by William Sampson
firstname.lastname@example.org CABINET TRENDS
Top trends: frameless,
paint over stains, and soft close
Special report: Annual kitchen cabinet trends survey shows
dramatic changes in construction, materials and finishing.
Is minimalism and urban chic taking over cabinets? Touring the combined Kitchen/Bath Industry Show and International Builder’s
Show in Orlando this year one might
think so. Furthermore, data from our
exclusive kitchen cabinet trends survey
done at those events seems to confirm it.
The so-called urban chic trend, as
it relates to cabinets, is a move toward
more clean and simple looks, more Eu-ropean-style construction and finishes.
The trend takes its name from today’s
millennials moving increasingly into
more urban settings, often in smaller
apartments, where more compact, but
design-savvy kitchens are common.
These trending kitchens are the polar
opposite of the highly-ornamented, of-
ten Mediterranean-inspired kitchens that
were so popular a few years ago. Those
kitchens featured elaborate carving and
mouldings, furniture features like bun
feet, and often complex glaze finishes.
Out of some three-dozen companies
showing off more than 125 kitchen
displays at this year’s shows, less than a
handful of displays included these once
popular ostentatious kitchens.
Instead, booth after booth at the show
emphasized frameless kitchens with slab
or Shaker doors, often with low-key or
even no visible knobs or pulls, reflecting
minimalist design trends. Paint and laminates have replaced wood as the dominant materials, with a pallet of grays,
whites, and blues in force. Rather than
taking over a whole kitchen, wood is
often relegated to the status of an accent,
frequently with a dark stain to contrast
bright white, high-gloss acrylic cabinet
doors in the same kitchen.
That summarizes a common perception of the show, but it wasn’t until I
compiled the survey data that it became
apparent how much a sea change this
year’s show represented.
Trends are hard to track in advance,
particularly in design-centric areas such
as kitchen cabinets. Our solution for
more than a dozen years has been to
survey the displays shown by kitchen
cabinet manufacturers at the KBIS and
IBS shows. We meticulously tally what
materials, finishes, construction and
other features are included in each display and base our trend reports on the
results along with anecdotal information
from designers and other manufacturers’
representatives at the show.
While hardly scientific, the survey
works on the premise that manufactur-
ers tend to display what they think will
sell. Of course, not every manufacturer
Kitchens don’t have to be in one color. Many exhibiters displayed kitchens with cabinets in contrasting colors as seen in this Wellborn display.