Trends related to our homes and our food are changing.  Here is the 3rd part of an iVillage discussion with three home and food experts that will surely keep us buzzing about next year.

Appliance-Trends Expert Predicts: More Opportunities to Customize

As editor in chief of Home Appliance Magazine and Appliance.com, Diane Ritchey spends her days perusing the latest innovations and styles in home appliances. For the last eight years, she has reviewed and reported on industry designs and trends. Diane says appliance innovation in 2007 will give us more flexibility in creating living spaces.

iVillage: How will appliance innovations affect us in 2007?

Ritchey: Appliance innovations will allow people to customize their kitchens more. The refrigerator/freezer is the only major appliance that has not been tweaked much, in terms of design. Refrigerator/freezer columns don’t need to be side-by-side or on top of each other. Appliances in drawers, like refrigerator drawers in a center island, are convenient for storing vegetables or water and soda. Dishwasher drawers are nice because you don’t have to bend over, and they have functions for cleaning special dishware like wineglasses and cutlery.

iVillage: Will cooking at home be altered by appliance trends?

oven

Ritchey: Induction cooktops have long been popular in Europe and in restaurants, and I think they will finally start catching on in the United States as consumers become more educated. Induction cooking is faster, safer and easier. The induction cooktop never gets hot to the touch, and it boils water much faster than gas or electric. It’s not just for professional cooks either. I also foresee steam ovens becoming more popular. Cooking with steam keeps the flavor, moisture and nutrients in the food.

iVillage: What other rooms will welcome appliance advances?

Ritchey: Laundry rooms will be the trend center of dry cleaning at home. Whirlpool’s Fabric Freshener takes the odors of out of clothes and freshens them up. You’ll have fewer trips to the dry cleaners, plus it’s easy to use and store. If ironing is a must, try the horizontal iron by Oliso. It practically irons by itself.

iVillage: Are there product trends that excite you?

Ritchey: I really like the small tea makers that are coming out and some of the products that help people entertain, like this gadget (Isi — Whip It Up) that helps make dessert toppings. I’m also excited about vintage-style appliances. They allow consumers to make a statement and get away from the traditional boxy-looking appliances.

Photo: Induction cooktop available at iVillage shopping.