European Kitchen Furniture is the solution for current and future kitchen designs
The pandemic altered the way we interact with the spaces where we live – likely forever. Some rooms got a lot more attention when people stayed home, and the kitchen’s a prime example.
There are surveys packed with data points that tell the story. Example: According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (or NKBA, the industry organization that represents everyone from cabinet designers to faucet makers), 50% of all respondents to their polls plan on doing more cooking at home – even after the lockdowns and quarantines become a bad memory. This has led to an absolute boom in kitchen construction: new builds and remodels are up by 20.4% in 2021 – making the grand total spent on the North American kitchen projected to top 80 billion dollars by year’s end.
So where’s that time and money going?
The quick answer: Into contemporary looks.
DEFINING THE STYLE: EUROPEAN KITCHEN FURNITURE
Bill Speights, nobilia North America’s senior vice-president, has some stats of his own that are pretty eye-opening. “There’s been a complete flip in the last five years,” he says. “As recently as 2016, traditional cabinet styles were 65-75% of the market – now contemporary looks are far and away the top draw.” That contemporary aesthetic is precisely what nobilia does best: Making European Kitchen Furniture with clean, neat lines. (You’ll note we’re calling it “furniture” – not cabinets. That’s because these products are not necessarily permanent fixtures in a kitchen build. Often, in Europe, buyers and renters take their cabinets and counters with them when they move.)
“It looks elegant – and the US is following Europe and adopting the vibe,” says Speights. “Europeans generally live in smaller spaces — they do more with less.” Since the square footage of the modern U.S. home is shrinking, that means that kitchen designs that are small and efficient become critical.
“European Kitchen Furniture represents a stylish frugality,” says Speights.
That “stylish frugality” is about more than looks. As the pandemic focused more attention on the kitchen as a multi-purpose part of the home (for cooking, gathering, even remote work and e-learning), homeowners realized that features such as storage had to be well thought-out “It’s critical as more and more people cook and need ingredients and tools at their disposal,” notes Speights. Additionally, easy to clean, functional spaces for many uses are in big demand across the board after the pandemic, according to the NKBA. And one more benefit of the specific kind of European solutions nobilia provides: “Movable,” flexible, kitchen furniture opens options for a changeable kitchen as family’s needs evolve.
There’s another aspect of “functionality” that’s critical – and has gained more attention in the past few years. “We hear about ‘wellness’ – that’s where the right ergonomics make a big difference,” says Speights. “When you have motorized assists opening and closing doors, when you have storage options at proper height for easy access, when you have different surfaces at different levels – countertops, sinks, and cooktops at proper height for various tasks – that makes for a truly ‘human-centric’ experience.”
Lighting is key, too – and it’s one thing that many, many kitchen designs don’t get right. With nobilia’s built-in options, one can set mood and make tasks and cleaning easier with the proper lighting solutions — from under and in-cabinet to in-drawer illuminations and dimmable, color-shifting features.
The NKBA’s research goes beyond style and function: The association notes that more and more consumers are interested in green practices. European manufacturers like nobilia are a leader in this regard. “Efficient and well-engineered European cabinets are usually of better quality than US-made frameless cabinets,” says Speights. “And the manufacturing process we use means fewer cuts — fewer wasted materials.”
In addition to their other accolades, “nobilia is the first ever kitchen manufacturer certified in accordance with the PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes),” as noted by the company. “Since the derived timber products processed all come from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources, forest certification provides the guarantee that the wood products that consumers purchase are not coming from questionable sources nor from overexploitation, but come from managed, semi-natural forests.”
Finally, the current labor crunch in the construction industry has exposed a need for quicker, simple installations of kitchen components – a hallmark of furniture like nobilia. The process is simple: It’s engineered, delivered, hung on the wall. Because overseas relocation has long meant “taking your kitchen with you,” that also means a lower level of skill was needed to install or move these cabinets and components. “It’s not a DIY process,” says Speights, “But a worker with some skills with a tape measure and level can handle it. Since you don’t need a master carpenter, that broadens your labor pool.
“In fact, most nobilia kitchens take 20% less time to install.”