From dining to cooking, completing homework to entertaining friends: the kitchen is a multifunctional hub of the home. Take note of the latest trends to turn yours into a showstopper.
With many of us choosing a neutral palette for cabinets and a clean, pared-back design ethos for our kitchens overall, a statement wall can really bring a kitchen to life. One way to achieve this is by using wallpaper, which is now firmly back in vogue for kitchens.
Renowned for their high-end wallpapers, Galerie Wallcoverings (01892 700730, www.galeriehome.co.uk) has a wide choice of contemporary and kitchen-themed papers on offer. Eloise Olde-Wolbers, director at Galerie, comments: “From quirky bold geometric motifs to classic country stripes and florals, the versatility of our wallpapers enables an on-trend look to be created through a striking feature wall or combination of prints, whilst providing the perfect backdrop to cooking, baking and kitchen entertaining. Complete the look by contrasting busy patterns with wooden textures and statement accessories.”
Calling on images of nature to give an ethereal look to a room is Farrow and Ball’s (01223 367771. www.farrow-ball.com) new wallpaper collection, which takes inspiration from the Dorset countryside (where the brand hails from). Tall grasses, endless hedgerows and pretty blossoms are all represented to create a soft, peaceful look in the home.
Charlotte Cosby, head of creative at Farrow and Ball, says: “Our Dorset inspired wallpaper collection conjures images of lazy days in hazy fields. This range aims to embrace and appreciate the beauty of nature around us. It is also part of a wider design trend for trees, plants and leaves, as people take a moment to connect with the nature around them.”
The kitchen is unique in the home in that it has a variety of architectural elements to take into account when designing a scheme. Search out bold colours and dramatic designs for small areas of the room. This will give a visual impact to contrast against ‘harder’ elements – such as the cooker or range, extractor fan, sink and taps.
Janet Dixon, chief designer at design house Barker & Barker (01223 733730, www.barkerandbarker.co.uk), gives her advice: “Creating a fabulous feature wall in your kitchen is not as easy as you might think, as walls are often broken up with cupboards, windows and doors. Choose a wall that will provide the most impact and use retro, geometric designs to uplift contemporary kitchens or transform a country kitchen with soft, floral patterns. If space is limited, create bursts of pattern by framing a piece of kitchen furniture to make it stand out. Vertical stripes are great for creating height and making a room feel bigger, or create an exciting feature by using wallpaper on the inside of an open cupboard or dresser. Colour is also a great way to create that ‘wow factor, so don’t be afraid to experiment with your wallpaper!”
Keeping it unique to the kitchen is the quirky wallpaper by designer Victoria Eggs, available at Graduate Collection (0845 872 4919, www.graduatecollection.co.uk). Featuring images of kitchenware as well as American diner typography, it adds the fun factor into a scheme. Meanwhile, for a true statement, Wallsauce.com (01772 284 110, www.wallsauce.com) creates bespoke wall murals and wall graphics, which can be made to fit any wall, using state-of-the-art technology. The collection includes inspirational photography, contemporary designs, sporting imagery, superhero, film and comic characters and fine art classics.
Sean Ogilvie, designer at luxury kitchen company, Harvey Jones Kitchens (0800 389 6938, www.harveyjones.com), gives his insight: “We’re seeing a trend in feature walls coming back to kitchen design. A key look is using characteristics already within the room and including these as features within the kitchen design, such as exposed brickwork, or simply using a bold colour on one wall as a focal point.”
“Bright colours work well within kitchens, making a bold focal point and a great way of injecting character and charisma into your kitchen,” he continues. “You can introduce colour to the room through painted cabinetry, the walls, or for adventurous types, on both!”
Tiles, of course, are perfect for creating the wow-factor in the kitchen. Choose a contrasting, yet complementary, design or colour for a small area – such as around a range or in an alcove – to give an elegant focal point.
Handmade and reclaimed tiles from Bert & May (0203 744 0776, www.bertandmay.com) are a beautiful addition to a room. The handmade tiles are made by a family of fourth generation artisan tilers in Cadiz, Spain. Each tile is meticulously crafted using ancient methods and crushed marble is included as part of the cement mix in order to strengthen the tiles, also giving a shimmer to the finish.
Lee Thornley, founder of Bert & May, says: “Tiles are a fantastic way to add colour and pattern into a space. There are so many different options, ranging from muted and rustic reclaimed terracotta to hand-poured encaustic tiles in gorgeous colours.”
