As Seen on TV

Kitchens have evolved from functioning as just the cooking stage to the actual hang-out hub of the home. TV shows that focus on kitchens or cooking have influenced home buyers who now want personalized, efficient and highly-styled showcases.
By Rhonda Jackson, Staff Writer | September 30, 2006

The Evolution of the Kitchen

Today's home buyers are looking for a stylish kitchen that supports their modern lifestyle — and they're following pop culture's cues.'s editor Kimberly Sweet says homeowners are heavily influenced by food television; cooking shows' popularity has given consumers a peak into the workings of a professional kitchen — and homeowners want one to match. Plus shelter magazines — House Beautiful, DWELL, Real Simple — are serving as a mini-university for home and kitchen design for potential home buyers, too.

Ideas All Around

"As [consumers] go through the shelter magazines, they see a lot of kitchens with the look of stainless steel. It has that real professional, commercial look. That's what consumers are migrating to," says Troy Rodman, industrial design manager for Sears, Roebuck and Co. Other trends:

  • Side-by-side refrigerators with three-door refrigerators, which have a two-door refrigerator on top with a bottom-mount freezer. This configuration allows the homeowner to easily access the entire refrigerator.
  • Dual-fuel ranges. "[Consumers] want gas burners, ideally with an electric oven. Electric bakes better and roasts better and gas tends to have infinite control; therefore, it is better for your burners," says Connie Edwards, a Certified Kitchen Designer and director of design for Timberlake Cabinet Co.
  • Induction ovens, although gas and electric cooking appliances occupy the majority of the market.
  • Cabinets that resemble furniture, as kitchens blend into other areas of the home. "That is what is moving the trend from really light woods to medium and a little darker woods. It works better with furniture tones," says Edwards.

Cabinets are also taking on a sleeker look. "There is a movement toward cleaner, simpler lines that I would probably call contemporary," says Edwards.

Kitchens have evolved from functioning as just the cooking stage to the actual hang-out hub of the home. And more exposure to media that focuses on kitchens has produced a much more educated home buyer who wants a personalized, efficient and highly-styled kitchen.

Electrolux's Prototype Live-in Room at the kitchen and bath show seamlessly combined the kitchen with a living room, wet bar and an area for practicing the piano.


The Evolution of the Kitchen

Dinner is not the only thing cooking in the kitchen. Homeowners pay bills, supervise homework, watch television and host parties in these multi-function rooms. Designing kitchens with a focus on the triangular workspace and the basic cooking area doesn't cut it. The modern kitchen has emerged as a convergence of many rooms: the living room, dining room, office space and traditional kitchen.

A recent Electrolux survey of 1,024 Americans highlights several consumer trends that may influence the way kitchens are designed.

Here are the top consumer trends:

  1. Nine out of 10 perform non-traditional activities in their kitchen
  2. Two-thirds socialize in the kitchen rather than the living or family rooms
  3. Integrated/separate zones — cooking, eating, entertaining, working
  4. Combining the living room, dining room/breakfast nook and kitchen
  5. Comfortable seating
  6. Appliances that blend in
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