It’s often said that your kitchen is the heart of your home. For many people, it’s more than just a place to prepare meals. It’s a central meeting point, a hub of family activity.
Your kitchen can also help to define the look and feel of your home, which makes it a very personal space. That is why a lot of people will put so much time, effort and energy into getting their kitchen just right.
If you’ve been thinking about updating your kitchen, but you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry. We spoke with Yolk interior designer Nicola Smith to get her insights into the latest kitchen design trends in Canberra.
“Lately we’ve seen a lot of people in Canberra move away from the sleek, minimalist kitchen designs that have been popular over the last few years.” says Nicola. “These days a lot of Canberrans want kitchens that show more character and individuality. So they are pushing back from the straight lines and flat surfaces and starting to introduce more textures and colours and design styles.”
“The last few kitchens I’ve designed have been an eclectic mix of modern industrial and classic French or European influences. You will see ultra-modern appliances alongside vintage elements, such as tapware, light fittings and detailed handles and nobs. By bringing together elements from other eras with contemporary design principles and high-end finishes, you can create a space that has a charming, homely and historic look, but still feels modern, chic and stylish.”
“Ultimately, people are utilising their kitchen as a stand-alone feature room. Rather than blending it in with open plan living areas, more and more people are choosing to close their kitchen off a little bit and break up that space. They still want it to feel like part of the whole, so they will use similar or complementary colours, finishes or features in other rooms to tie them together cohesively.”
An Emphasis on Functionality
According to Nicola, home owners are really thinking about how they will use their kitchens and embracing designs that will help them get the most out of the space. They want kitchens that look great, but are also functional and suit their lifestyles.
“Lately, I have seen people extend their bench tops into a pantry area that opens up and doubles as a work space. It allows you to leave appliances plugged in and ready to use, but shut them away behind closed doors when they are not in use.”
“Our clients are considering how their kitchens will wear after 10 years and how their changing lifestyles will impact on the useability of the space. Not long ago, the trend was to hide or remove handles and use finger pulls instead, but now stylishly designed handles are becoming an important element of the design. There are some older homeowners who are concerned their hands won’t be able to easily use a hidden finger pull to open their cupboards or drawers, so a beautiful handle or door knob is much more appealing for them.”
“Kitchens are also becoming a place for more than just cooking. A lot of new designs will include a space or nook for a small work office area. These designs will have a bench or a corner with outlets for laptops, mobile phones and tablets, so people can watch shows, listen to podcasts or look up recipes while they are cooking. People are going to do these things in their kitchen anyway, so it’s about creating a nicer place to do and store these things.”
Clever Use of Technology
Nicola has also seen a greater emphasis on integrating ultra-modern appliances and clever technology into the kitchen.
“Some people are deciding they don’t want to have a large fridge that takes a significant amount of their usable space. Instead, they are opting for separate fridges and freezers that can be used in different spaces. Cool drawers are a really impressive and effective addition to a kitchen. They can be integrated into your bench, keeping things fresh, chilled or frozen and easily slide out when you need to access them.”
“We’re also seeing kitchens with multiple ovens. Usually this will be a larger, dedicated oven along with a smaller oven that also doubles as a microwave or a steamer.”
This trend really comes down to efficiency. Canberrans are looking for options that will let them save space and time. If you install an oven that is also a microwave, then you don’t need to waste space on a microwave. If you install an instant hot water system, then you can throw away your kettle.
An Understanding of the Importance of Design
These days, Canberrans are a lot more conscious of the importance of good interior design when updating their homes. And they are more aware of the value a professional interior designer brings to the table.
“A good interior designer,” says Nicola “will talk you through all the different elements in your kitchen, the space, the finishes and the appliances and explain how they will impact on the overall look, feel and useability of the room.”
“We look at options for fridges and explain the benefits and drawbacks of each. You might have your eye on a fridge with a lot of really useful features, but if it has a small overall capacity, you might actually be better off with a larger fridge with less features.”
“We will also cover other elements that people often overlook, such how easy the room will be to clean and the durability of the materials you are using. You don’t want to use materials that damage or stain easily. That’s why a lot of people these days are using engineered stone bench tops rather than marble or other materials. They are stain resistant and much easier to repair.”
“Ultimately, kitchens should be designed with the end user in mind. Your kitchen is such an important part of your home. You want it to look great, but you also want it to be functional and enjoyable, because you’re going to be using it a lot.”