Kitchen confidential: Top 8 new trends
I think I can lay claim to the pokiest, least attractive, most ‘retro’ (otherwise known as Seventies) kitchen in Buckinghamshire, replete with a bottom of the range Beko oven that seems to only cook on one side. To say I have kitchen envy when I visit friends’ houses is something of an understatement.
But I don’t let small inconveniences like chronic lack of funds get in the way of plans, so I’ve researched the hottest new trends to help maximise your space, increase the value or up the cool quotient in your kitchen .
Thanks to Jim at the brilliant Oxfordshire-based J&S House of Design for his help. I’ll be visiting your Kingston Bagpuize showroom to waste your time with my fantasist plans in the very near future!
TOP TRENDS FOR KITCHENS
Neutral and warm palettes
Greys are strong at the moment which is why people love polished concrete floors. Soft greens are popular too but it really depends on the cycle of your kitchen – the kitchen you won’t be in forever is the one that is the most tasteful because you might have to sell it! The house you think you’ll stay in forever is the one that we see with more flourishes – a bright red flashback, a statement piece on the island.
Mix it up
Even those on small budgets recognise now that it looks better to have a mixture of textures in a kitchen – timber or laminate alternative on an island, a tactile laminate, two tone shades, industrial meets traditional.
An island is still the sign of an affluent kitchen – it’s highest on the wish list with most clients. Trends for islands is to get bigger and bigger, and we now build more and more things into them – they can be odd shapes, double as a table, have circular inserts at one end, be used for shelving. If you have the room, they are incredibly versatile and can work as a good interactive space for family and friends while you’re cooking.
Concrete and Ceramics
It’s a very popular material now – you see it a lot in interiors generally – but we use most of it in floor finishes (see above) rather than in kitchen design. It looks fantastic and of course is very practical and durable. The big trend in work surfaces is the ceramic worktop made from porcelain – it’s an incredibly tough material and they have qualities similar to quartz and granites but porcelain is not susceptible to heat, scratching or staining. Thinner depth work surfaces are popular at the moment too – worktops are generally 20mm and below these days for a more modern look.
Definitely invest some money in clever lighting, it now plays a far more integral part in kitchen design and can massively lift a space. Whether it’s a new kitchen or a renovation think about your light zones – under or over cabinets to add ambience, lighting around your island, point lights or an even spread, neon or white light, the ability to isolate different lighting points in the room.
The hot gadgets
The fun bit of the kitchen – it used to be that the kitchen furniture cost 65-70% of the total cost, but now the high end technology and ‘extras’ themselves make up around 55-60% of kitchen cost. Hot taps are becoming very popular – it does your hot, cold and boiling water so there’s no need for that kettle any more. Appliance brands are now focusing heavily on steam, and induction hobs are massively popular as the technology has come on leaps and bounds. Normal people can cook in pretty much a professional kitchen!
Don’t judge your kitchen on the age of your property
Just because you’re in a period property it doesn’t mean you have to go for shaker style or traditional kitchen design. It’s more popular than ever to mix modernity and tradition – just because I’m in an old property it doesn’t mean I want a Chesterfield in my living room! And given so many people spend so much time in open plan kitchen/living areas now, it has to work in a way that complements modern lives.
Think think think
What is the kitchen for? Do you want your kids to be able to cook in it? Room for a slouchy sofa? Is it a party space? A haven? A good designer will consider all these elements and create something bespoke to your needs. Think it through at the front end and you won’t go far wrong.