As kitchen designers, we understand how our client’s functional needs and their aesthetic desires influences the design of their kitchens.

But there are underlying factors that are influencing us and our clients.

Many factors come into play that shape current trends and influence what people want in their kitchens.

These factors can include politics, economics, and world affairs.

Understanding these influences will allow kitchen designers to develop designs that meet all their clients conscious and subconscious needs.


The design of a kitchen is a reflection of the social and cultural context of a particular time period.

Throughout history, politics has played a significant role in shaping the way kitchens are designed and used.

This is because political and economic developments often have a direct impact on how people live, work, and eat.

Let’s look at some political influences of the past that affected kitchen design.

The Space Race
Space age kitchen design

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union had a significant impact on kitchen design.

The Cold War era saw the rise of a new consumer culture, where people wanted modern and futuristic designs that were inspired by the space age.

This led to the creation of kitchens that were sleek and streamlined, with stainless steel appliances and minimalist designs.

The Feminist Movement
Kitchen from the 1970's

The feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s had a profound impact on kitchen design.

As women started to enter the workforce in greater numbers, they demanded kitchens that were more functional and easier to clean.

This led to the development of modular kitchens, with easy-to-clean surfaces and built-in appliances.

Additionally, the rise of the open-plan kitchen, which allowed for more interaction between family members, was a direct result of the feminist movement.

Kitchen with herb garden

In recent years, environmentalism has become a major political issue, and this has had a significant impact on kitchen design.

With a greater emphasis on sustainability and energy efficiency, kitchens are now being designed with environmentally-friendly materials and appliances.

Additionally, the trend towards local and organic food has led to the creation of kitchen gardens and indoor herb gardens, which are becoming increasingly popular.

Additional Political Influences
Under cabinet LED lights

Building codes and environmental regulations can influence the materials and appliances used in kitchens.

We have seen how stricter regulations on energy efficiency have led to the rise of energy-saving appliances and LED lighting in kitchens.

Even something like government tariffs can influence materials used by kitchen designers.


Economics plays a significant role in shaping kitchen design, as the design and functionality of a kitchen is often influenced by the economic factors that surround it.

When times are good, people tend to invest in high-end materials and appliances for their kitchens.

On the other hand, when times are tough, people tend to focus on practicality and functionality rather than luxury.

Modern affordable kitchen design

One of the most significant economic factors that affect kitchen design is affordability.

Kitchen design and renovation can be expensive, and as such, affordability is an essential consideration when it comes to designing a kitchen.

In response to this, kitchen designers often consider materials, appliances, and fixtures that are affordable, yet still offer good quality.

Consumer Demand
Kitchen island prep

Consumer demand is another critical economic factor that affects kitchen design.

We saw this during the COVID 19 pandemic.

By the end of 2020 there was an increase in demand for new kitchens based on people spending much more time in their homes.

For the next few years the kitchen industry saw long lead times and price increases based on such high consumer demand.

In some cases consumers and designers had to compromise on features and the overall look of the new kitchen based on availability of products.

Real Estate Value
Island clean up zone
Kitchen viewed from pantry

Real estate value is also an essential economic factor that affects kitchen design.

Kitchens can significantly impact the value of a property.

A well-designed kitchen with modern appliances and fixtures can increase the value of a home, making it a worthwhile investment for homeowners.

As such, kitchen designers often consider the resale value of a property when designing a kitchen, ensuring that it meets the needs of potential buyers and adds value to the property.

Innovation and Technology
Using tech in the kitchen

Innovation and technology are also essential economic factors that affect kitchen design.

The development of new technologies and appliances has had a significant impact on the design of kitchens.

For example, the introduction of the microwave oven in the 1960s led to the creation of smaller and more compact kitchens.

Today “smart appliances” are changing how we cook by providing things like easy access to recipes, allowing more experimentation in the kitchen.

Economics plays a significant role in shaping kitchen design.

Affordability, consumer demand, real estate value and innovation and technology are all essential economic factors that influence the design and functionality of kitchens.

As the economy continues to evolve, it is likely that kitchen design will continue to adapt to meet the changing needs of consumers and the market.

World Affairs

World affairs can also play a role in kitchen design trends.

Health and Wellness
Natural materials in a kitchen design

For example, the rise of the health and wellness movement has influenced the trend towards organic, locally sourced food and the use of natural materials in kitchen design.

Similarly, the growing concern over climate change has led to a push towards sustainable materials and energy-efficient appliances.

Back kitchen

In recent years, globalization and cultural exchange have had a significant impact on kitchen design.

As people become more interested in international cuisine and cultural traditions, kitchen designers have responded by creating designs that are more diverse and inclusive.

For example, kitchens are now being designed to accommodate the preparation of foods from different cultures, with specialized appliances and storage solutions.

The popularity of the “Spice Kitchen” that provides an additional smaller kitchen behind the main kitchen for prep of more pungent dishes is another example of this.

Kitchen design trends are influenced by a wide range of factors, from politics to economics to world affairs.

As designers, it’s important to stay aware of these factors and how they might shape the preferences of your clients.

By understanding the underlying forces behind current trends, we can create kitchens that not only look beautiful but also reflect the values and aspirations of our clients.

Is there something that you feel has influenced one of your kitchen designs that can be traced back to Politics, Economics or World Affairs?

Let me know about it in the comments section below.

Jan Rutgers B.Sc. H. Ec.

Jan Rutgers has been designing for over 25 years. Developing functional layouts for every area of the home is her passion. She has designed more than 1000 kitchens in her career, learning valuable skills with each one! Her experience in Kitchen Design, Millwork Manufacturing and Product Development has led her to create VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN where she educates and mentors people passionate about the Kitchen Design Industry.

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