Just like paint colors and denim styles, kitchen appliance trends come and go. Although we don’t recommend a costly replacement every season, design professionals typically recommend remodeling your kitchen every 10 to 15 years. When it’s time for your next renovation, the key is to choose modern appliances that reflect not only the way you use your kitchen, but also your personality. Choose stylish options that will last and incorporate them wisely in ways that make cooking and cleaning easier—and ditch the appliances that feel tired or outdated.
While style is subjective, and one person’s outdated trend might be another’s new favorite thing, we spoke to chefs, designers, and kitchen appliance experts about what they recommend avoiding—and what stylish alternatives to consider instead.
Stainless steel appliances have dominated for decades. But you can say goodbye to (and get rid of) that special cleaning spray because this delicate finish has lost its shine. “It’s prone to fingerprints, discoloration and rust, and difficult to maintain,” says Colin Chee, founder and creative director of Never Too Small, a media company dedicated to small-footprint design, and author of Never Too Small: Vol. 2: Reinventing life in small spaces.
Alternatives: panel-ready or color devices
Tailor-made designs: Panel-ready appliances, whose fronts are designed to be covered with a custom cabinet door and fit seamlessly with your cabinets, are just one style that is taking the industry by storm. “We continue to see a dynamic shift in kitchen aesthetics as consumers seek tailored finishes that reflect their personal style,” says Marc Hottenroth, executive director of industrial design at GE Appliances. He adds that GE’s CAFÉ brand offers glass fronts, matte color palettes and customizable options to meet this demand. “It allows customers to prepare their products according to their taste, rather than buying mass, off-the-shelf options,” he explains.
Color stories: In addition to matte white and black, bold, dark shades, such as emerald green appliances, are on the rise. You can combine appliances with cabinets, says Chee, or use contrasting colors or materials to create a unique focal point.
Rose gold and copper hardware
Appliance makers from CAFÉ to La Cornue have offered knob, pull and handle options in rose gold and copper in recent years. But more exciting options are pushing these metals to the sidelines.
Alternative: statement accents
Metals in demand: Rose gold may be on the decline, but other metals including gold, brass, nickel and oil-rubbed bronze still dominate in matte, satin and brushed finishes. GE’s luxury appliance line, Monogram, for example, offers a designer collection of custom-made, sustainably sourced hoods, handles and finishes in warmer statement metals, including brass and titanium, says Richard T. Anuszkiewicz, creative director of Monogram Luxury Appliances. These jewelry-inspired metals can be paired with solid color cabinets and appliances for a unified look.
Attention grabber: “Color and unique metal finishes will continue to have a strong presence in the kitchen in 2024 and beyond as consumers look to maintain their desired style aesthetic with seamlessly matching hardware finishes throughout the kitchen,” says Anuszkiewicz.
Manufacturers and home cooks are starting to rethink gas appliances. Not only does gas become more expensive, but it also releases fumes that can affect air quality and make cleaning difficult. “Some countries have taken steps or proposed plans to phase out gas appliances, including the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia and certain parts of the United States,” Chee says. The focus so far has been mainly on stoves, but ovens as part of a gas stove are also being reconsidered.
Alternative: Electric wall ovens
Less fluctuation: This appliance cooks more precisely than a gas appliance, which is a big reason many chefs and bakers prefer it. When you build a single or double oven into the wall, you never have to bend over to remove turkeys and other heavy dishes. And if you choose a double oven, you can prepare different dishes at the same time.
The size is important: To get the most out of your investment (and make future upgrades easier), opt for a 30-inch electric wall oven, suggests Ozkuzey. Some manufacturers do not offer 27-inch versions.
Traditional electric stoves
“Electric coil ovens are out,” says Ozkuzey. Traditional electric burners may boil water faster than gas burners, but let’s face it: It’s a hassle to scrape off burnt-on liquid, they scratch easily, and you run the risk of accidentally burning your hand on the coils. They are also less energy efficient than induction cookers.
Alternative: induction hobs
Clever and simple: “Induction cooktops are continuing to grow in popularity among novice cooks and professional chefs alike, allowing them to create amazing, dynamic dishes with exceptional efficiency and ease,” says Hottenroth, noting that Monogram is expanding its range of professional cooktops Cookers around 30-inch and 36-inch induction models. The high-quality design and connected features, he adds, make induction appliances the centerpiece of your kitchen and help take the guesswork out of cooking.
Environmentally friendly: Induction hobs are fast, precise and easy to clean – and often affordable too. The anti-inflation law, which came into force in 2023, even provides funds for rebates for households that install new electrical appliances, including modern induction stoves. “What’s not to love about them? They are a much more sustainable option compared to gas burners,” says Chee.
Industrial size refrigerators
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Sub-Zero and KitchenAid are among the many top brands that offer 48-inch models with French doors (more on that in a moment)—but a bank vault-style refrigerator isn’t your only option, our experts say, and it is is not always the most functional case for your family.
Alternative: Several smaller cooling devices
Small but mighty: Instead of a jumbo refrigerator, some industry professionals recommend purchasing a large refrigerator complemented by space-saving undercounter refrigerator/freezer drawers or beverage refrigerators. “Don’t let the size fool you, the drawers have room for lots of items!” says Chee. He points out that you can even build a countertop on two separate refrigerators and freezers at bar height or under the counter, expanding the work area of small kitchens.
More plus points: Kids can grab drinks without getting in the chef’s way, and leftovers won’t get lost behind a barrage of condiments.
Refrigerators with a single door and a freezer compartment at the top (or a drawer at the bottom) are neither modern nor practical and take a back seat to more functional models with multiple doors.
Alternative: French door refrigerator
Pantry styleNote: Many manufacturers offer models with French doors at the top of the refrigerator and a freezer drawer at the bottom. You get more door space for spices and fresh items are positioned at eye level. Plus, the door hinge is half as wide, which provides more clearance if you have an island in front of it. Opening the refrigerator doors wide also feels luxurious, like opening the windows in a fancy hotel.
Four or more: Oh, and if you prefer more doors, look for configurations with four or even five doors, with some manufacturers’ models offering temperature-controlled zones.
Basic small appliances
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While they’re not exactly obsolete, small, single-function appliances like toasters and toaster ovens are giving way to wunderkind appliances with greater functionality.
Small multi-purpose devices
Multiple functions“Small countertop appliances packed with full-featured features continue to be popular,” says Hottenroth, pointing to multitaskers like a GE Profile Smart No-Preheat Oven, which has 11 no-preheat cooking modes like air frying, roasting, and pastry. Pizza and high temperatures.
Time saving: “We expect these slim, compact devices to continue to advance the industry and meet consumers’ on-the-go lifestyles,” he says.
The kitchen triangle
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For eons, the triangle has been the cornerstone of kitchen design, with straight lines between the sink, stove and refrigerator. But yesterday’s solo home cook has been replaced by multiple family members prepping and hanging out in the kitchen, eliminating the need for the triangle.
Alternative: islands with cooking zones
leeway: Open kitchens, especially those with multifunctional kitchen islands with built-in appliances such as induction hobs, offer enough space for many cooks in the kitchen as well as additional work tables and multiple cooking zones.
Cooking zones“If you choose an induction cooktop, choose one with multiple cooking zones in different sizes, including an extra-large zone, a flexi-zone (enlarged to accommodate any size pan), and a small cooking zone,” says Chee.