The kitchen is the hub of the home. Here’s how to easily achieve the perfect space for cooking, entertaining and living.
If you are looking to revamp your kitchen, then taking note of the latest design developments and interiors trends will ensure you bring yours straight into the 21st century. These days the kitchen has become so much more than just a room where we cook. In fact, we want it to be multi-functional with many of us desiring an open-plan space where we can eat, chat, study, entertain and, of course, cook up a storm with family and friends.
One of the most rapid developments of late is kitchen technology. From hidden charging stations and clever storage systems to smart appliances and built-in gadgets, the latest kitchens perfectly complement a modern-day lifestyle.
Daniele Brutto, co-founder of Hub Kitchens, a design-led kitchen company, agrees: “I believe technology will inevitably play a key role in the future of kitchen design. TM Italia, for example, currently has a kitchen that is controlled via a desktop application, so the tap rises and falls on the click of a button, the sink lid opens and closes on demand and the fridge doors can be opened without even touching the door. This type of software technology will be the future for kitchen designs to coincide with the evolution of modern lifestyles.”
If you are completely revamping your kitchen, it is important to do your research to find out what’s new and what will work with how you live. Be discerning between products which are simply gimmicks, and those which will be play a valuable and useful role in the kitchen.
Tom Hinton owner of Cambridge-based Tomas Kitchen Living, gives his advice: “Technology in the kitchen is moving fast with Bluetooth being used more and more to streamline its functionality. We are the main dealers for Siemens’ built-in appliances, and it has recently re-launched most of its ovens with HomeConnect. This enables the user to connect the oven to a smart phone, thus allowing the appliance to be programmed and operated remotely.
He continues: “At the recent bi-annual EuroCucina show in Milan, Miele showcased its vision of the future with its technologically advanced ‘Invisible Kitchen’. Beneath the countertop, for instance, were various hidden sensors and scanners. One could take a room-temperature bottle of white wine, stand it on the countertop and the kitchen would do the rest: it would identify the wine, then chill it down to the optimum temperature in the matter of a few minutes! The kitchen could also tell you about the food you have, the dates, the weight and even suggest menus! Already available are intelligent oven hoods which can respond with the hob and counter-top ‘hotspots’ for charging a smart phone.“
A new, muted palette
When it comes to colour schemes for kitchens, it’s now all about muted tones. Pale greens, charcoal greys, soft blues and off-whites are prime hues to showcase good quality cabinetry, wood flooring, marble tops and glass splash-backs.
“Green hues help to bring a touch of nature into the home, especially if you have a kitchen that looks out onto your garden,” says Josephine Rance, marketing director at Farrow & Ball. “Cromarty – inspired by sea mist – is a beautiful muted pastel that could be used on your cupboards to complement a neutral shade on the wall, such as Shadow White, one of our nine new colours this year.
“When painting your kitchen we recommend Modern Emulsion being used due to the kitchen being an area of high usage. It gives depth of colour, a matt appearance and is hard-wearing.”
Whether you opt for bespoke furniture – such as those available at David Hall Furniture and Knights Country Kitchens – or a fitted kitchen from the high street, the next step is adding interest with the finishing touches.
Tiling, for instance, is an easy way to add personality. Fired Earth’s brand manager, Lucy Kenna. agrees: “Low-maintenance, hardwearing surfaces such as porcelain tiles really come into their own in the kitchen, where splashes and spills are inevitable. The new Boulangerie porcelain tiles are ideal for a contemporary take on a more classic look, offering a combination of traditional French styling and modern ease of maintenance. They’re also a great way of adding a splash of colour and eye-catching pattern to the kitchen.”
Lighting is another way to make a statement. From industrial pendants to a line of stand-out glass shades, they provide an elegant addition to a dining space or island area.
Søren Ravn Christensen, chief creative developer of lighting specialists VITA Copenhagen, says: “Combine design with functionality and make your dining table a centrepiece by hanging above it either a big lampshade as a focal point, or a straight line of chic lamps. Our Clava Dine lampshade frames the dining table and has symmetric holes around the lampshade which gently diffuse a cosy ambient light, while also adding a directional downward light.”
Of utmost importance in a kitchen is, of course, storage. Even if you opt for some open shelving – to showcase the best ceramics and glasses – most people still need ample cupboard space to hide away the clutter and practical items that every cook needs.
Matthew Payne, designer at Harvey Jones Kitchens, gives his advice: “The modern shaker kitchen is very much on trend. Shakers believed that every object in the home should have a function and that decoration was unnecessary. With this in mind, a true Shaker kitchen should evoke a simple and uncluttered look, using the very best materials and should be built to last. Storage is integral to the design and should be practical, such as a cool larder or hardwearing butchers block.”
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“Families now require kitchens that work harder than ever – combining many functions into one kitchen/living space, while still demanding a kitchen that looks stylish and sleek. Some of the key features that are increasingly in demand include concealed power points, open shelving, freestanding pieces, and wonderfully flexible designs such as the K7 adjustable kitchen island – which morphs from a kitchen countertop to a dining table, sideboard or bar, at the touch of a button.”
Amelia Carter, interior designer, gives her advice on how to achieve a stylish kitchen
- Go for matt white lacquered cabinetry– it is elegant, practical and a great canvas to build around. You can add colour and interest with accessories, tiles and wall colours.
- Granite is a much harder surface than marble and as a result it is not as porous so lasts over time with fewer stains and water-marks. If you do go with a marble, look at the harder versions or be aware that overtime, they will gather marks or ‘patina’.
- Functionality is key. I always design kitchens using drawers underneath the counters rather than cupboards. This means that you can see everything within the drawer upon opening it, rather than having to crouch down and peer into a deep cupboard.
Here’s my pick of the best kitchen accessories to adorn your space…
Chip off the old block
Wooden chopping board, £39, www.Lexingtoncompany.com
Floral Oven Glove, £8.90, vallila.co.uk
All that glitters
Gold kitchen utensils, from £14.95, miafleur.com
Take the weight off
Net kitchen stool, £372, asplashofcolour.com
Pineapple cake stand, £49.50, marksandspencer.com
Cut and dried
Swallow tea towel, £9.50, angelandboho.com
Cucina Toscana cheese dish, £27, kensingtondesign.com
Garlic storage tin, £8, debenhams.com
Dinner, set and match
Lustre dinner set of 12, £45, next.co.uk
Drink it up
Ombre tumblers, £26 for four, oliverbonas.com
A version of this article is out in the October 2016 issue of The Cambridge Edition Magazine