4 Kitchen Trends for 2024 and Beyond

  • Categories:

    Industry Trends, Marketing Insights

  • Date:

    November 20, 2023

4 Kitchen Trends for 2024 and Beyond

Industry Trends Marketing Insights

The National Kitchen & Bath Association recently released the 2024 Kitchen Trends Report, which contains insights from more than 630 industry professionals, including designers, contractors, manufacturers and architects. At Wray Ward, our Insights and Brand Strategy group leans into research from the NKBA and other partners to help our home and building category clients understand what trend projections could mean for their business.

So, what does the newest NKBA report have to say about kitchen trends shaping the next three years, and what does it all mean for your business? Here are four takeaways I found particularly interesting.

1. Homeowners want their kitchen to feel connected to the outdoors.

Over the past several years, we’ve seen an increased interest in biophilic design among homeowners. Simply put, people want to feel a connection to nature while in their homes — and the kitchen is no exception.

According to the NKBA survey, organic and natural design themes will be especially popular for kitchen remodels. From wood grain cabinets to earth-tone color palettes, design choices will be made with a connection to nature in mind.

In addition to using organic colors and textures, homeowners will enhance nature-inspired spaces with ample natural light from larger windows, glass doors and skylights.

But of course, this desire for a connection to the outdoors isn’t totally rooted in design. Rather, it starts with a deeper, unspoken desire for something less tangible: Perhaps it’s the energizing, emotional impact of a tangible connection with nature, or maybe it answers a specific lifestyle need.

Regardless, successful brands will work to uncover even the most abstract motivations — and create messaging and campaigns that speak to them. Can you tell a story about the energizing and restorative power of nature? Can you translate that sentiment into a convincing case for how your product helps bring that power to life?

2. Kitchen cravings include a minimalist design that’s also low maintenance.

Survey results suggest that we can expect to see an emphasis on seamless design continue over the next three years.

People want to feel destressed when they come home. And these days, many homeowners want their kitchens to have a minimalist aesthetic that’s fluid and functional. A simple and clean design prevents clutter and eliminates noise.

Cabinets will be an important design element in achieving this look. Nearly 70% of respondents agree that modern, flat panel doors will be the most popular cabinetry style. Designers love how the sleek, unadorned style of these cabinets can blend seamlessly with any kitchen’s design. Plus, homeowners like how the surface makes these cabinets especially easy to clean. To make these cabinets even more low maintenance, some homeowners will opt for push-to-open technology instead of hardware.

More storage is key to preventing clutter and achieving a clean, minimalist appearance. Creating cabinetry to hide kitchen appliances, such as a microwave or dishwasher, will continue to be a popular design addition. To maximize storage space, the majority of respondents think that designers will add floor-to-ceiling cabinetry and extra-deep lower drawers. We can also expect to see more custom organizers, from drawer dividers to partitions, to improve cabinet organization.

In addition to extra storage, more cabinets will include built-in charging stations to enhance functionality.

Now, what can we take away from these findings? At Wray Ward, we anticipate that successful brands will be able to tell a succinct story that addresses how their product(s) can destress people’s lives. For example, savvy storage solutions eliminate brain clutter while a minimalist style quiets the mind.

To craft a compelling marketing message, consider these questions:

  • If homeowners want to feel relaxed in the kitchen, how can your product make a mundane task less taxing or contribute to a seamless design that is calming to the senses?

  • How can your products help simplify life at home?

  • Can you tell that story in a compelling way?

3. Islands and range hoods are becoming design focal points.

Not only is the island an important workstation, but it can also serve as a striking design element in the kitchen. Nearly half of respondents agree that creating a design focal point will be the most important goal for kitchen islands.

Color blocking has become a popular way to add dimension to a kitchen. This style refers to choosing two or more contrasting colors to make a bold statement. To achieve this look, designers are selecting a cabinetry finish or countertop for the island that contrasts with the surrounding space.

In addition to the island, statement range hoods are expected to be a popular way to add a pop of interest. Case in point: Nearly 7 in 10 respondents say that creating a focal point or adding decoration will be the most important goal for range hoods. NKBA predicts that designers will choose from wood and/or stainless steel, potentially mixing materials.

While this trend is quite literally design-forward, marketers should not forget how their product answers a functional need — and what emotions drive a decision forward. An island can serve as a design focal point, but at its core, it’s a central workstation, extra-storage spot and gathering space for family and friends. When thinking about all the practical uses for an island, brands should focus on the homeowner’s emotional response. An island reduces feelings of stress by making meal prep easier and providing extra storage. It brings joy by creating a space for loved ones to congregate in the heart of the kitchen.

This strategy applies to messaging for a range hood as well. Yes, it can be a bold design statement and create contrast, but that’s not the only thought that comes to mind when homeowners are purchasing a new range hood. Air quality is an important concern for many. How does your range hood contribute to a healthier atmosphere, which leads to a happier home?

4. Sustainability is a prevailing priority.

Sustainability is taking a front seat in kitchen design, but who is most responsible for driving the movement?

  • 36% of NKBA survey respondents say homeowners are the primary drivers

  • 32% say manufacturers

  • 30% say designers

Homeowners care about recycling, and designers are incorporating it into kitchen layouts. More than half of respondents say that some kitchen storage spaces are devoted to recycling. Additionally, 51% of respondents note that sustainability is an important factor when selecting products. Homeowners want long-lasting products that are also energy efficient.

Over the next three years, we can also expect to see more frequent donations of old cabinets, appliances and other once-discarded remnants of a kitchen remodeling project.

Sustainability is not a novel concept, but it hasn’t reached a critical mass just yet. It can be difficult to grasp what it means and how it can be achieved. The manufacturers that succeed will be able to tell a concise story that conveys how their product is sustainable and why that matters. Perhaps the cost savings are the selling point: a reduced need for replacements or a more energy-efficient solution that lowers your monthly expenses. Regardless, the brands that triumph will be able to elevate sustainability from a simple buzzword that might ultimately fall flat to a real, tangible, action-driving concept that ties directly to their products.

How to Ensure Your Brand Stays Relevant

While design innovation propels this industry, it’s the visceral reaction to a product that makes a sale. Ask yourself the question: How does your product elicit a positive feeling or answer a functional need? As marketers, we must dig deeper to uncover what these underlying benefits are and what they mean to the industry professional and the homeowner.

Over the next few years, our Insights and Brand Strategy experts predict that stand-out messaging and campaigns will go beyond just a color or texture story by connecting with audiences’ desires and lifestyle needs. For example, green may be the most popular kitchen color, but what does that reveal about homeowner preferences? Does green fulfill a desire for a more calming, serene space? If so, how does your green cabinetry evoke this feeling?

To make homeowners feel more confident in their decisions, brands need to elevate their marketing message so that it goes beyond aesthetics and connects with their desires. This will lead to more sales — and ultimately brand satisfaction.

Interested in learning more about industry trends and how to leverage them for your business? Read my post on key takeaways from the 2023 New Home Trends Summit.

Explore more articles from Wray Ward.