Eat, Live, Cook


From cooking up a storm to dining with friends, I talk to the experts about the latest kitchen trends for 2017.




First and foremost, the kitchen is all about cooking and, of course, eating. If you have a big family, invest in a large enough table so that everyone can fit around it comfortably. This way you will be more likely to sit down together and make the most of family meal times.


A practical choice is an extending table, like the Battersea version available at Furniture Village. This won’t take up as much room on a day-to-day basis but will be able to magically accommodate larger gatherings. Elma Malik, Furniture Village’s dining and cabinet buyer, comments: “In modern life, a kitchen is a hive of activity at all times of the day. As well as being a space to prepare food, it can double up as an office, a dining room, and a family room. With open-plan design being the favourite way to live, opt for minimalist lines, geometric styling, and origami-inspired accessories to create an on-trend space for dining this season.”


When it comes to dining chairs, you can add plenty of personality by opting for a mix-match effect with your table. I & JL Brown’s Gothic Interlace Windsor Side Chair comes in various pastel shades of painted wood and is a great all-rounder. Choose one in each colour for a pretty effect. For something extra special, meanwhile, opt for the brand’s Hampton Lowback Armchair in Liberty and Ian Sanderson velvet fabric. It’s a sumptuous and decadent choice for lingering over long lunches.


Revamping your crockery and glassware is a quick and easy way to breathe new life into dining, and you needn’t break the bank. Many high street stores, such as Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer, have affordable and stylish dinnerware. Our money is on Sainsbury’s new Restoration collection for the home, which takes inspiration from an industrial aesthetic.


“Encapsulating modern living, Restoration is inspired by the edgy industrial aesthetics of London, from Brick Lane to Borough Market,” says Andrew Tanner, design manager for the brand’s Home and Seasonal collections. “Pops of pillar-box red complement the monochrome tones and graphic prints. Utility and cookshop essentials are also available for the kitchen using hard-working materials, such as enamel, aluminium and oak.”


The correct style of lighting brings it all together and creates the perfect ambiance. The most practical choice for everyday living is a modern pendant, like Flos’s Skygarden, designed by Marcel Wanders, and which features a pretty, textured interior.

“In my previous house, I had a fabulous antique-decorated plaster ceiling,” reveals the designer, Marcel Wanders. “I called it my Skygarden. I loved it so much that when the time came to move house, I couldn`t leave it. It became my inspiration for this light – and its design is now secretly hidden in the minimalist, architectural sphere of the pendant.”


Meanwhile, Fritz Fryer’s delicate, glass shades will add a French flourish to any kitchen’s dining area. The lighting expert, renowned for its handmade light fittings, argues that when planning a kitchen makeover, lighting should be the first thing to consider.

Karen Wallis-Smith, director, advises: “It is essential to have multiple layers of light in a kitchen, task lighting can be achieved by means of simple stylish pendants low over an island and LED strips on the underside of eye level cupboards, illuminating the work surface. Depending on the size of the kitchen it is also nice to supplement this scheme with some carefully positioned recessed down lights. Ideally these would be located in front of floor to ceiling & eye level cupboards to create scallops of reflected light. Dimmable fittings and controls, as well as the careful grouping of circuits will help to achieve the right mood.”



Luis Hernandez, founder of interior design firm Lewis & Co, gives his expert tips on dining furniture:

  • Choose your dining table to fit around your lifestyle. For family meals, round tables in oak or walnut are sociable and functional. Those who enjoy more formal dinners should opt for an elegant rectangular table in wenge or oak. For a real showstopper, chose a glass-topped piece with a sculptured metal base in chrome or brass.
  • Place the table on a complementary rug for maximum effect. Use contrasting materials on dining chairs (for example, leather chairs with a wood table or silk upholstery with glass works well).
  • Choosing the right lighting is all-important for setting the mood. For casual dining, pendants are stylish. For more formal dining, chandeliers are ideal.



Chris Jordan, managing director of luxury light specialist Christopher Wray, reveals the top three lighting trends

* Look towards LED technology and the advancements in integrated lighting systems, such as dial control, which the vast majority of light fittings are compatible with nowadays.

*Design-wise it’s all about the metal. Think: polished nickel, chrome, bronze and copper finishes.

*Ultra-modern styles tend to use different materials such as polymers, which can form unique shapes. Our bestsellers are modern versions of classic styles. Our ‘Jaunt’ collection, for instance, is essentially Art-Deco, but it has a modern metal finish option so it is still relevant today.



While the choice of your cabinetry is all-important, make sure you take time to consider the secondary layers to your kitchen. Your selection of flooring, window coverings and wall coverings can make or break a design and have the potential to bring even the most basic kitchen-style to life.


