career families, and households to run, people want as many conveniences as they can get. A notably innovative new product in the cooking industry is Whirlpools Polara oven. It’s a free standing range with a refrigeration function built right into it. This unit can be programmed to keep a raw, ready-to-cook meal refrigerated until a pre programmed time, then when it’s cooked, it can be kept warm for an hour, and then refrigerated again so it doesn’t spoil. So whatever time everyone makes it home, the meal is waiting for them.
Some other appliances trends you’ll notice are..
- Sleeker and more modern styles for some.
- Old world styles for others with modern technology.
- Larger built in type appliances such as refrigerators and freezers.
- Smaller, under counter models like refrigerator and warming drawers.
- New style finishes like stainless steel and brushed metals.
- Commercial styling and functions
- Quieter and energy efficient models
- Programmable and universal touch controls.
Innovations in Cabinetry
Cabinetry, although not necessarily better in quality, they are surely better when it comes accessories that are available. Styles might change, but like most trends, what goes around, comes around. For some, it might be ultra modern styling, almost futuristic looking. But for others, and most prevalent even here in south Florida, is the more traditional and old world look. Simple cabinet styles that are similar to the Arts and Crafts or Mission style are very popular. People are demanding better quality, and more conveniences in their cabinetry. A greater focus on the design and the need to use every inch of available space are making cabinet interiors more user friendly. People want more organization and better access to cabinets. More drawers than just cabinets with doors are prevalent, just as they have been in Europe for a long time. And with a more ecology conscious consumer, combined with mandatory recycling laws in many areas, cabinets with recycle bins and multi pull out sections are a big issue. Electronics too, have become a big part of the make-up of a kitchen. Incorporating a computer and or TV has been a frequent part of the design challenge. And with new innovations such as under cabinet mounted computers, stereos and TV’s, counter top space has become free.
Finishes have also come a long way, and manufacturers, especially in the middle to high end cabinetry, are offering much more colors and stains. Glazing and highlighting are still very popular, as well as hand finishes and distressing features. Cabinet manufacturers are greatly influenced by the use of environmentally friendly materials too. Many materials follow the fashion and color trends, and will continue to be based much on nature, and natural materials such as wood and stone. Consumers want cabinets to have more of a furniture look. After all, cabinets are furniture for your home, and therefore, people want them to look good, not just on the outside, but on the inside as well. People are willing to pay a little more to get a product that’s going to last them longer. Better quality materials and workmanship with more design features can afford more flexibility in the kitchen.
Today, homeowners are investing more money in their kitchens than ever before. As they add more sophisticated features to them, they expect a higher level of professionalism from the design to the construction. The old fashion notion of family and friends gathered to share a meal, has been replaced by the fast paced and hectic world of the new millennium. Today’s “great room” has become a room that serves many functions. From cooking and dining, gathering, entertaining and working, the kitchen has become the heart of the new great room configuration. Not just a place for cooking any more, but for socializing and becoming more the main area for family living. The kitchen and great room are now more a part of the home’s entertaining area. People are staying home more these days. Cooking and entertaining at home have become part of the family lifestyle once again. But, whatever style you choose, your kitchen should be a reflection of you and your family’s personality. Being the center of most homes focus, the kitchen of the new millennium can be the one place in your home that showcases you and your family, and might even be the key to bringing people together.