The Future of Kitchens: Design

Not long ago, people thought that the kitchens of the 2000s would resemble something out of a sci-fi movie. While some people do subscribe to a more ultra-modern design aesthetic than others, for the most part we haven’t reached a Star Trek-esque level. In fact, in many ways kitchens seems to have reached backward as far as design is concerned.

The homey and nostalgic appeal of design styles like Scandi, Cottage, and Farmhouse have taken North America by storm. Traditional kitchens have remained strong, and mid-century modern has certainly been enjoying a renaissance. The question is, where do we go from here?

For help answering this question, eieihome.com reached out to the design professionals at AyA Kitchens and Baths to gain some expert insights on the future of kitchen design.

“Some of the big influences that will have an impact on kitchen design of the future include technology, development of new materials, accessibility and environmental issues,” explains Sandra Mendes, senior project designer for AyA Kitchens and Baths.  “Equally important influences are how people are using the space and how it affects our environment.”

Design Stays Out of the Box

When the kitchen walls finally came down at the onset of the open-concept movement, they removed the isolation that many home cooks had often felt. It also allowed the kitchen to fully evolve into its role as household hub. While many interior design trends come and go, the open-concept kitchen seems to have become ingrained into the fabric of North American home culture.

“Currently, it’s very common to see walls being removed in older kitchens to achieve a more open and inviting space and I don’t anticipate this changing in the near future,” Mendes says.

Dream Smaller

Once upon a time, the ultimate dream kitchen was a vast space, filled with more countertops and cabinets than anyone could ever possibly need. However, as an increasing number of families incorporate restaurant dining or takeout as a regular part of their weekly meal schedule, we will begin to see the concept of a dream kitchen decreasing in size.

According to a recent survey by Capital One Canada and Credit Canada, 72% of Canadians surveyed admit to dining out more than a few times in a typical month, while 71% say that they order takeout more than a few times per month.

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also stated that going out to a restaurant has been reported as the number one preferred activity when spending time with family.  Together, these factors make it easy to see why many younger homeowners may see less value in large kitchen than the older generations.

“Kitchens are definitely getting smaller. Especially with newer condos and homes having typically smaller footprints than older homes,” says Mendes.  “With more compact spaces, we’re seeing smaller, fully integrated appliances, as well as cabinets featuring smart storage solutions or multi-functional purposes.”

Accessibility for Everyone

Even into their senior years, the dynamic Baby Boomer population continues to spearhead societal change. More than any generation before them, these seniors are determined to age in place. According to a 2013 poll by RBC, 83% of retiring Baby Boomers surveyed stated that they planned to stay in their own homes and pay for home care as needed, as opposed to relocating to a seniors residence.

Canada is also seeing an increase in multigenerational living, a trend which allows seniors to remain with the family and also reduces the astronomical cost of childcare. This means that accessibility will become an integral part of the future of kitchen planning and design. Pullout shelving, lowered countertops, hands-free faucets and other advancements will likely become important renovations as households endeavor to better accommodate their senior members.

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Special thanks to Sandra Mendes and the rest of the team at AyA Kitchens and Baths for offering their thoughts on the future of kitchens.

Be sure to keep an eye out for our next article in this series on the Future of Kitchen, where we’ll discuss the future of home cooking trends, or read our previous article on the Future of Kitchen Technology.

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