From gas appliances to over/under fridges, these are the outdated trends experts say to skip for your next renovation.
Elyse is a former senior editor for Martha Stewart Living.
Updated on January 5, 2024
In This Article
- Stainless Steel
- Rose Gold and Copper Hardware
- Gas Ovens
- Traditional Electric Stovetops
- Industrial Size Refrigerators
- Over/Under Refrigerators
- Basic Small Appliances
- The Kitchen Triangle
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Just like paint colors and denim styles, kitchen appliance trends come and go. Though we aren’t suggesting 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 updated appliances that not only reflect how you use your kitchen, but your personality, too. Choose stylish options that will last and incorporate them wisely in ways that will make cooking and cleaning easier for you—and skip the appliances that feel tired or dated.
While style is subjective, and one person’s outdated trend may be someone else’s favorite new thing, we talked to chefs, designers, and kitchen appliance experts about what they recommend avoiding—and the stylish alternatives to consider instead.
Stainless steel appliances have dominated for decades. But you can say goodbye (and good riddance) to that special cleaning spray—this finicky finish has lost its luster. It’s susceptible to fingerprints, discoloration, and rust and is challenging to maintain, says Colin Chee, creator and creative director of Never Too Small, a media company dedicated to small-footprint design and author of Never Too Small: Vol. 2: Reinventing Small Space Living.
Alternatives: Panel-Ready or Color Appliances
Customized finishes: Panel-ready appliances, which have fronts that are designed to be covered with a custom cabinet door, seamlessly matching your cabinetry, are just one finish that’s taking the industry by storm. “We’re continuing to see a dynamic shift in kitchen aesthetics with consumers looking for customized finishes to reflect their personal style,” says Marc Hottenroth, executive director of industrial design at GE Appliances. GE’s CAFÉ brand, he adds, offers glass fronts, matte color palettes, and customizable options to meet that demand. “It allows customers to tailor to taste, rather than buying off the rack with mass offerings,” he explains.
Color stories: In addition to matte white and black, bold, dark hues, like emerald green appliances, are gaining ground. You can match appliances with cabinetry, 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 periphery.
Alternative: Statement Accents
Metals in demand: Rose gold may be bowing out, but other metals, including gold, brass, nickel, and oil-rubbed bronze, still rule in matte, satin, and brushed finishes. GE’s luxury appliance line, Monogram, for example, features a designer collection with sustainably sourced custom 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 monochromatic cabinetry and appliances for a cohesive look.
Attention-grabbers: “Color and unique metal finishes will continue to hold a bold presence in the kitchen into 2024 and beyond, as consumers want to maintain their desired style aesthetic with seamlessly matching hardware finishes across the kitchen,” says Anuszkiewicz.
Manufacturers and home cooks are beginning to rethink gas appliances. In addition to growing more expensive, gas releases fumes that can harm air quality and make clean-up difficult. “Some countries have taken steps or proposed plans to phase out gas appliances, including the Netherlands, the U.K., Australia, and certain parts of the U.S.,” says Chee. The focus has mostly been on stoves, but as part of a gas range, ovens are being reconsidered as well.
Alternative: Electric Wall Ovens
Less fluctuation: This appliance cooks more precisely than a gas iteration, which is a big reason why many cooks and bakers prefer them. Having a single or double oven set into the wall means you’ll never have to bend over to remove turkeys and other heavy dishes. And if you choose a double oven, you can cook different dishes at the same time.
Size matters: To make the most of your investment (and make any future updates simpler), opt for a 30-inch electric wall oven, suggests Ozkuzey. Some manufacturers are moving away from 27-inch options.
Traditional Electric Stovetops
“Electric coil stoves are out,” says Ozkuzey. Traditional electric burners do boil water faster than gas burners, but let’s face it: it’s a pain to scrape off burnt-on spills, they scratch easily, and you may inadvertently burn your hand on the coils. They’re also less energy efficient than induction stoves.
Alternative: Induction Cooktops
Smart and simple: “Induction cooktops are rising in popularity and gaining traction amongst novice and professional cooks by enabling them to create amazing, dynamic dishes with exceptional efficiency and ease,” says Hottenroth, noting that Monogram is expanding its line-up of professional ranges with 30-inch and 36-inch induction models. The high-end design and connected features, he adds, make induction appliances the centerpiece of your kitchen while helping to take the guesswork out of cooking.
Eco-friendly: Induction stovetops are fast, precise, and easy to clean—and they are often affordable, too. The Inflation Reduction Act, which went into effect in 2023, even provides funding for rebates to households that install new electric 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
Sub-Zero and KitchenAid are among the many top brands offering 48-inch French door models (more on those in a minute)—but a bank-vault-like fridge isn’t your only option, say our experts, nor is it always the most functional one for your family.
Alternative: Multiple Smaller Cooling Appliances
Small but mighty: Instead of one jumbo refrigerator, some industry pros suggest buying a full-size fridge supplemented by space-saving below-counter fridge/freezer drawers or beverage fridges. “Don’t be fooled by their size; the drawers can accommodate many items!” says Chee. He notes that you can even build a countertop on top of two separate bar-height or under-counter fridges and freezers, which expands the workspace of small kitchens.
Other pluses: Kids can grab drinks without getting in the cook’s way, and leftovers don’t get lost behind a barrage of condiments.
Neither cutting-edge nor practical, refrigerators with a single-door refrigerator and a freezer compartment on top (or drawer on the bottom) are taking a backseat to more functional, multi-door models.
Alternative: French Door Refrigerator
Pantry style: Many manufacturers offer models with French doors on top for the refrigerator and a freezer drawer on the bottom. You get more door space for condiments, plus fresh items are positioned at eye level. The door swing is also half as wide, which allows for more clearance if you have an island in front of it. Opening your fridge doors wide also feels luxurious, like throwing open the windows at 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
While they’re not exactly outdated, single-function small appliances like toasters and toaster ovens are making way for whiz-kid devices with greater functionality.
Small Multi-Purpose Appliances
Multiple functions: “Small countertop appliances equipped with full-size features continue to be popular,” says Hottenroth, pointing to multi-taskers like a GE Profile Smart Oven with No Preheat, which has 11 no-preheat cooking modes like air fry, roast, pastry, pizza, and high-heat temperatures.
Timesavers: “We expect to see these streamlined, compact appliances continue to propel the industry forward and cater to the on-the-go lifestyle of consumers,” he says.
The Kitchen Triangle
For eons, the triangle was the cornerstone of kitchen design, with straight lines between your sink, stove, and refrigerator. But yesterday’s solo home cook has been replaced with several family members prepping and hanging out in the kitchen, rendering the triangle obsolete.
Alternative: Islands with Cooking Zones
Elbow room: Open-concept kitchens, especially those boasting multi-functional islands with built-in appliances, like induction cooktops, allow for plenty of cooks in the kitchen, as well as extra counter space and multiple cooking zones.
Cooking zones: “When selecting an induction cooktop, opt for one with a variety of cooking zones in different sizes, including an extra-large zone, a flexi zone (enlarged to accommodate pans of any size), and a small cooking zone,” says Chee.