India’s consumer is slowly becoming receptive to innovative home interior ideas. This trend can be attributed to the increased number of international players operating in the market, offering international trends in home fittings and solutions, as well as to the fact that Indians are now increasingly travelling abroad on work and leisure trips and gaining exposure to global trends. As a result of this, many stigmas and stereotypes in home and kitchen fittings and materials are slowly giving way to contemporary trends which are sustainable, well-designed and high on functionality. Here are five key trends that sellers should recognise in order to be in tune with their customers’ needs:
Interactive kitchen design: Today, the kitchen is not merely seen as a hub of cooking and cleaning activities. It has gradually transited into becoming the focal point of families where besides cooking, small family meals are served, homework is done, and friends are entertained and so on. So, like in Europe, the kitchen is becoming the centre of home life and entertainment.
Therefore, concepts like open and island kitchens with a small coffee table or dining set-up are gaining tremendous popularity worldwide and India is not far behind in hooking onto this concept.
Contemporary countertops: From the initial and age-old preferences of marble and granite, homeowners are now looking at innovative materials like quartz surfaces for kitchen countertops. Unlike marble or granite, quartz is an engineered stone that can be rendered in many colours and textures while giving the same amount of tenacity and endurance of conventional stone. For instance, the Caesarstone Surface is composed of up to 93% quartz and is,therefore, designed to last.
Built-in Appliances are in vogue: With increasing urbanisation and international trends sweeping the market, new age and modern appliances are gaining predominance. These appliances come with convenience in operation with highlevels of automation and precision. Another wave of novelty that has hit the market in the last five years is the built-in appliances concept; and like anything new, it’s catching the keen eye of the customer.
However, the decision to buy built-in appliances is on a slow yet steady upscale. The main reason for this is that the integration of built-in appliances in an existing kitchen requires some amount of back-work (especially if the kitchen is not modular). On the other hand, in case of designing new kitchens, this process is easier. The installation of built-in appliances is largely dependent on the modularity of a kitchen; it follows the same designing principles of modular kitchens where the cabinet heights and depths are standard while the width can vary as per customer requirements. Most of the built-in appliances in the market are available in standard sizes as per the cabinet modules. Therefore, the growth of this segment is directly connected with the growth of the modular kitchen market. For instance,Hafele’sNagold range is designed to complement the modularity of the latest kitchens.
Dynamics in kitchen functionality: While ergonomics in a kitchen is attributed to good designing, functionality on the other hand is a direct outcome of the fittings. Functionality is a growing trend in its own sphere – functionality is dynamic and there is no limit for innovation in ‘functionality’. Self-closing drawers, electrical opening systems for cabinets (where shutters or drawers open at the slightest nudge), lift-up systems for overhead cabinets, tall units for grocery and bulk storage, and corner solutions for maximum space utilisation are some trends that are gaining prominence in the spectrum of functionality.
A dash of ‘lighting’: Lighting in kitchens serves a dual role – it can be decorative to enhance expensive crockery and glasses showcased in glass cabinets; and it can be effective (task lighting) to facilitate kitchen chores like cleaning, chopping and cooking. Decorative LED lighting in cabinets, display lights, LED strips are some ideal solutions to enhance the overall colour and design in the kitchen. Under-cabinet lighting, recessed lighting within drawers and overhead cabinets, are ideal for providing effective illuminance to execute every kitchen chore to optimum detail.
The author is managing director Hafele India Pvt Ltd.