No longer back of house, the modern kitchen has become a key feature of our homes.
Today’s kitchens are almost unrecognisable from their historical counterparts. Traditionally a small room hidden away at the back of the house, the kitchen is now a key feature of the home.
Constant innovations over the last 50 years have changed how we perceive and use this space. The modern kitchen has increasingly become the central area where people gather to eat, relax and socialise.
We present the main trends you can adopt to add impact to your home:
1. ISLAND UNITS
Kitchens have increased in size and this has had a knock-on effect to the layout. Moving away from the ‘gangway’ format to larger open plan kitchens, homeowners are increasingly adding island units to provide a focal point and improve circulation.
Offering ample storage space, these units provide an opportunity to refine the kitchen’s overall design. This has proved popular and allows homeowners to incorporate luxury additions such as wine coolers, breakfast bars and feature lighting.
Additional space allows for a more minimalist finish, falling in line with current trends. The more efficient layout provides a better platform to showcase higher quality, textures and finishes. Consumers are increasingly opting for stone worktops, often contrasted by geometric designs, mixed metal detailing and timber cabinetry.
2. WORKTOPS AND SPLASH-BACKS:
Worktops and splash backs are often a visual highlight to kitchen design. The options are almost endless, with the type and colour of the material dictated only by your budget and level of maintenance you prefer.
Here are the main contenders:
Marble is often the most expensive option and is the stone desired by those seeking the ‘wow’ factor to their kitchen design. Available in a wide variety of types and colours, this material provides a beautiful and natural finish. This material is liable to staining and you should ensure that the stone has been properly sealed before it is used.
Due to their strength and durability, granite worktops are proving incredibly popular. As it is a natural stone each slab of granite will be unique, so expect different veining and colour from the samples you see. It also needs to be well looked after, as it can scratch and stain easily. Always ensure that the stone is pre-sealed before installation.
This man-made granite alternative offers various benefits. The greatest benefit arguably being colour consistency. Silestone quartz, for example, is available in over 60 colours and naturally antibacterial. Quartz has the added benefit of being highly stain and scratch resistant.
Corian and Hi-Macs are solid surface materials perfect for creating fluid shapes, curves and flowing lines. As they are man-made, the finish is consistent with invisible joins, providing a seamless finish that can be teamed with matching integrated sinks to create the impression of a single piece.
Cabinets are a great way to add depth and texture to kitchen designs. Previously an expensive option suppliers are beginning to offer reasonable alternatives to the wider market. Danish company REFORM have teamed up with a select group of designers to produce a collection of ‘hacked’ prefab IKEA kitchens. The collection features 3 models created by arguably the highest profile Danish designers of today, including BIG, Henning Larsen and Norm (pictured above).
Jakob Lange, head of design at BIG Ideas explains, “For several years we’ve been flirting with the idea of making custom-designed kitchens, but in reality we often end up with custom-made kitchens that are quite expensive. That’s why the thought of making a kitchen which is exclusive in every way except the price appeals a lot to us.”
Presented in finishes and materials ranging from bronzed tombac to concrete worktops and oak sawn veneers, the collection offers options which were once unavailable now at a more affordable price.
4. FINISHING TOUCHES:
Unique ironmongery and accent details help give added personality to the overall design. Recently the trend has been for materials such as bronze, brass or leather. Either appearing in the brassware or door furniture, these offer a warm contrast especially when combined alongside timber and stone.