Open plan living has changed the dynamics of family life and how we entertain. Here’s what you need to consider when creating a functional, integrated kitchen
It’s happened slowly but surely – the kitchen is now the star of our living spaces. What was once a practical room hidden on the fringes of the house has morphed into entertainment central, basking in the limelight of family life.
This transition to truly open plan living has meant that it’s more important than ever for kitchens to blend in seamlessly with the rest of your living area, creating a continuity that makes them feel fully integrated. Whether you’re planning a total renovation, or just want to make some tweaks, there are a few key considerations which will make your design decisions easy.
Here are our five top kitchen trends that are here to stay:
1. Keeping it sophisticated
We all know the value of a chic little black dress in our wardrobes and modern kitchens are in tune with this fashion maxim. Monochrome kitchens are in the spotlight, with shades of black taking top honours. Concentrating on one colour gives kitchens a sophisticated edge and you can conjure up interest by using different textures, subtle changes in finishes and highlights in materials like wood, copper, chrome and marble.
The key to this aesthetic is ensuring appliances like range hoods and wall ovens blend seamlessly with the palette you have chosen. If you’re looking for an integrated option, Fisher & Paykel’s Pyrolytic built-in oven is a stylish choice. The black glass and streamlined finish makes it recede and become part of the whole look of your kitchen cabinetry.
2. Creating continuity
Thanks to the growing trend for benchtops and cupboards to look like considered pieces of furniture and with the working pulse of the kitchen now largely out of sight, kitchens feel like the central part of your whole entertaining space.
The key to achieving this at home is to integrate appliances with your cabinetry. Choose appliances that feature integrated panelling —this creates a seamless look and helps to blur the lines between the kitchen and living area. Fisher & Paykel have a range of integrated appliances that include a French Door Fridge and Double Dishdrawer that both feature all the latest technology and front panels that make them “disappear”.
If you want an easy way to update your kitchen, painting existing cabinetry in a modern palette and installing a new benchtop and splashback can make a dramatic difference and give that wow factor.
3. Making a statement
Just as you express your personality in living areas with signature pieces, the new breed of kitchens need the same touch. Hang a bold painting that reflects the style of decor in your living area by the bench.
Including a few statement appliances can also enhance this melding of boundaries between areas, for example the Breville Barista Touch coffee machine not only makes great coffee but also lends a distinctive sophisticated European style to a kitchen benchtop
Details like placing a fruit bowl or vase that has a sculptural quality on the benchtop is also an easy way to enhance the ambience.
4. Having a space to create
Kitchens are a hub of creativity and cooking is often a pastime that we share with others. To make your kitchen the life of the party, you need a multi-zone space that can easily accommodate the kids doing homework, your friends round for drinks or those big family feasts that need plenty of bench space.
To cope with these demands ensure you have multiple work surfaces for easy prepping and consider the practical positioning of key items like your fridge, oven and appliances. Central islands with integrated seating are a stylish and practical solution that bridges the space between your living, dining and kitchen.
5. Using a touch of elegance
This is a word that never used to be associated with kitchens but these days many reflect this quality in spades. It’s not just a combination of colour palette, cabinetry and lighting but also attention to detail. Gone are the days when you would fill a chilly bin with ice to keep wine or beer cool when you have friends over — there are now alternatives like the Fisher & Paykel wine cabinet that are not only practical but also give kitchens a real touch of class.
When selecting small appliances look for styles and colours that echo the dominant colourway in your living space and segue into your whole design scheme, like Breville’s Luxe Kettle, and select from one range so you have a consistent style.
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