When it comes to under-foot materials, opt for something that is durable and hard-wearing. The Stone & Ceramic Warehouse offers a range of unique finishes that don’t skimp on style. Its Vintage Leather range, for example, recreates the classic look of leather in a ceramic floor tile. While its Driftwood Tiles give a realistic wood effect in a porcelain tile. “Kitchens are often one of the most used floors in your home, so choosing the correct flooring is vital, says Stuart Wisbey, director of The Stone & Ceramic Warehouse. “Compared to natural stone floor tiles, porcelain has the advantage of being very easy to maintain as it is lightweight and doesn’t stain, making it perfect for kitchens. “


If you like the look of wood flooring but want something more practical for your kitchen, then look at Amtico’s Signature range of luxury vinyl flooring, which offers realistic wood styles, such as oak, teak and pine effects.


For windows, an innovative choice, especially for small spaces, is a window film, like those available at The Window Film Company. It means you can do away with the fussiness of bulkier coverings and still maintain your privacy while adding a design flourish to your space. For the ultimate in stylishness, however, window shutters add charm and character. Shutterly Fabulous’s café shutters let in the light and are available in a rainbow of colours.



When designing your kitchen, your first step is to seek advice from the experts. Experienced kitchen companies will know of new developments and space-saving ways to create the most from your room. Tomas Kitchen Living, based in Cambridge, for instance, is renowned for its modern, sleek take on kitchen cabinetry. The company has recently moved its design studio into the new Production Centre in Mercers Row. Having this facility has allowed the owner and designer Tom Hinton to develop his new ideas into reality.


“New products from Tomas, one of our core collections, includes the CASE range,” says Tom Hinton. “This consists of a wonderful collection of solid oak pieces that can be integrated into a fully fitted Tomas Kitchen or can work as free standing pieces. Very popular is the ‘TeaCASE’, which can hang happily next to the window or sink area. Beyond the kitchen, our CASE CREATIONS can migrate into living and dining areas to serve as side pieces. The look is what I call ‘Classic Modern’ – that is to say ‘modern yet not overly modern.’”

Florence Light Grey

For a classic look, look to another local company, Langry Fitted Furniture. “Our Florence range of kitchens is an updated version of the traditional shaker style,” says Tony Jones, director at the company. “It has clean lines and echoes the Shaker style but is slightly more pared-back. It looks stunning in white or light grey matched with grey marble tops – a timeless choice that will supersede other trends that come and go.”


Talking of surfaces, Granite Transformations, which also has a branch in Cambridge, is a one-stop shop for innovative ideas. Its slimline, lightweight, yet extremely hardwearing, agglomerate worktops come in a choice of granite, quartz, recycled glass or porcelain. Also worth considering are its chic, Italian-heritage glass mosaic tiles, which are perfect for splashbacks and feature panels. “Granite is a perfect material for kitchen duties,” comments Peter Morrison from the Cambridge store. “Nowadays this material is becoming extremely expensive, which is why Granite Transformations’ composite product, made from recovered granite chips and a measure of polymer resin, is more affordable and offers superior technical performance.”


Finally, a major consideration is making sure you have enough storage in your kitchen to do away with surface clutter – meaning that your room will look bright and airy at all times. John Stephens, director at Rencraft, a bespoke kitchen maker, gives his advice: “Storage components are a crucial aspect of any kitchen. This is because it’s one of the hardest rooms to keep organized – there are so many individual items and appliances to consider. Our experienced designers are able to advise customers on how to make the most of – for example – vertical and corner spaces, which may otherwise go to waste. The larder is growing hugely in popularity. With open-plan living spaces being a firm favourite in our modern homes, there is often space for a large pantry cupboard and many are now wondering how they ever lived without them.”





Max Spenser-Morris, director at Design Republic, talks about modern kitchen design

“Our modern pace of life is leading the trend for open-plan living and, in particular, kitchen-diners. These multi-functional spaces enable families to spend time together in a number of different ways. As the space is likely to be used for a variety of tasks, from food preparation and dining through to homework and socialising, it is worth creating zones to differentiate between the various activities. An island unit works well as a way of defining these areas, with the kitchen one side and space for dining and relaxing on the other. Incorporating the hob and sink into the island brings the chef centre stage, while the addition of a couple of high bar stools creates an informal space for eating breakfast together.”






Gabin Industrial Pendant Light, £99.99,



Etienne Dining Chair, £137,



Makers for Selfridges China Tea Pot by Charlene Mullen, £70,


Red Star Crockery, from £12.50,


French Drum Lampshade in Midnight Blue with gold lining, £120,


Seventies Glass Vases, from £23.50,


Gold Hexagon Wine Rack, £35,


Butterfly House Dinner Plate, £4,


Scallop Metal Tray, £35,


A version of this article also appears in the January issue of The Cambridge Edition Magazine


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