The appeal of a black-and-white scheme is one that has never really fallen out of fashion. It is, of course, a classic scheme, which looks smart and sophisticated and can work in a range of combinations. The high contrast – think black granite against white cabinets – is extremely effective. This time around, mix up the look. Opt for black cabinetry with white surfaces, for instance, or choose both black and white cabinets for a mix-and-match look.
Jenny Hurren, founder of Out There Interiors (020 8099 7443, www.outthereinteriors.com), gives her style tips: “The kitchen is arguably the most creative room in the house – whether culinary or visually – it is therefore the ideal playground to experiment with design and style. Go bold with statement walls to perfectly contrast again kitchen cabinets – I love the simplistic, statement look of polished concrete and with Piet Boon’s genius concrete-look wallpaper. Team with luxe golds and marble for modern opulence, or opt for statement monochrome cabinets and accessories for the ultimate in industrial chic.”
If you have a cream or white kitchen, give it an instant update by adding in all-black accessories, or paint a wall using blackboard paint to achieve a modern-day monochrome look. If black is too stark, choose a midnight blue for a moody, dark and dramatic palette.
Tom Hinton, founder of the Tomas Kitchen Living brand of kitchens based in Cambridge, (01223 300858, www.tomas-kitchen-living.co.uk) adds: “I’ve used the colours found in my father’s and grandfather’s abstract oil paintings to create a great range of earthy colours – known as Abstract Five Colours. The range includes three ‘interesting’ shades of white – a proper black and a lovely off black – called Foreshore Slate. For a warmed up and turned down monochrome look try Foreshore White and Foreshore Slate.”
IN AWE OF THE ARCHITECTURAL
Copper lighting, lever handles, contemporary taps and concrete surfaces: kitchens are becoming increasingly industrial in style. Focus on architectural features to achieve the look. Remember that simplicity is key. Polished chrome or nickel, matt finishes and ‘raw’ accessories, such as chunky wood chopping boards, ultra-modern electricals and artisan crockery add up to an ‘unfinished’ look which is part of the trend. It goes without saying that anything floral, frilly or kitsch should be banished to the back of the cupboard.
The clean lines of the Sheer kitchen range by Tomas Kitchen Living (01223 300858, www.tomas-kitchen-living.co.uk) provide the perfect foundation for creating a minimalist, architectural style. The handle-less design with its angled edge profile works well with ergonomic curves or straight square edge designs. The secret is in the simplicity and timeless style. For handles, consider the Skate model by Tomas – a great selection of inset handles.
Handcrafted using traditional joinery techniques by skilled artisans, Fired Earth (0113 243 0748, www.firedearth.com) kitchens are timeless and offer a range of freestanding units that fit in with this trend. Fired Earth’s creative director, Rob Whitaker, says: “The industrial kitchen look is surprisingly versatile, working equally well in contemporary and more traditional interiors. Far from being an ‘all or nothing’ style, you can do everything from completely embracing it to simply incorporating one or two key elements. Work with a palette of metallic greys and earthy or rusty browns, and keep lines minimal, with pared-back detailing. Chrome bar handles and streamlined mixer taps in finishes such as brushed stainless steel have just the right utilitarian look, and metro-style, brick-shaped wall tiles and rugged, hardwearing flooring are ideal since they’re functional but a pleasure to live with too.”
One important feature for this look is the choice of countertops and splash-backs. Concrete is still growing in popularity and, as well as shades of grey and earth tones, the material is also now available in a range of muted shades. Hammered and distressed metals in dull finishes are also of the moment for splash-backs. If that feels too harsh, opt for glass in metallic finishes in silver, grey-blue or opaque white.
Noted for its luxury kitchens, Cambridge Kitchens and Bathrooms (01223 213266, www.cambridgekitchens.co.uk) is at the forefront of new trends. Sarah Wade-Gledhill, director, reveals: “A neutral palette will always be popular with a modern-day kitchen. To keep it inline with new trends, it is easy to update handles or add in accessories. We are seeing an increasing amount of customers opting for an industrial feel to their space. Think copper lighting, a monotone colour scheme – often with contrasting islands – and pared-back surfaces, such as concrete. Add in opulent tiling and new technology to gives a luxe sheen to the finished look.”
Clever storage is a prime concern when designing a modern kitchen. These days there are a multitude of new ideas to give more room to hide the essentials away. Double-tiered drawers, custom built cutlery trays, hydraulic, easy-close doors and contemporary pantries are all among the latest designs on offer.
