Get inspired for your next renovation with our round-up of 2020’s best benchtops, coolest cabinets and sexiest surfaces
Choosing cushions and rugs is lots of fun because it’s easy to swap them as the seasons change. But picking permanent fixtures like benchtops, tiles, taps and flooring is a more high-stakes pursuit. Choose well and you’ll love your new kitchen, bathroom or floor for years to come. But choose badly? You’ll be dying to redo it all again in another two years.
To make the tough choices easier, we asked four interior designers for the materials they’re hoping to see more of in 2020 and beyond. The results will make any renovation junkies out there drool at the selection on offer.
And if we were to identify an overarching theme that we’re moving towards? It would be taking inspiration from, and connecting to, nature – a timeless idea that can be a very helpful guide for what we choose to include in our homes.
1. Vic Bibby
Bibby + Brady, Napier
Natural materials and imperfection
At Bibby + Brady, we love working with natural materials and embracing the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi – or the acceptance of transience and imperfection. This reflects the connection with nature that is becoming more and more important in our modern world.
Colour and texture
I think we can expect to see tiles embracing more colour and pattern, a refreshing break from grey and neutral schemes, and a focus on artisanal luxury and handcrafted products. For benchtops, although white will always remain a popular choice, we can expect more colour and texture, as Kiwis treat the kitchen area as a more integrated, seamless living space with finishes that tie in with their living rooms.
Metropolis oyster benchtop by Santamargherita, POA, from Archant.
We’ve recently used a stone benchtop called metropolis oyster from Archant in a client’s kitchen. This material features a gorgeous textured, matte finish but still has pits and dents, and that’s part of its charm. The imperfections give it character and a sense of depth.
Sartoria TSquare tile in fresh thyme, POA, from Artedomus.
Tiles on tap
We love the Artisan range from Tile Space. This handmade-effect tile is available in a range of gorgeous colourways, with each one made up of varying tones. The Sartoria TSquare range from Artedomus has a similar feel and is divine.
Marble Calacatta gold benchtop by Florim, POA, from Archant.
Relatively new to the New Zealand market is a porcelain benchtop surface. The main difference compared to natural and engineered stone tops is that you can put hot things directly onto it without causing cracking or damage. We’ve just used Archant’s marble Calacatta gold by Florim in a kitchen, and it can also be used in bathrooms on the floor or instead of tiles inside the shower. I think we’ll be seeing and using a lot more of these porcelain surfaces in the future.
Gone are the days of plain white kitchens – today these spaces are an integral part of the home. Excava by Caesarstone is a beautiful material which mimics the beauty of stone weathered by time and nature. The warm pinky-brown colour is beautiful, and would look amazing teamed with oak and taupe tones.
2. Lucy Sargent
Pocketspace Interiors, Auckland
Natural-toned kitchen cabinetry
I am loving seeing all these natural, earthy hues trending in kitchens. For so long glossy white has been a default that we fall back on, but there are some beautiful sagey greens, muted taupes and rich, inky blues being made available in affordable finishes (eg Laminex’s new colour range). I am also loving the new Hampton vanity range from Plumbline, which comes in a stunning array of natural hues and would be so perfect for the idyllic NZ villa.
Hampton Opaco four-drawer wall vanity, $3499, from Plumbline.
Art deco and Japanese influences are also coming through to compete with the Scandinavian style which has been so popular for quite some time now. The luxury of the art deco style is reappearing in the form of mixed metals such as brass, copper and chrome, with more geometric shapes which tap into the trend for arches and curves. On the flipside, the natural materials and simple forms of the Japanese style are also back in vogue and sometimes these design languages cross over in unexpected ways.
Marvel Dream Brazil green tile, POA, from Atlas Concorde.
Precious stone tiles
Marble has been a dominant material in interiors for as long as I can remember; there is no denying it’s a classic. Taking things one step further, the Italian tile industry is starting to bring out tiles that mimic semi-precious stones such as quartz, greenstone and crystal. They are a bold look for those who dare to be different.
Marvel Dream crystal beauty tile, POA, from Atlas Concorde.
Sustainable products are growing more important every year for designers who are conscious of our impact on the environment. Warwick has just launched a new upholstery range called Rejoice which is made 100% of recycled plastic bottles with 70-80 plastic bottles in every metre. You would not believe how soft it is either – it almost has a velvety, brushed texture to it. You can also get outdoor rugs from Furtex made of recycled plastic that are so extremely durable, they can be left outside year-round and even be pressure washed. They are fabulous for softening outdoor lounge spaces which can often feel a bit harsh.
From left: Rejoice (Renew) in barley. Rejoice (Renew) in bracken. Rejoice (Renew) in stone. All from Warwick Fabrics.
3. Matt South
Matt South Designer, Auckland
‘Dramatic’ and ‘sumptuous’ are the only words to describe these surfaces. I’m predicting a strong move away from lighter marbles to much darker or more richly coloured varieties. These luxury materials are not just reserved for kitchens and bathrooms; moodier-toned stones are starting to show up on furniture for the bedroom and living spaces. Finishing lines and edge details are important elements of this trend – rounded shapes and raw edges make a strong organic statement.
Monmouth glass pendants.
Coloured, frosted, textured or even mirrored glass is a massive trend that will build for 2020. Iterated in many forms, glass plays with light, reflection and the heartstrings. Glass lighting, furnishings, objects and room divisions will all grow in popularity with particular emphasis on those with colour and texture. In a world dominated by mass-produced items, the unique handmade nature of blown-glass objects provides a break. Rooms adorned with colour-tinted glass have a playful quality that everyone can enjoy.
More than paint
Aiding the continuous drive towards increased tactility, paint textures create depth and warmth without the fussy feeling of wallpapers or the expense of plaster or concrete. Luxe or relaxed, this trend can range from a classically styled fresco or plaster texture, to the more industrial looks of concrete and steel. Paint textures add a dynamic look to the foundations of your scheme, and still allow room for further layers of pattern and variation.
A departure from perfect crisp lines and large-format tiles, smaller handmade-effect tiles are making their way on trend to meet the desire for tactility. With imperfections, softer edges and warmer colours, these scaled-down options are used to create texture and warmth in spaces often at risk of lacking such qualities. Tiles with hand-painted designs add character and softness, while small, mixed-module tiles are used to form subtle patterns.
4. Davinia Sutton
Detail by Davinia Sutton, Christchurch
Buddy X range
Buddy X is a fantastic tapware and accessory range in 12 metal finishes. Clean, simple lines keep the elements modern and architectural.
Buddy X kitchen mixer square spout, $649, from Plumbline. Clip top Blumotion hinge in onyx black, POA, from Blum.
Blum has created onyx hardware – dark steel-coloured hinges, used to camouflage the hinge, especially in joinery furniture. A very stylish approach to a hingeing system.
Black stainless steel
This new finish highlights the sleek architectural lines of Fisher & Paykel’s appliance range. A perfect fit for a dark, moody palette in a kitchen or to pop sharply against a lighter veneer finish.
Caesarstone Supernatural Rugged Concrete, POA, from Laminex.
Caesarstone Supernatural Rugged Concrete provides great design flexibility due to its premium quartz surface and natural beauty, providing a textural, neutral tone that works
in a variety of spaces.
From left: Oiled oak melamine, Premium ply melamine, French oak melamine, Hickory walnut melamine all from Prime Panels.
The Timberland range from Prime Panels adds a lovely textural effect to a melamine finish. This brings depth to a kitchen palette while providing a cost-effective result very similar to a real wooden veneer.