What trends do the national retail corporations predict for 2024?
Hannah Parker, head of insight at national trade retailer Howdens, gives her predictions for the design trends that are likely to be driving the kitchen market forward in 2024
Trend identification is a comprehensive process involving the collation of insights from various sources.
At Howdens, we draw from trend forecasters, supplier intelligence, and insights from adjacent industries like fashion and interiors. Tracking the fast fashion industries also allows us to identify potential trends that may transition to the furniture mass market.
Additionally, we actively involve our depot network and customers in product and colour testing before a broader launch. Based on all of this, we believe that the upcoming year in kitchen design will continue to be shaped by four major drivers: ‘space,’ ‘sustainability,’ ‘wellbeing,’ and the ‘state of the nation.’
These factors are intricately intertwined, reflecting the evolving needs and values of consumers. Thinking about space and functionality and how these influence trends, the past few years have seen a significant transformation in how we view our homes, especially with the integration of work-from-home solutions and an increased focus on socialising at home. Consumers are now approaching design with a more thoughtful consideration of space, maximising every inch of their homes.
This shift has led to a design aesthetic that seamlessly transitions through spaces, using a palette of colours, textures, and materials that work cohesively across various living areas.
Internal storage has become paramount, moving beyond mere functionality to include clever and aesthetically pleasing solutions such as pantries, bars, and coffee stations. The rise of organising movements, driving the desire for clutter-free homes, is contributing to a more organised and peaceful living environment.
The ’modern luxury’ trend epitomises these shifts, offering a chic and contemporary look that combines handleless styles with warm neutrals, rich timbers, and aged metallics, ensuring a sophisticated and tailored design for modern living.
Additionally, sustainable considerations are also having a huge impact on design choices. Sustainability is now a fundamental driver underlying all trends in kitchen design. Consumers are increasingly valuing energy efficiency, product longevity, and overall quality, embracing the ‘buy better, buy less’ ethos.
This focus on sustainability extends beyond the material considerations of products. It has significantly influenced the aesthetic, driving a surge in the use of natural materials and the prevalence of greens, blues, and earthy shades.
Shaker kitchens, for example, are embracing authentic stones and timbers, with advancements in printing and embossing technologies allowing for authentic replications of natural materials in laminates for worktops and flooring. In times of uncertainty, our homes have become sanctuaries for relaxation and recharging.
This shift is reflected in an aesthetic that combines nostalgic neutrals with soft textures, creating a ‘restful retreat’ within the kitchen. Layers of aged metals and light timbers contribute to shaping a space that fosters relaxation and comfort. This trend celebrates craftsmanship through hand-finished elements, emphasising the importance of creating an environment that promotes mental and emotional well-being.
With a heightened focus on the cost of living, market uncertainty, and factors affecting the housing market, such as mortgage rates, we expect to see a notable emphasis on budget and ‘looks for less,’ as consumers navigate economic challenges and seek cost-effective solutions without compromising on style.
In terms of colour, neutrals, greens, blues, and softer interior shades are expected to be popular. These are finishes that seamlessly traverse from the kitchen to other living spaces, reflecting the broader movement towards creating harmonious and comfortable environments within homes.
Functionality will be key alongside colour and palette choices. For instance, retailers and designers can support the creation of ‘larders’ and bespoke elements that personalise kitchen spaces, adding functionality, style and additional value with their skillset. The key for retailers is to emphasise the
principles of longevity and durability with their customers.