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Celebrating Twenty Years of Top Kitchen Appliance Trends

This summer, AjMadison is celebrating its twentieth anniversary. Over the years, there have been many kitchen appliance trends in kitchen and interior design. Although home chefs have constantly been honing their craft with time-tested cooking methods, new kitchen appliances are more high-tech than ever before.

Appliance Trends and Innovations

2002- Ovens with Advantium Technology

In 2001, GE introduced the first ovens to cook foods faster using a combination of halogen lights, microwave cooking, and convection baking. To this day, GE continues to perfect this technology in its Profile, Cafe, and Monogram collections with the ultimate multitasking 5-in-1 ovens. These ovens cook food four times faster than conventional ovens and can be used as a convection oven, toaster oven, warming oven, precision cook oven, and microwave.

2003 - Warming Drawers

Warming drawers gained popularity in the early 2000s and to this day are a staple for busy families and entertainers alike. Back in the day, many customers opted for stainless steel warming drawers and would place them in a cutout underneath a double oven.

Today warming drawers can be found in many innovative locations throughout the home. Cover the front with a custom cabinet panel and your warming appliance can blend seamlessly into the bathroom vanity for warm towels and robes. Warming drawers are a common addition to outdoor kitchens and poolside oases.

2004 - Pro Ranges for Home Use

Adding a pro stove to the kitchen was a point of pride for many families in the early 2000s. Brands like Viking, Thermador, and Dacor (to name a few) were competing to design the industry's best industrial-inspired range. Dual fuel ranges in particular were considered the best as they combined the power of gas burners with the precision of electric powered ovens.

To this day, large pro ranges are still a top choice for luxury kitchen consumers. Where in the past brands were competing for the hottest burners and largest capacity ovens, today manufacturers are innovating new features like a steam oven, a speed oven, induction, wi-fi connectivity, or even sous vide modes modernizes these still-very-popular luxury items.

2005 - Microwave Drawers

Microwaves are the most complicated appliance to add to a kitchen design. Traditionally, microwaves are bulky, unattractive, and have many installation challenges. Sharp introduced the microwave drawer in 2005, offering an easy and attractive way to add a microwave under the counter, tucked out of sight. Today, almost every upscale brand offers a microwave drawer.

Using a microwave drawer is easy. Simply tap the open button, and the drawer will pop forward. Instead of a traditional turntable, the magnetron rotates above the food for even cooking. Some microwave drawers sold today are available for flush inset installation.

2006 - Dishwasher Drawers

The theme of everything in a drawer continues, Fisher and Paykel's dishwasher drawers became popular toward the middle of the 2000s decade. Offered as single, double, and tall-tub models, designers loved them for their versatility and unique aesthetic. Today dishwasher drawers are still a top choice among design enthusiasts, eco-friendly consumers, and busy families.

2007 - Glass Door Refrigerators

Glass door fridges can look incredible, especially if you have the means and motivation to keep the shelves clean and beautiful over time. While popular on wine coolers and under-counter beverage centers, glass door fridges were once a popular choice for full-size kitchen refrigerators. Still available today, these fridges are recommended for lower traffic areas of the home, a wet bar area, a show kitchen, or even in a dressing room for upscale cosmetics. Unless you want to invest in beautiful containers, we recommend storing leftovers and messy items in a different fridge.

2008 - Island-Mount Cooktops

Cooking can be a social activity. Placing your cooktop on an island or peninsula is a great way to prepare meals and stay part of the action. Although still, an option in many kitchen layouts, venting an island-mount cooktop can be a challenge. To vent an island cooktop, you will want to consider a downdraft vent or an island vent hood. Fortunately, selecting an attractive vent hood is easier and more fun than ever before!

2009 - Combination Microwave Wall Ovens

Before the combination oven, if you wanted a wall oven, your choices were single or double. Double ovens are a fantastic choice, but combination ovens provide more versatility in a single cabinet cutout if you don't need all that oven capacity. If you love the look of a double wall oven yet only need one big oven, consider a combi oven. These units combine an oven plus another appliance. Microwaves were initially the only choice - however, today, you can find combination ovens with speed cooking, convection baking, and combination steam and convection options.

2010 - Washing Machines with a Fast Wash Cycle

Imagine you are trying to get your kids ready in the morning for picture day. Unfortunately, your kid's favorite shirt is in the bottom of the hamper. Electrolux introduced a washer dryer set with 15-minute washing and 15-minute drying cycles -- perfect for moments when you need to get an item clean and dry on the fly. Today fast laundry cycles are a top priority for consumers. Having the ability to quickly clean works best for small loads, yet is a gamechanger.

