on doors and drawer fronts.
Of the wood that was on display,
maple continues to dominate as the
leading species, but it was only seen
in about 21 percent of all the cabinets
on display. Oak was in second place at
about 3 percent, up from last year and
reflecting what several people said is a
trend to revive oak as a cabinet wood.
Trailing were alder, hickory and other
species such as walnut.
While wood was missing from the
outside of cabinets, it was dominant
in drawers (more on that later). Wood
was also popular as an accent, showing up in countertops, islands and as
a contrasting element in multi-tone
kitchens. Dark stains ( 16 percent) were
way ahead of medium and light stains,
each at about 5 percent.
“Our top stain numbers are in
darker colors,” said O’Neill.
Paint is popular
Painted finishes have simply taken
over. About 40 percent of all of the
cabinets on display used painted
finishes. But that’s actually conserva-
tive, according to finish experts and
designers we talked to at the show. Sue
Wadden, director of color marketing
for Sherwin-Williams, said, “Three
years ago, 70 percent of cabinets were
stained. Now 70 percent are painted.”
And the color choices aren’t just
shades of white. Certainly, white is still
strong in kitchens, accounting for 17
percent of the displays. But shades of
gray were almost as popular at 16 per-
cent, and shades of blue led a growing
field of other colors that are making
their way into the kitchen.
“Consumers are ready to take on
color again,” said Wadden.
Mike McKinnon, a Canadian rep
for Fabuwood, said the paint trend he
sees is still grays. “Orders are coming
in going away from stains and into
paint,” he said.
Another design trend that affects
paint is the increasing frequency of
mixing colors and finishes in the same
kitchen. Ken House, a rep for Quebec-based cabinet manufacturer EBSU,
says he is seeing lots more orders for
different colors in the same room.
Laminates on the rise
While laminates apparently had
been on a march to the bottom of
the kitchen market, that seems to
have changed. Led largely by the new
sophisticated textured laminates that
artfully mimic real wood, laminates
are making a comeback. More than 40
percent of the kitchens on display featured some kind of laminate. Textured
laminates accounted for about half of
all the laminates shown.
“Textured melamine is really taking
off,” said House.
Other laminate choices included
high-gloss acrylics and an updated pallet of laminate colors, including grays,
blues, espresso, and metallic colors.
Laminates might be big for cabinet
carcases, doors, and drawer fronts, but
wood is still the king for drawer boxes.
Nearly two thirds of the kitchens on
display featured solid wood drawers.
Only about 3 percent had laminate
drawers. But nearly a third of the draw-
Stained or natural wood may be less trendy
for doors and drawer fronts, but when you
open them, odds are inside they are solid
wood and almost certainly soft-close.
While ostentatious ornamentation is out,
special utility constructions, such as these
wine bottle and glass racks in a J&K
kitchen, are very trendy.
Compact urban chic kitchens like this one
from Wellborn are helping to drive design