What do you think kitchens will look like in 25 years?

What do you think kitchens will look like in 25 years? Will they clean themselves? Will a refrigerator be able to help us maintain our ideal weight? Or help us manage diseases like diabetes? One manufacturer recently released a report that is helping consumers discern which direction future trends may take. The Cosentino Group’s Silestone Institute released “Global Kitchen: the home kitchen in the era of globalization,” after talking with 17 international culinary and kitchen design experts and conducting a survey in 800 kitchen stores across the globe. Here are just a few of the trends they anticipate seeing in our homes over the next 25 years:

Kitchen remodeling will be common

As people remain in their homes longer, remodeling will be more common – particularly in kitchens where technology is continually evolving. “Statistics show that in 25 years we will be renovating our kitchens an average of three times during our lives,” says Sian Supski, doctor of sociology and researcher at the University of Monash.

The center of the home

In the United States, we already think of kitchens as the center of our homes, and that will be even more the case going forward. The experts see the kitchen becoming increasingly integrated with the rest of the home as a space for relaxation and work. Thus, they envision this multi-functional space almost disappearing as an independent room. “I see the kitchen like the United Nations: a space where people talk, argue and make peace,” explained Piero Lissoni, art director and co-founder of Lissonis Associati and Lissoni Architettura.

Disappearing kitchens

As kitchens become more integrated, there will be a push to make them look less, well kitcheny. There will be less cabinetry, which frees wall space for larger windows to let in more light and offer better views. At the same time, they predict a movement toward hiding sinks and faucets so the room has a seamless appearance with the rest of the home when actual food prep is not taking place.

Focus on health

“Kitchens will adapt to the foodie movement and nutrition awareness,” explained Sandy Gordon, interior designer, SGI Interiors consultant and professor at the University of Wisconsin. We’re beginning to see that already, with the advent of home delivery food services. Experts predict that as people become more comfortable with the advantages fresh food offers, pantries will shrink or even disappear.

Connected kitchens

One of the key pieces that is necessary to make that work is technology. “The major development in the kitchen is the mobile phone and its connection to the world,” noted Einav Gefen, Corporate Executive Officer in Food Solutions, Unilever North America. Smart refrigerators that can tell you when you need to purchase necessities – and can even place the order for you – will become essential. Some of these smart appliances might be able to help you stay healthier by monitoring caloric intake and types of food – which is great news for folks struggling with diabetes or other health issues.

Mulitfunctional tools

One of the most innovative predictions to come out of the report is how they see work surfaces (ie. counters) evolving: “The worktops of the future will allow us to cook directly on their surfaces, and will incorporate connectivity and serve as a control panel. These worktops will also manage tasks like weighing and calculating the nutritional value of foodstuffs, absorbing liquids and cleaning,” the report said.

No matter what the kitchens of the future hold, it’s clear that design professionals will be needed to effectively integrate the myriad options and diverse technology. The other main takeaway is one that’s essential for homeowners to remember: kitchens work best when they are designed around you and your needs. That holds true whether you are planning a kitchen remodel today or thinking about a new dream kitchen 20 years from now. “The kitchen space has to be flexible and allow personalization to adapt to the needs of the user,” emphasized Alessandro Finetto, architect, designer and Director of Global Consumer Design Whirlpool EMEA & Asia. We couldn’t agree more!