2011 - Chimney-Style Range Hoods

Chimney-style hoods are a great choice for most kitchen designs. Add a backsplash behind the stove and a chimney-style hood becomes an attractive focal attraction. This style of hood can be easily vented or recirculated depending on a client's needs. They are also cost savings, in a way, as the customer does not need to invest in cabinets above the stove. Today, chimney hoods are still a top choice.
Frigidaire was the first brand to offer a full suite of kitchen appliances with a coated stainless steel finish. These appliances were designed with easy cleaning in mind - and no more pesky fingerprints! Simply wipe splatter and spills off the appliances down with a gentle microfiber cloth. Today you can find a wide variety of fingerprint-proof appliances.

2013 - All-Refrigerator and All-Freezer Columns

Columns were a gamechanger in upscale refrigeration. These all-refrigerator, all-freezer, and wine storage towers can be mixed and matched to fit your food storage needs and kitchen layout. The best part is their modularity made it possible for crews to deliver and assemble large refrigerators on-site without having to lift a gigantic side-by-side model into the kitchen. Columns are the top choice for high-end fridges today. You can find models with internal water dispensers, ice makers, and stainless steel interiors.

2014 - Horizontal Wall Oven Installations

The best thing about wall ovens is you can install them at any height. Accessing your oven at waist level is great, especially if you suffer from back sensitivity. Up until 2014, most wall ovens were installed in a vertical pantry cabinet. Stacking ovens vertically can be a space saver, but no oven in the stack could truly be at the perfect height.

The horizontal wall oven trend began in Europe and spread to North America. Today, the best way to get multiple wall ovens at the perfect height is a horizontal installation. For more versatility, add a steam oven, a microwave, and even a built-in coffee maker to this horizontal design.

2015 - 2-In-1 Washing Machines

Appliance manufacturers have been working to find innovative ways to help consumers get through laundry day faster. Around this time 2-in-1 washing machines were introduced. Imagine you have a full load of laundry, but only 2 white shirts. Instead of waiting for a full load of whites, simply place the white shirts in your secondary washer and clean everything at the same time.

Select LG front-loading washers are available with the SideKick Pedestal Washer. The washer pedestal has two jobs, 1 - to raise the height of the washing machine for easy access, and 2 - to serve as a mini secondary washer. Samsung introduced a 2-in-1 washing machine, but this time the Flex washer is on top of the appliance.

2016 - Family Hub Refrigerator

The Samsung Family Hub refrigerator incorporates a large tablet on the front of the fridge that can do everything including online orders, tracking family schedules, recipe recommendations, and live streaming media. The technology has certainly evolved since 2016, and to this day, the Family Hub is one of the most advanced smart fridges on the market. We love that you can even track ingredients in the fridge to reduce food waste!

2017 - Refrigerators with Convertible Zones

For most families, our need for fresh and frozen food space changes over time. Having a fridge with a flexible compartment is great because whether it's soft drinks, deli meats, or ice cream cake, having a fridge that can adjust to meet your needs is the ultimate convenience. Several brands including Frigidaire, Samsung, and Fisher and Paykel (to name a few) offer convertible fridge-to-freezer storage.

2018 - Kitchen Hub

Wi-fi-connected smart homes are more popular than ever before. The Kitchen Hub is the first-of-its-kind appliance that serves as a ventilation hood, media center, and cooking assistant in one. Dual cameras make it easy to live stream your favorite recipe and video chat with friends from afar. Future versions of this product will soon incorporate an over-the-range microwave for even more flexibility.
Frigidaire was the first brand to introduce ranges and ovens with an air fry mode. Many brands followed suit, including Samsung, LG, GE, Cafe, and Monogram. Air frying using a super-fast convection baking mode to deliver a crispy delicious texture without adding extra oils and fats. With air fry, you can enjoy your favorite snacks with 80-percent-less guilt.

2020 - Outdoor Kitchens

In 2020, many families quarantining at home directed resources to lingering home improvement projects. As outdoor living and dining became the new normal, homeowners were seeking creative ways to expand their living space. Instead of just adding a grill to the backyard, many people chose to build permanent structures housing a wide variety of outdoor cooking and entertaining appliances to spark joy during an otherwise challenging time. Outdoor wine coolers, pizza ovens, and fire pits are among the top selections.

2021 - Bespoke Refrigeration

This year, Samsung released the Bespoke refrigerator collection. This affordable modular refrigerator collection includes 4-door, bottom freezer, and all-refrigerator styles that can be combined to meet your needs and design preferences. Select from a curated set of color panels - if you change your mind in the future, simply order a new color. We expect to see more modular appliances as well as custom colors in the future.