Now that the coronavirus pandemic is finally (if fitfully) winding down, there is plenty of pent-up demand for certain home improvements — especially when it comes to the kitchen. The 2022 Houzz U.S. Kitchen Trends Study reveals that major kitchen remodels — which involve adding new home appliances — are up 14% from the previous year. And kitchen appliances are the second most common feature that homeowners splurge on when they renovate.

So what is trending in kitchen home appliances? Tech and hygiene both play a big role, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s (NKBA) 2022 Design Trends report. “Consumers are more eager to embrace new technologies, innovative ways to provide multi-functional options to maximize their space to fit any occasion and are opting for surfaces and designs that make it easier to clean, as well as address health and wellness,” noted NKBA CEO Bill Darcy in a statement accompanying the report’s release.

Considering the changing consumer tastes, the following trends in new home appliances have crept into 2022’s kitchen design shows and, soon enough, your home.

Appliance-makers highlight hygiene

The pandemic has caused the public to be more conscious of germs, transmission and health overall. Appliance manufacturers have been working on ways to provide a cleaner, healthier experience in the home kitchen. Expect to see more anti-microbial surfaces and appliances such as the GE Profile UltraFresh System™ dishwasher with Microban® antimicrobial technology. It sanitizes dishes, of course — but also reduces the growth of bacteria in and on the appliance itself.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) has been working over the past 18 months on a new clean-air standard, AHAM-AC-5-2022, to measure the rate at which devices can sanitize illness-causing viruses, such as COVID-19. It’s the first time a standard was created for microbiological pollutants and may become part of an appliance’s spec sheet in the future. Already, some devices, such as the Falmec line of air-purifying range hoods, include integrated carbon filters for extra purity.

Now that everyone has learned to keep hands and surfaces clean, the traditional appliance surface or door knob may go the way of the dodo. Swipe controls found in Dacor’s induction cooktops make it possible to wipe down all surfaces without missing any nooks or crannies.

Appliances help you eat healthier

Steam has played a big part in sanitizing the world in the last couple of years, and of course in cooking foods for a couple of centuries — on stovetops, that is. But if you have not heard of the steam oven, you will soon enough. They work by siphoning water from a small water tank or canister into a built-in boiler, heating it to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, and releasing the steam into the oven. Advocates say it cooks foods faster than convection’s dry air does, mitigates the need for oils or fats, and preserves juiciness and nutrients. Plus, the same steam feature can effortlessly clean the appliance itself when it’s done cooking.

A couple of models worth exploring are Fisher & Paykel’s Combination Steam Oven and Dacor’s 48″ dual-fuel version. Add Hauslane’s under-cabinet range hood. It has a steam-clean feature that cuts through and sanitizes the stubborn grease that collects on most hoods.

Lastly, keeping foods fresh has been a pursuit during the pandemic, as people sought to stock up or spend less time in crowded supermarkets. Appliance manufacturers are sending help, via built-in vacuum sealers that extend the lifespan of foodstuffs. Wolf just introduced a vacuum seal drawer that saves counter space by integrating seamlessly into your cabinets. should keep your foods safe and fresher longer.

Refrigerators are becoming refreshment/entertainment stations

Families that work and study at home need to get creative with their living spaces. Coffee, snack and refreshment stations became more popular as new spots to take a break around the house. This has led to an explosion of stylish beverage refrigerators that supplement the main fridge, designed to fit in a homework room, home office or other area away from the kitchen.

The coolest styles have glass doors so you can see what’s inside. The Comfee 115-120 Can Beverage Refrigerator is one of Amazon’s best sellers. It’s similar to a vending machine, but you can help yourself without the need for spare change.

As for regular fridges, they’re now turning into entertainment centers. Coming to a kitchen near you in 2022: the Samsung Family Hub, which supports Samsung TV Plus. That’s right, you will be able to view videos for free, stream music, and display photos. SmartThings software will also be embedded and work alongside internal cameras that monitor expiration dates and the condition of the food in the fridge. You can even see the inside of the refrigerator without opening the door.

Shades of steel are the desired look

Design-wise, heavy metal still rules. Stainless steel remains the most popular finish for kitchen appliances. The Houzz kitchen-trends survey found that nearly three-quarters (74%) of homeowners choose stainless, a three-point increase in 2022 compared with 2021.However, there are innovations to the traditional silvery tone. For example, Jennair’s new steel finishes, called Rise and Noir, highlight darker hues reminiscent of metallic slate or black, and lacy or geometric textures.

Appliances are smarter, faster, and more versatile

The connected kitchen continues to grow in availability and popularity. According to the Houzz kitchen-trends survey, 35 percent of renovating homeowners report that at least one of their upgraded appliances includes high-tech/smart features.

Some of the big hits during the January 2022 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) include:

  • Smart microwaves: LG’s InstaView® Over-the-Range Microwave Oven integrates with the LG ThinQ™ Recipe service. You can find, plan and order recipe ingredients by connecting the smart microwave to Walmart or Amazon Fresh. The microwave knows how to follow a recipe with minimal input. It even integrates steam to ensure the dishes are moist.
  • Faster gizmos: The Graphene Kitchen Styler is a new appliance that can cook food on graphene, a high-tech material (a graphite derivative) that heats up to 200 degrees Celsius in 90 seconds or less. It’ll be able to make toast in no time, as well as cook meats and boil water.
  • Easier access: The LG Instaview Double Oven uses special tech that allows you to watch your food cooking inside — whether you’re roasting, air frying, or using sous-vide — simply by tapping on the extra-wide glass window a couple of times.
  • Multiple cooking methods: A combination toaster/convection oven? That’s so 2010. Breville’s Joule Oven Air Fryer Pro is a countertop that offers 13 different ways to prepare meals, can be set with voice commands, and pairs with an app that displays video recipes.