Packed with appliances and gadgets for every purpose, spare crockery and cutlery, plus stocks of non-perishable foods, a busy kitchen needs clever storage to ensure every inch of space is used.
Rather than simply squeezing extra cupboards into a design, the latest storage solutions are all about ease of access, organised compartments, cleverly placed lighting and previously unused areas being repurposed as places to keep wine bottles, cookbooks, glassware and other frequently used items.
Think pull-out larders at waist height so you don’t have to bend down and reach inside a cupboard, shelving built into the end of an island unit, deep pan drawers, and sleek, sliding doors to keep the look streamlined.
A popular option for cabinetry, grey is also the colour of choice for kitchen floor coverings in 2016 – whether in warm charcoal or lighter steel tones. Easy to integrate into an existing scheme, and to mix and match with coloured units and furniture, the versatile shade looks great in both classic and contemporary spaces.
Invest in natural materials, or go for the latest luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) that have the look of real wood or stone, or laminate options with authentic wood grains or stone textures. Alternatively, polished concrete is growing in popularity, with many new designs re-creating the look.
‘Grey flooring is always stylish in a kitchen. Slate-look tiles, wood-print vinyl, and concrete and ash laminates all offer a surface that is water, stain and scratch resistant. Opt for an on-trend matt finish.’
– Sophie Hautekeete, international PR manager at Quick-Step
The Metro tile is by no means over, but 2016 will see the classic brick shape being used in more creative ways. Experiment with diagonal patterns, a parquet layout, or ombré, striped or block-colour designs. Look out for hexagonal tiles, too, which will add a stylish pattern to walls and floors.
‘The hexagon will be one of the most popular shapes in 2016. Whether used on a small feature area, over whole walls, or on floor coverings, they’ll create an interesting, luxurious look.’
– Louisa Charlotte, designer at Walls & Floors
Mixing worktop materials and depths
Give your kitchen a modern look by combining complementary or contrasting colours, materials and worktop depths to create defined zones for cooking, eating and washing. Mix both man-made and natural materials for added interest, plus on-trend metallic finishes. A thin worktop on a bank of cabinets, combined with a chunky top on an island, will look great and define the areas.
For added practicality, go for clever design features, such as a soft ridge around the edge of the worktop to stop water dripping off, and a gently sloping draining section with grooves to trickle water back into the sink. Whether opting for laminate, stone composite or wooden surfaces, technology now allowsfor ultra-slim styles that are durable and hardwearing.
‘Combining textures and colours can create a design that’s practical and stylish. Introduce materials such as timber, which works well in dining areas, and mix with natural and man-made stones to create a juxtaposition of texture and tactility.’
– Graeme Smith, senior designer at Second Nature
Kitchen designers are increasingly favouring schemes with sustainable elements, in both contemporary and classic styles, to create a look that is in touch with nature and emphasises an indoor-outdoor lifestyle.
To make the design work for you, consider using materials that emulate the look of locally sourced wood and stone, and complement the masonry used in your garden. Picture yourself cooking with your family – choose calming shades to give a busy kitchen a more relaxed feel and add bi-fold doors to link to your outside space, with a herb garden and grow-your-own planters positioned within easy reach.
‘Bare wood will be at the centre of design in 2016 – introduce the natural trend to your kitchen with acacia and cork furniture, solid wood chopping boards, a timber butcher’s trolley, or storage crates.’
– Paul Kenney, sales leader for kitchens at Ikea UK and Ireland
The key investment piece for 2016, an instant hot water tap will save you time in the kitchen by providing filtered cold, hot and boiling water on demand – some models even have the option of a sparkling water outlet. The taps are a great buy in the long term, as they remove the need for a separate kettle and filter.
‘Traditional monobloc mixers are slowly being replaced in the kitchen by boiling water taps that offer increased functionality. Look out for WRAS-approved models and new nanotechnology, which can filter out chlorine, harmful metals and bacteria.’
– David Cole, sales director at Perrin & Rowe
A key appliance trend for 2016, induction technology is the electric answer to gas cooking, but offers greater energy efficiency and excellent safety features. The induction market has grown by more than 60 per cent in the last three years* and hobs are now available in a range of styles with different-sized heat zones and flexible areas to suit different pan shapes, while touch-screen digital-display control panels make them user-friendly.
Induction hobs save energy by only heating the surface of the pan and not the surrounding area, while some even use residual heat to finish cooking. The heat is instant, so you can pause and resume cooking easily, or set a ‘boost’ for rapid heat-up. What’s more, the low-profile surface of the hobs makes them easy to clean, too.
‘A silent revolution is taking place in the kitchen, as traditional gas and electric hobs are fast being overtaken by induction technology, which is paving the way for a smarter, more efficient way ofcooking, as gas prices continue to rise.’
– Robert Soughton, freestanding cooking product manager at Leisure
A flush work surface, where the sink, worktop and draining board become one element, creates a neatly co-ordinating look. Advances in manufacturing technology mean that composite materials can now be successfully moulded to any shape to create a seamless worktop, sink, splashback and upstand all in one. This year, grey finishes will be popular, with options including stainless steel, stone composites and concrete-coloured laminates.
‘Moulded Silestone sinks that sit flush to a worktop in the same finish, is a trend that will continue to grow in 2016. A key look is a steel surface and sink with a slick, slim profile – as thin as 12mm.’
– Liam Hopper, owner of Leicht Battersea
Featured image: Fitzroy kitchen in Hartforth Blue, Slate and Partridge Grey, with a combination of chunky white quartz and maple worktops and natural wood flooring, from £11,000 for kitchen only, Second Nature