The kitchen is the place where we cook up a storm, eat together, socialise and spend the most family time. Read on to discover on how to transform it from a practical space into a stylish heart of the home.
Muted shades – cream, grey and taupe – have long been the go-to palette of choice for our kitchens. While these certainly give longevity and are unlikely to go out of fashion any time soon, especially when it comes to cabinetry, the latest trends are showing a bolder look with splashes of colour on walls, accent areas and furniture.
Judy Smith, Crown Paint’s colour consultant, agrees: “A neutral base layered with colour is a good approach for a kitchen décor that will stand the test of time. Select calm tones of grey, white and cream for cabinets and dominant walls as this will ensure they provide a versatile neutral base. Then make your mark with vibrant pops of colour such as vivid red or zesty lemon to add character.”
In its autumn-winter trend forecast, colour specialists, Farrow & Ball, has also witnessed a growing interest for more dramatic, vivid hues within the home. It has picked out the understated, subtle tones of deep red – such as Radicchio – and the dark, rich green of Studio Green as two dramatic shades that work seamlessly with neutrals, such as dove grey, cream and charcoal darks to create a harmonious effect.
Perfectly complementing accents of copper and brass, is Fired Earth’s recently redesigned Vermont Kitchen, handcrafted from oak and available in several finishes. Painted in Top Hat (a crushed-velvet black), it is in keeping with the trend for dark palettes – which not only look super stylish but are also a practical choice in a kitchen.
If taste is more towards brighter colours, then why not opt for a brightly hued splashback or work surface? With an outlet in Cambridge, Granite Transformations’ surfaces are available in a wide choice of finishes, including scarlet red, sapphire blue and emerald green. Due to their dramatic appearance, these colours are best used as ‘hot spots’– such as on an island – so they work as a focal point in an otherwise neutral kitchen.
Melissa Klink, head of design at Harvey Jones, renowned for its bespoke, luxury kitchens, adds: “By adding a coloured splashback, or painting cabinetry in a dark shade, you can change the whole look of a kitchen and create a cosy and contemporary scheme. In addition, you can also easily inject some interesting colourful shades into a neutral space with warming accessories and worktops which can then be changed as trends develop.”
David Mottershead, managing director of Little Greene, gives his tips on colour
- Paint cabinets and kitchen walls the same colour – it gives a luxurious look.
- Pick colours that are unexpected. A warm pink, for instance, works wonders in the kitchen and adds a sense of playfulness to this hardworking room. Contrast it with our Lamp Black to keep it contemporary.
- Adding colour to the kitchen doesn’t have to mean using outlandish colours. Keep it neutral and add wallpaper above shelving for a soft, feminine look.
From handle-less units to industrial style minimalism – the choice of cabinets has never been wider and these days it is all about mixing it up according to your personal choice. A kitchen is, of course, one of the biggest investments a homeowner makes so it makes sense to invest in a style that you love and which will stand the test of time.
Tom Hinton, founder and head designer at Cambridge-based Tomas Kitchen Living, reveals his insider view: “Anyone who is in the process of buying a kitchen won’t need to be told that it’s a ‘big ticket’ item,” he says. “A good kitchen will be designed for long-term use. Start with quality – it never goes out of style, so buy the best you can afford. Think ‘timeless’ – avoid contrived forms that confuse the eye and could become an irritation over time. One leading trend at the moment is the fusing the old with the new and creating a really interesting and eclectic vibe. Anything goes, so throw away the rule book! Choose pieces that you love, re-introduce a family heirloom or a picture that tells a story.”
From the handmade kitchens, made bespoke, at Knights Country Kitchens, which is based in Suffolk, to the top-end contemporary styles available at Caple – whatever style you choose, it is vital to make sure you have enough storage to maintain a clutter-free look. From larders to special solutions to hide away everything from paper towels to toasters – a clear worktop can give the illusion of a larger kitchen space, so it is worth investigating all the latest options.
Cambridge-based interior designer Eve Waldron, reveals her top three trends
*Grey stained oak for cabinetry is the perfect blend using natural materials in a sophisticated way. It looks sleek and of the moment.
*Combine darker woods below the worktop and white cabinets above the counter to add warmth but retain a sense of space and light.
* Poured concrete floors look seamless and thoroughly modern – you can achieve a similar effect with large format grey concrete style tiles.
Once you have the structure of your kitchen in place, with your chosen units, cupboards and appliances, the best – and easiest – way to add personality is with all the added extras.
Kirsti Sturgess-Dawson, director of Profile Designs, a local company which makes bespoke furniture, says: “People want their homes to reflect their personalities and this can be achieved by making designs which meet their briefs. Everything we produce is made to order, so if you need a piece of furniture to fit into a particular area –such as a dining table – or are passionate about a particular colour, we can help to achieve your dream design.”
A touch of flair can be easily introduced by simply choosing a statement radiator, for instance, or picking out unusual tiles, like the reclaimed brick and wood-effect tiles at Tile Trader. Lighting is another way to introduce an element of drama to a space.
Søren Ravn Christensen, chief creative developer at VITA Copenhagen, shares his tips on how to create a cosy atmosphere in the kitchen. “All kitchens need to feel inviting and inspiring. Our VITA Acorn pendants give practical and focused task-lighting, while at the same time creating the ambience you want for making the whole room more cosy.”
HOW TO STYLE A KITCHEN
Laurent Catelas, commercial director at THG Paris, an expert in kitchen fittings, gives his top trends
- Mixed Materials
Create impact by pairing textural and natural materials, with sleek and glossier finishes.
- Minimalist x Maximalist design
Combine minimalist kitchen accessories with maximalist patterns and textures.
- Timeless and traditional
Our Bastide range of traditional kitchen taps has a timeless elegance which never seems to go out of fashion.
EDITOR’S PICKS: MY TOP TEN KITCHEN BUYS
Vintage Copper Chair, £105, pib-home.co.uk
Typhoon Vintage Copper Cookie Jar, £25, kaleidoscope.co.uk
Marimekko Veljekset Plate, £19.50, abodeliving.co.uk
Wooden Spice Grinder, £50, isak.co.uk
Devotion Black and Gold Leaf Spiral Dome Pendant, £340, alexanderandpearl.co.uk
Orla Kiely Multi Stem Tea Towel, £15, wildandwolf.com
Marble and Mango Wood Serving Board, £28.95, decoratorsnotebook.co.uk
Nordic Circular Rose Gold Basket, £10, sainsburys.co.uk
Ochre Glass Vase, £20, Debenhams.com
12-Piece Black Cutlery Set, £38, next.co.uk
This article is also published in the November 2017 issue of The Cambridge Edition Magazine