Paint by numbers

18 Jul, 14

As painted kitchen sales accelerate, Philippa Turrell says grab a share of the market

While gloss furniture has long been a staple sale for kitchen retail showrooms, behind the scenes has been a growing trend for painted finishes. What was a style previously-only  associated only with the luxury handmade furniture market, and the Aga-inspired lifestyle, has now been adopted across the board. Painted furniture is at much at home, and therefore as much as a must-have look, in contemporary style kitchens, as well as more classic styles. In fact, such is the popularity of the painted kitchen, it is now reported to be anywhere on a scale of between 20-40% of furniture manufacturers’ volume sales. And there seems to be no sign of the demand for painted finishes waning, in fact experts suggest sales are even accelerating. 

Earthy paint palette

But what is the painted colour that is the key look for consumers?  Perhaps unsurprisingly, and just like its gloss counterparts, neutral and earthy palettes are key for painted furniture looks. But these can span warm to cool, light to dark. Interestingly, industry experts have come up with two reasons between the split between lighter and darker tones, citing white and cream for mid-market and period style colours at the top-end. Or designers can work with the two creating statement areas in a kitchen.

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While coloured stock doors are undoubtedly the most popular type of painted furniture, there has been a move towards primed versions, allowing consumers to choose their own paint. Although this is still a small market, some manufacturers have extended their ready to paint ranges.

Available across market

Arguably, one of the greatest reasons for the uplift in painted kitchen sales, has been the availability of the look across price points. While the luxury end of the market has retained the prestige of painted finishes on timber in-frame solid or veneered door, there has been a new generation of painted foils, for clients whose budget won’t stretch to the top-end. 

Paint stays popular

But are painted kitchens just a passing fad? Much has been written about consumers harking back to more classical designs when faced with the uncertainty of recession and some may argue this trend is simply a conscious move by manufacturers to spur sales. In reality, then, will paint ever really make a mark in gloss sales? Certainly manufacturers have been keen to introduce painted kitchen collections. 

Industry experts all seem to agree the market for painted furniture will continue to grow and it is believed the way consumers now decorate their home, looking at to co-ordinate interiors, which be an impetus for the kitchen trend. But it has been suggested the growth in painted kitchen furniture will run alongside, as opposed to at the expense of, high gloss sales. 

The full article first appeared in the July/August 2014 issue of Kitchens & Bathrooms News.