Interior designers specify healthy home-enhancing products all the time. What are they anticipating to be the most popular in the new year? These five working from Southern California to the Caribbean share their predictions here, based on their own busy practices.
I interviewed each last week by email. Check out their responses on kitchen remodels below. There will be a companion piece on bathrooms publishing Saturday.
“We design a lot of vacation rental homes here in the Virgin Islands,” shares St. Thomas-based Tiffany Cassidy, adding, “Induction is increasingly popular among our VRBO clients. The fact that the cooktops are easy to clean is a bonus, they are also safer as they reduce the possibility of burns and accidental fires, not to mention emissions from combustible fossil fuels.”
Lauren Schulte in the greater Buffalo area town of North Tonawanda is seeing fully integrated cooktops as a 2024 trend. The induction hobs are nearly invisible but bring definite benefits beyond their sleek style, safety and cooking performance. “They make clean-up time as simple as possible!”
Cassidy also anticipates that ovens with air fry and steam features will continue to be popular appliance choices. “Access to quick easy healthy cooking methods makes eating in more fun!” the designer notes.
Robin Burrill in the greater Dallas-Ft. Worth area town of Keller, Texas is also bullish on steam ovens. “As more people learn about this technology and get over their initial fear, they’ll quickly learn about the versatility. Not only is reheating foods much better than the microwave, but cooking is fantastic in the steam oven!”
Summer Jensen in Southern Orange County, California’s Laguna Beach is also seeing 2024 including a steam oven trend, calling this versatile appliance her first choice. “With the ability to cook with water, you lower your caloric intake while keeping things moist and still crispy the outside.” It replaces microwaves in many of her projects as food cooked in steam ovens is more nutritious and tastier.
She’s also anticipating a big year for composting appliances in market-setting California, because of legislation mandating this process. “Composting is a great way to take our waste and give it back to the soil. However, if you have ever composted at home, the bin on the top of the sink is smelly and not very sanitary,” she comments. There are various ways to address this, including with new composting appliances, like the award-winning under-sink model launched at the 2023 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show by Sepura Home.
Fixtures and Faucets
When it comes to trending fixtures and faucets, Burrill is bullish on multi-function taps. “Faucets that can produce fizzy, hot, still and cold water – these are amazing!” She declares. This designer is specifying them throughout the home, she adds, “Not only the kitchen, the bar area, but master suites, guest suites, and outdoor living too.”
ASID National Board of Directors Chair and Chicago designer John Cialone is also seeing these multi-function faucets as a strong 2024 wellness product trend. He also points out their sustainability benefits: “These are also good for the earth, reducing waste from containers both plastic and metal” and reducing the need to transport packaged drinks.
Schulte sees workstation sinks as a strong trend for 2024. “There are so many new sinks out there with amazing attachment features such as the cutting boards with holes, strainers, slots and just about anything else you need to chop and work directly in the sink,” shares the New York State-based designer. “It makes cutting and cleaning fruits and veggies simple and organized. It was hands down the biggest request that I had gotten from clients in 2023.”
Cialone is seeing smart kitchen appliances trending in the new year, especially for intelligent food management. “I think it’s more important for a refrigerator or pantry area to tell you when food might be expiring and suggest a way to use it. Food waste is one of my personal pet peeves, and anything to encourage using food that you already have before it goes bad would be a great AI enhancement.”
Burrill is seeing this too: “There are fridges that can take inventory and all you have to do log in and see what you need to pick up at the grocery.” She also points to the popularity of technology for cooking appliances. You can check on the temperature of food in the oven, or preheat it remotely, she notes.
The Texas designer also notes the role of voice control: “Now you can tell your device, like Alexa, to open your oven door.” Wi-fi is also enabling manufacturers to send product upgrades like air fry capability to its eligible connected appliances. This, along with remote troubleshooting and diagnostics, has become a compelling reason to register and connect your appliances.
“I am seeing so much “smart” technology going into the home, not just the kitchen,” says Schulte. “Being able to tie everything in together to open/close turn off/on with a simple voice command or touch of the phone is a must for the under-40 homeowners.” Her younger clients are using it for home checks from the road, carbon monoxide and other home detectors and overall convenience and safety.
Caribbean-based Cassidy anticipates that products designed for zoned kitchens will trend in 2024 – from countertop appliances to cabinet organizers, citing this example: “A client who loves juicing every morning needs a zone for this. We have the Juicer on a lift-up shelf in a base cabinet, we also add a drawer with dividers to help organize all the supplements that go into the juices as well. Then above the counter, there’s a cabinet that stores all the homeowners’ favorite go cups and glasses for the fresh juices.”
Cialone is anticipating a shift in how kitchens are organized for waste management, he says. “Two-bin built-in garbage cans are now the norm, but three-bin waste storage areas help to encourage composting, recycling, and disposal of traditional waste. Three-bin areas are the next big wave.” That third bin will be added to facilitate composting, the Chicago designer notes, and may be a more advanced solution than the kind of standard receptacle we use for trash and recycling.
The Chicago designer also tantalizes with a mention of self-cleaning countertops. “I’m seeing a lot of information about [them] recently.” I have not yet, but will be on the lookout for sure!
Jensen is anticipating that outdoor kitchen products will be a strong trend in 2024. “Numerous indoor kitchen manufacturers have launched their collections of modular outdoor counterparts. These are units that don’t require more than a gas and water line and a flat floor to hook up.” Among the benefits the Southern California designer sees in these units is a low hassle solution with high style.
There are two trends working against each other in this respect. On the one hand, you have the “democratization” of design. Features generally start among luxury products and as they become popular, show up in more affordable models. “Convection ovens are a great example,” observes Burrill. “When they first came out, they were so much more expensive. Now, there aren’t many manufacturers that make them without! “
Cialone observes the same trend. “There will be a demand for wellness related products that may cause prices to increase initially while manufacturers figure out how to meet demand. Eventually, everyone will come to expect these features, and they will be standard in most kitchens in the next few years.”
The countervailing trend is the increased cost of many products in the home improvement sector. “The price of everything is getting more and more expensive,” Burrill points out. And while prices have been dropping across many consumer products this year, enhanced products will typically cost more than their basic competitors.
What has been changing since the pandemic drove home the links between health and home, is increased demand for wellness design products. “I think as wellness in the kitchen becomes more popular, we can look for more options to choose from,” Burrill predicts.
Jensen also anticipates falling prices, explaining why: “Currently, most wellness products are being produced by European manufacturers where stringent green requirements are already a part of normal everyday life. As the American stakeholders demand more accountability, our domestic versions will start to offer their own versions of wellness fixtures and equipment; driving down the price.”