Idoubt most cabinet manufacturers see themselves in the fashion industry, but having just completed our an- nual kitchen cabinet trends survey, I’m thinking they might need to change their minds.
Over the last couple of years, there have been some dramatic changes in key factors affecting the construction and
finishing of kitchen cabinets. These include a new emphasis
on frameless construction and a surge in the popularity of
painted cabinets over stained wood.
Many people say both of these trends are being driven
by millennials, who increasingly are moving to more urban
settings. Those city apartments, condos, and town homes typically have less space for kitchens than the suburban homes
that have previously driven the market. At the same time, millennials seem to eschew highly ornamented styles in favor of
clean, minimalist looks. Someone coined the phrase “urban
chic” as an umbrella for these trends.
While we have long featured the production advantages
of manufacturing frameless cabinets, their current rising
popularity has little to do with manufacturing. It’s a consum-
er-driven fashion statement for
cleaner lines, as well as a practical
choice for “full-access” cabinets
that offer more usable space.
On the other hand, the rise of
paint over stained wood is purely
fashion, as millennials reject the
“brown wood” furniture and
furnishings their parents and
grandparents revered. Try handing down Grandpa’s antique solid
oak desk to a millennial, and see
the strained expression as they
grasp for a polite way to say, “No.”
Those elaborate Mediterranean kitchens with carvings and
multi-step glaze finishes? Forget about it.
I don’t think we’ve reached the point where cabinet fashions will be as changeable as hemlines, but cabinet manufacturers and marketers do need to pay more attention to changing tastes. Just as electronic gadgets constantly rearrange our
lives and how we do things, cabinet trends are likely to be
more volatile in the future. ✚
✚ Follow Will
online at www.
Manufacturing: No respect?
What do U.S. manufacturing and Rodney
Dangerfield have in common?
They get no respect.
In the case of manufacturing, a new image in the media is emerging, but one of the
largest and most-respected newspapers saw
the need to downplay a positive story.
The economy added almost 200,000 man-
ufacturing jobs last year, the most since 2014,
In response, this major newspaper said in
a radio interview that the job gain was “not
important,” more “symbolic” than anything,
and that manufacturing was a small part of
the economy but “politically important.”
Yes, many jobs have been lost in the past
20 years, but any kind of gain is still good
news, and it should be reported that way.
Rodney Dangerfield (check youtube) did
pretty well without getting respect. ✚
by Karl D. Forth
✚ Follow Karl
online at www.
Are we in the fashion industry?
Cabinet trends survey reveals the power of changing popularity
and how it affects manufacturing.
by William Sampson