The lowdown on the latest looks for the most important room in your home. Here’s all you need to know for your upcoming kitchen reno
Organic shapes and gentle curves give a more human touch than the hard lines of futuristic-looking kitchens. It’s been scientifically proven that rounded forms are linked to feelings of harmony and calm, so right away you’ll feel much more at peace if your island has a curve to it. There’s also less chance of a bruise from the sharp edge of a bench
Gloss finishes are no longer the absolute go-to kitchen finish says Christchurch’s Natalie Du Bois of Du Bois Design. This goes beyond cabinetry and extends into appliances such as refrigerators. Bonus: scratches and fingerprints are much less noticeable on a matte finish than a full gloss one.
• Gloss and matte finishes work well together so don’t feel you have to choose one or the other.
• Vikki Whyte of Modern Age Kitchens in Christchurch says Laminex acrylic panels are an affordable matte option for cabinetry fronts that are durable and hard-wearing. That way you can splurge on benchtops and hardware, which are in constant use and need to be match fit.
• An entirely matte kitchen can make a kitchen feel smaller, so if it’s already on the compact side, mix your textures.
Timber has always been a great choice for cabinetry. But, it’s becoming even more so and, the more natural it looks, the better says Vikki Whyte. Wooden cabinetry is an investment, particularly if you go the custom-made route. But they will give years of service.
• If your budget doesn’t stretch to timber veneer Vikki recommends Prime Panels’ ‘Timberland’ new plate finish on its melamine range, which has a realistic grained feel and looks great on both timber and plain colours.
• The grain in wood has real personality and should be amplified, so if you want a dark stain go for a marine ply. That way it won’t be such a shame when you cover up much of the grain as it would if it were walnut.
• Dark inky blues, deep olive greens and charcoals “sit beautifully with natural timbers,” says Vikki.
Brushed brass, aged iron and copper are key kitchen materials right now, says Natalie Du Bois. Think of metallic accents as the interiors equivalent to a great pair of shoes. They’ll pull all the other elements together and be a real focal point. Introduce these metals by way of door handles, lighting or tapware, or go all out with a splashback.
• It’s best to stick to one type of metal for a cohesive look.
• Brass doesn’t tarnish easily, so it’s a good low-maintenance option.
• Copper does need care with specialised cleaning products if you want to keep it gleaming. Or you could just opt to go with the lived-in patina.
5. Soft colours
For a pretty as a picture take on kitchens, start with a softly coloured tiled splashback. Layering textures and materials such as a concrete benchtops will enhance the mismatched appeal of this style of kitchen but keep the area relatively free of clutter, or the effect will be one of chaos, not charm.
• Open shelving is a great way of displaying favourite items, plants and adding personality. But there’s nowhere to hide, so keep on top of the organisation.
• Displaying unexpected items such as a portrait or photograph adds to the quirk factor.
• Don’t go retro with appliances. You want state-of-the-art pieces to balance the low-fi feel.
6. Hidden in plain sight
Because kitchens are often part of the open plan living space, hiding your fridge, dishwasher and so on is becoming increasingly popular, says New Plymouth’s Glen Johns, of Kitchens by Glen Johns. As such, handle-less, integrated appliances are stealing the show in kitchens right now. And, if an appliance is on show, it needs to really earn its place on the bench and be as much about form as function.
• Hot water taps mean kettles no longer need to clutter the benchtop.
• Rangehoods are much more discreet. “I can’t remember the last time I designed a kitchen with a stainless steel rangehood. These are now mostly custom-designed housings, ceiling-mounted or hidden in rear risers,” says Natalie Du Bois.
• Steam ovens, induction hobs and 400°C countertop pizza ovens really will help you up your game but only invest in the latest technology and appliances if you know you’ll use it over and over. Garages across the country are full of unused waffle makers and juicers.