The Kitchen of the Not-Too-Distant Future

A door-less fridge, a combined dishwasher and cabinet, and 3 predictions for how we’ll outfit our kitchens in the near future.

With our crystal ball, aka Google, we scoured the web for kitchen trends and appliance prototypes. The result: A fridge that won’t let food spoil; a dishwasher that doesn’t use soap; and, if we’re really lucky, a robot to do our bidding.

Bottom line: Our kitchens will soon combine good old-fashioned practicality with Jetsons-style efficiency. Check out our three predictions and leave a comment in the comment field if you think we missed anything.

Plus, see videos from our not-too-distant past envisioning today’s kitchen. Did those visionaries get it right?

Prediction 1: Souped-up kitchen appliances

Kitchen gadgets will totally have our backs. That includes remembering our preferences, improving our cooking skills, plus taking over laborious tasks.

To get a glimpse of where our appliances and gizmos are headed, we checked out this year’s finalists for the Electrolux Design Lab competition. In case you don’t know, it’s a global awards event held by the household appliance company.

Memory coffeemaker

This appliance is like your own personal barista. It uses hand-print recognition technology to remember how you like your cup of Joe brewed. The only drawback with this idea is that you still have to get up to get your cup of coffee.


Here’s an idea that reinvents the icebox by removing the door so edibles are out in the open. This prevents food from spoiling because it was forgotten. Plus, it knows if a container is half empty and chills it accordingly, so something like this can really make a dent in your energy bill. The only problem: Where will we put our magnet collections?


This magic wand automatically stirs the stuff you have cooking on your stovetop so that your hands are free for important stuff, like texting or Instagram-ing.

FYI, the Electrolux Design Lab winner will be announced on Oct. 25, 2012.

Kitchen time capsule

Did the kitchen predictions of 70 years ago come true? This video spotlights retro-futuristic thinking machines, such as toasters, electric kettles, and an automated Fido feeder.

Prediction 2: Kitchen spaces as double-duty places

Next-generation kitchens will be getting bigger — and smaller.

According to the International Furnishings and Design Association, some kitchens will expand in size to absorb the dining room and maybe even the living room. Who uses living rooms as living rooms anymore, anyway?

Micro abodes will sport tiny kitchens that play multiple room roles, too. But in this case, kitchen stuff will have to become completely invisible when not in use.

Either way, every inch of kitchen space will need to be cleverly maximized to allow space for multi-room functions.

Appliances will perform double duty

Large kitchens will include double-duty appliances like the DualWash Bipartite Dishwasher. It’s an eco-friendly space maximizer that uses carbon dioxide instead of hot sudsy water to scrub dishes clean. Plus, it doubles as a cabinet, so you never have to put the dishes away. 

Kitchens in a box

For smaller homes, kitchens will get compact and portable, so they can cleverly disappear. Foldable and mobile units, like the Stewart & Justin Case, combine kitchen essentials in a container the size of a small cabinet: Just open to expose a kitchen table, sink, dishes, and more.

A similar idea just won this year’s Red Dot Award. The Miniki Mini Kitchen hangs easily on a wall. Close the cabinet doors and volia: it’s a credenza.

Kitchen time capsule

If some of these kitchen ideas seem like nonsense, this video provides perspective. GE had to pitch Americans on the idea of using electric appliances:

Prediction 3: Greener kitchens

Kitchens will be designed to reduce our carbon footprint by being more self-sufficient and incorporating surprising materials.

Kitchen gardens

We all know about the grow-your-own-food trend, but gardening isn’t just an outdoor pastime any more.

Compact hydroponic garden systems, like The Urban Cultivator, which you can use inside, are available now; appliances like these will become more compact in the future as well as more affordable.

Our favorite prototype is the Green Wheel, an indoor hydroponic system based on a NASA design that provides a constant supply of fresh greens for salads and cooking.

Paper kitchens

Kitchens with granite, tile, and Formica? How passé! The material du jour will be recycled paper, which is far more earth-friendly. A few homes and businesses already use recycled paper cabinets, tables, and even cutting boards. These items were made from a material called Paper Stone, a sustainable, layered composite surface.

Kitchen time capsule

In 1967, no one was thinking about sustainability. This film clip imagines the kitchen as a fast-food restaurant. No fresh food here; it’s frozen and heated in the microwave. Plus, it’s all served on disposable dishware. But, they kind of got the computer thing right.

Hey, what about robots?

It’s not a discussion of the future without a mention of robots. I think we’ll eventually get our very own Rosie-bots: Somewhere in Germany, there are two tin roommates that can make breakfast and even go grocery shopping.

What do you think our next generation of kitchens will feature?