Get Cooking by Alexia Biggs
Perhaps the most fundamental shift in home design over the past 25 years has been the open concept kitchen.
In the past, kitchens were relegated to separate room, generally in the back of a home. Now, kitchens open up into the living space, which is a trend that isn’t going anywhere. The kitchen has firmly established itself as the centre of the home, making it the most renovated room in any house.
Every two years, over a hundred international kitchen brands debut their new products and reworked ranges at EuroCucina expo. Here were some of the strong influences that were showcased in May.
This year saw a real focus on storage solutions and the superior automation that allowed for a seamless, intuitive and enjoyable experience in the kitchen. Overhead cabinetry with doors that gracefully fold upwards to reveal the storage concealed behind.
Splashbacks that conceal storage space and slide away at the touch of a button, kitchen countertops that slide over cooktops are among the many smart features on offer. Large pullout drawers on lower cabinets are replacing cupboards for storage, and touch-open drawers are incredibly popular – drawer handles were noticeably missing.
On the flipside, there’s a move toward open shelving. This stems from modern bistro and café design elements, which can be easily replicated in any kitchen. Open shelving serves more than just a way to find needed items quickly. Driven by the rise in beautiful homewares and the desire to show them off, it also injects personal flair into the home.
Open shelves do take a little more work to organise and keep neat but it’s worth it to keep your favourite items visible and accessible. If you’re someone that needs cupboards to hide away any clutter, you can still consider this look by dedicating a smaller wall section of the kitchen to open shelving.
Black is the new white in kitchens. It’s a colour that doesn’t show dirt like white cabinets can and black cabinetry can adapt well to all décor styles.
If you’re not bold enough to have all your kitchen cupboards done in black, then use timber. It’s one of the easiest ways to create an instant feeling of warmth. This can be done with the use of full timber joinery panels, or, if you’re thinking of giving just a cosmetic lift to a kitchen, timber can be blended in perfectly with white or grey cabinetry for an instant style-update. Think the overhead cupboards in a sleek timber finish and the bottom leave as is (just update handles to make as minimal as possible). Mixing unfinished or reclaimed wood with stainless steel, copper, bronze or glass is a very strong look right now.
Whatever you choose, there’s very little gloss in finishes. It’s all about matte surfaces on cabinetry.
Slab and Tiled Splashbacks
The use of a glass splashback will always be popular due to versatility in colour, the ease of cleaning, the cost and also the aesthetics; however there is a trend toward using natural stone and also tiles on the kitchen splashback. Earthy handmade tiles, simple subway style patterns or geometric and floral patterns in muted, soft-coloured hues (white, neutral and charcoal colour palettes go without saying, of course).
The benefit of using ceramic tiles on a splash back is that the colour and design possibilities are endless, and it’s a great opportunity to be fun and creative with colour shape and texture.
Often the kitchen sink is a focal point in the kitchen and for a long time, a large gooseneck tap in chrome was almost the only option to choose. It’s being replaced with interesting and often different colours, shapes and finishes. Bronze, copper and brass add a shimmer of individual difference and velveteen black matte finishes off a room with sophistication.
There’s always a latest and greatest on the market, so check what works best for you with a trusted appliance dealer, but one thing for sure, is there is a trend towards a softer look in appliances, away from the bright shiny polished stainless steel that has ruled the kitchen for so long. Instead, softer brushed finishes, pale greys and white appliances are coming through.
While a majority of kitchen brands sported benchtops which featured refined finishing and detailing, others played with a layering of surface finishes and surface heights to create variation and support multiple activities around the kitchen bench.
The overall look is to make the kitchen less formal. Designers are beginning to steer away from the pursuit of perfection and minimalist designs to now incorporate a more organic feel which highlights natural materials and finishes.
Black is coming through in force. Black granite is the top choice but many designers are choosing from a large range of composite materials, which are less expensive and have a more consistent appearance. And slab height is either extra-thick or super-thin.
Today, kitchen brands are realizing that homeowners want form, function and beauty all wrapped up into one. Accessories such as colanders and cutting boards can now fit seamlessly into the sink to help you drain or cut your favourite vegetables.
Low hanging multiple pendant lighting over kitchen benches and kitchen islands not only set the mood and tone, but also dress the kitchen.
More and more, lighting that switches on automatically when drawers are opened or pantry doors are slid open is being built in to kitchens today.
We live in a wonderful design age where kitchen manufacturers are realising the importance of connecting how we all live in our homes, the way we interact with our appliances, the way we prepare food and the way appliances, fixtures and finishes should interplay with our senses.
The kitchen rules our home and rightfully so. It’s the soul of our home and the way we come together with family and friends!