Wharfside’s Team 7 cutting edge, made-to-measure kitchens (020 7253 3206, www.wharfside.co.uk) utilises the latest thinking. Owner Jonathan Stewart says:
“Where Team 7 kitchens really come to life is the innovative storage solutions and finishes you can add to make your kitchen extra special. Clever accessories create order, versatile inserts help you make use of every inch and store food hygienically and securely, the glass and stainless steel containers are as good-looking as practical, the stylish sinks are generously sized, the innovative waste sorting systems help keep your kitchen clean and tidy, the optimally matched lighting sets the scene for a feel-good kitchen – we spoil you for choice!”
Open shelving also gives versatility in a kitchen and a modern feel to the look. Keep things neat and tidy and opt for artfully placed crockery, cups and accessories all in the same colour palette. User-friendly and practical, open shelving gives a warm, lived-in feel and is very functional.
Cambridge-based Tomas Kitchen Living (01223 300858, www.tomas-kitchen-living.co.uk) has developed the clever Modbox Creations. “It’s a collection of dovetailed, modular, box shelving made from solid oak. They work well as part of a kitchen ‘run’ or as freestanding pieces,” says Tom Hinton, founder. “Create your own Modbox with different door options, colours and a range of inserts such as the popular Bottle ‘X’.”
Freestanding units can also work well for adding extra storage – modern, low-level sideboards or shabby-chic armoires can add character and personality in another-wise ‘off-the-rack’ kitchen.
To perfectly match your needs, when planning a complete overhaul of your kitchen, consult a bespoke manufacturer of kitchens, such as Langtry Furniture (01353 725380, www.langtryfurniture.co.uk), who offer a wide range of storage solutions to suit all needs. Available are hidden recycling bins, wine cupboards, fold-out larders and space-saving, pull-out corner cupboards.
LOOK OF LUXE
Dial up the luxury factor with layers of texture with opulent finishes: think mother-of-pearl tiles, shimmering surfaces, marble counters and copper accessories.
Homeowners are increasingly choosing warmer metals, such as gold, copper and bronze, instead of the usual silver, chrome and stainless steel. They give a gleaming accent to most colour palettes as well as adding a lavish touch.
Touched Interiors (0845 463 0083, www.touchedinteriors.co.uk) offers handcrafted furniture from all around the world, and boasts an extensive range of opulent interior furnishings. Its latest Copper Collection includes a cast brass gold-plated copper coffee table, a gold-leaf pebble room divide and gold and copper-plated dining chairs. “The collection takes inspiration from the rose-hued bronzes and golds that have dominated the catwalk and interiors trends in 2015,” says Kunal Trehan, director and interior designer.
“Metallic colour tones are playing an increasingly important role in modern design, and warm burnished copper is this year’s hottest shade – perfect for adding an autumnal glow to your interiors. The rich tones exude warmth, style and glamour, and the versatility of the shades allow pieces in this trend-setting shade to work in a variety of rooms and settings. Copper works beautifully alongside natural materials such as bare bricks for a modern rustic look, or alongside rich crushed fabrics and dark woods for a luxurious and sophisticated effect.”
For those who want to simply give a nod to the trend, it’s easy to introduce small elements into your room. Copper lighting, like the pendants from Dar Lighting (01295 672200, www.darlighting.co.uk), is particularly effective. Hang a row of three over a dining table or island for impact. And for a professional cook’s look, opt for polished copper cookware – now available at Sainsbury’s (0800 636 262, www.sainsburys.co.uk).
Iridescent mosaic tiles in pearl tones, with gold flecks, or lustre finishes, contrast beautifully and are a fabulous investment, elevating an otherwise ordinary-looking space. Seek them out from Cambridge-based Fired Earth (01223 300941, www.firedearth.com) or Original Style (01392 473004, www.originalstyle.com).
Finally By Design (01223 248 409, www.bydi.co.uk), located on Clifton Road in Cambridge, is a specialist in creating luxury kitchens. Director Sarah Wade-Gledhill says: “We are seeing a rise in people wanting that look of luxury in their kitchens. Where once the kitchen was merely a practical space our visions are now becoming increasingly imaginative. Gold taps, copper surfaces and statement lights all combine to give the wow-factor. Kitchen areas are becoming larger and incorporating family rooms and dining areas. As the hub of the home, customers are always on the look out for something that stands out from everyone else and which looks a little bit different. I would suggest investing in the basics – quality cabinetry and flooring, that will last for years to come. Then you can easily update by changing handles, choosing new paints and wallpapers as trends come and go.”