Tobi Fairley is a Thermador brand partner.

It’s hard to believe that we’re heading into the last few months of 2015, but now is a great time to look ahead at trends heading our way for 2016! As an interior designer, I’m able to see what’s coming in product ideas and new materials, and I understand what people really want in their kitchens, which helps me stay ahead of the trend curve.

Function is probably the key word for kitchens in 2016 – that’s what any real cook wants, and it’s what appliance, cabinetry and fittings vendors are focusing on as well. Here’s a look at that trend and nine more that I think will be important next year:

  1. Personalized Functionality

Today’s culinary enthusiasts want the heart of their home to be more than a beautiful space where they cook – they want and need the kitchen to reflect how they cook: in the number of appliances, the layout of the space, and the overall design style. There will be functional cabinets that fit exactly what the cook needs, such as baking ingredients in bins in a drawer by the oven, pull-out toe-kicks under lower cabinets to take advantage of every space, and pull-out shelving. Thermador is ahead of the curve on this one with its Freedom Collection culinary preservation line of fresh food, freezer and wine columns that enable designers to select placement based on the client’s cooking and entertaining preferences, and to add additional columns to accommodate the need for more freezer, refrigeration or wine storage space.

  1. Multiple Appliances

I’ve been putting double dishwashers into my clients’ homes for years, but this is finally becoming a more mainstream trend. We’ll also start to see more cooks with two ovens, two refrigerators or more for those who entertain frequently, and other supplementary appliances.

  1. Fewer Tables, More Islands

The kitchen table is being replaced. That doesn’t mean that people won’t gather in the kitchen, but in the future they will just be closer to the action as islands replace tables. The newer islands have work surfaces on one side, seating on the other and storage all the way around!


  1. Full Steam Ahead

Remember when I said there would be multiple appliances in the kitchen? The steam oven will have to be one of those in my newly remodeled kitchen! Steam ovens give culinary enthusiasts the ability to cook in a healthier way. They also reduce cooking times, intensify flavors, and are also perfect for reheating because they don’t dry the food out as it heats. Thermador is the only brand to offer three steam and convection oven design options: The Professional Series Built-In Steam and Convection Oven, the Masterpiece Series Built-In Steam and Convection Oven, and the Pro Grand Steam Range. This is really the trend to watch for 2016.

  1. Great Outdoors

Yes, outdoor kitchens have been around for a while, but now they are really hitting the mainstream. These kitchens are fully functional, with running water, refrigeration, islands and bars, and so much more. It’s the ultimate in outdoor entertaining.


  1. Wood Counters

Countertop materials run the gamut from marble, to quartz, to soapstone, to metal. And wood countertops are coming back again in 2016. People love the ability to use them as strong work surfaces, as well as providing a more organic or natural look for the kitchen.


  1. Wine Refrigerators

As wine appreciation becomes a more approachable and popular venture, more real cooks want to protect and correctly preserve their favorite varietals and vintages. Specialized refrigerators just for wine will really hit their stride in 2016. The Thermador Wine Preservation Columns enable collections to be stored at the ideal temperature. Two independent wine zones are available to preserve whites and reds at their own appropriate temperatures, allowing the culinary enthusiast to ensure every bottle poured at every gathering will taste its finest.

  1. Sleeker Design

More modern designs and sleeker cabinets are becoming increasingly popular in kitchens, no matter the age of the homeowner. These kitchens look clean and uncluttered, and that will be a big trend as we move into 2016.


  1. Everybody Counts

Kitchen design is also becoming more thoughtful, with the needs of every occupant considered in 2016. That includes elderly parents living with their adult children who may need wall ovens to save their backs from bending over to place items in the appliance. To accommodate young children who want to cook with their parents, the fabrics on the stools may be vinylized for easier cleanup. Kitchen design even accommodates the pets in the home, who need food storage, feeding stations, and a hideaway for their beds in the heart of the home. Below is a “dog station” that I’m adding to my own new kitchen!Dog Station

  1. Tech Time

There is more technology in our lives, and we’ll only see even more of that in the kitchen. TVs are almost a must-have in today’s kitchens, as are docking stations for phones, tablets and other devices. Appliances are also becoming more high-tech, like the Thermador Star-Sapphire Dishwasher. It offers a Time Remaining PowerBeam that shines the remaining cycle time on the floor because the dishwasher is so quiet. Otherwise, you might not know it’s even on!

Keep an eye out for these trends in kitchens in 2016!