House Design

Timeless kitchen trends to inspire your next makeover

Which kitchen trends are big right now?  (CATO Creative/Chris Snook/PA)

Which kitchen trends are big right now? (CATO Creative/Chris Snook/PA)

It’s the hardest working room in the house – and most often the space which requires the biggest outlay to bring it bang up-to-date.

So if you are redoing your kitchen, you’ll want the design, layout and aesthetics to be the best it can be (within a budget, of course).

A great kitchen balances function with flair – especially as it’s a room that’s usually working overtime these days, for dining, working and socializing.

According to a kitchen trends survey by home design platform Houzz, 79% of homeowners had last renovated their kitchen more than 10 years ago. And a quarter of those upgrading their kitchen said they were doing it because they could no longer stand the old one.

Looking to renovate or remodel your kitchen? These are some of the top new kitchen trends right now…

A white backdrop

“White will never go out of style, thanks to its calming properties and ability to pair with any design scheme,” says Amit Malhotra, co-founder of Aflux Designs. “We find off-whites and light grays which are always popular with our clients.”

He says kitchen cabinetry is often where homeowners like to be more adventurous with their color scheme and showcase their personality, so most prefer a more understated backdrop for their walls, worktop or splashback to allow the cabinets to be the focal point of the space.

“White worktops are especially popular due to their versatility, pairing beautifully with both traditional shaker-style and modern kitchens,” says Malhotra.

Whether it’s a fresh coat of paint for walls or upgrading the worktops and splashback, Houzz editor Victoria Harrison says white is the most popular color choice according to their kitchen trends survey: “And it’s the perfect backdrop to let other elements of the kitchen shine. ”

Durable materials

When designing a kitchen that will last, durability should be a key consideration.

“From cooking to entertaining, your kitchen is often at the center of the action, so knocks and spills are likely,” says Harrison. “Durable materials will last longer, maintain their aesthetic appeal, and provide a safer and healthier environment for cooking.

“It’s certainly a priority for homeowners according to the survey. Quartz was the most popular material for worktops and vinyl came out on top for flooring, both chosen for their durable properties.”

Diane Berry, founder of Diane Berry Kitchens, agrees: “Quartz for kitchen worktops is tried and tested, and is definitely the most popular choice among our customers, with ceramic brands like Dekton and Neolith coming a close second.”

“The various brands of quartz are making some amazing, veined products that really add a wow factor and character to any kitchen – and they will stand the test of time,” he adds.

Pleas pantries

Harrison says when it comes to built-in features, a pantry is now top of the must-have list, beating a kitchen island, which came in second place.

“It’s not hard to understand why, as these storage workhorses are a practical way to store lots of items, while also making it easy to take stock of supplies,” suggests Harrison.

“With the trend for incorporating a breakfast station into pantry cupboards, small appliances like toasters and kettles are off the counters, helping to keep work surfaces uncluttered, too.”

Malhotra points out: “Getting organized has gained huge popularity on social media, which we think is certainly a contributing factor to homeowners wanting beautifully designed and organized pantries.

“Not only do they look fantastic when designed with matching jars, boxes and storage containers, they are incredibly practical too, allowing you to easily manage your food and kitchen items.”

Whether you have a small or large kitchen, Malhotra says a pantry can be introduced into any space and to suit a range of budgets, by amending the quality and specifications to the homeowner’s needs.

Sustainability first

“The environmental impact of our homes has become a real focus in recent years, with the vast majority of homeowners incorporating sustainable features during their kitchen renovation,” says Harrison.

With energy bills and the cost of living rising, she says long-term cost-effectiveness is also a driving factor for these choices. While there are always upfront costs to consider, of course Harrison notes: “Sustainable design can help reduce water and energy consumption, which will save money in the long run.”

Mark Barratt, director at CATO Creative, says the brand’s seeing a big step change away from gas to induction hobs, for example, which can be a more energy-efficient choice.

“Hot water taps are also very popular, as they’re far more efficient than kettles for both energy and water,” says Barratt. “Investing in classic, durable fixtures and fittings is a really smart way to be sustainable.”

Zoe Willis, founder of Zoe Willis Design, says: “Particularly in the last 12 months, many clients have expressed the desire to waste less in their kitchen refits, for both cost and environmental reasons.

“We’ve always presented sustainable workarounds to our designs and builds, such as reusing cabinet carcasses, or sourcing reclaimed materials that have sustainability in mind while adding character to the spaces we create,” she adds.

At a recent project, she says they mixed new cabinetry with old and sourced reclaimed wood in the form of school doors and science lab counters to make beautiful worktops and shelving.

Meanwhile, Emma Merry, founder of Emma Merry Styling, says creating a kitchen that won’t need regular style updates is also a sustainable effort.

“We look for non-trend-led pieces, as these will not date and cause the owners to want to be replaced and updated with a new item in a couple of years’ time,” says Merry. “Opting for contemporary touches with a classic undertone helps us to avoid trend-led waste.”

Layered lighting

Lighting is another big consideration when designing a kitchen.

Designers right now are favoring a layered lighting scheme, to ensure the room can be adapted to different needs throughout the day, says Harrison.

“By combining task, accent and ambient lighting via a mixture of under-cabinet lights, ceiling spotlights, low-level LEDs and pendants, your lighting will be able to answer a wide range of needs,” she explains.

Barratt agrees: “Lighting is very important in all of our kitchen designs. We aim to include lots of task lighting, as well as accent and ambient lighting.”

He says they use spotlights to provide task lighting over work surfaces and appliances, to ensure no areas are underlit.

“Breaking up the lighting using different circuits and different types of lighting allows us to transform a kitchen from a working area for food preparation, to a subtle dining room or relaxing snug,” he adds.

And while different types of lighting provide different moods, Barratt says he’s often asked if they’ve specified too much kitchen lighting. “But it’s important to remember each of these layers of lighting will have different uses,” he notes, “and help provide a scheme that can be adapted to your needs.”

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