Whether your space is a compact galley in a bijoux apartment or a grand open-plan room in a family home, investing a new kitchen can be exciting and daunting in equal measures. It’s also a major expense, so it’s important to get it right first time.
There are so many choices to make it can be confusing so to help, we’ve discovered the very latest looks for kitchens – from new twists on classic Shaker to the latest utilitarian loft-look – to show that whatever your taste, budget or space constraints, there is a design out here that’s a prefect fit for you. So read on and be inspired to create the kitchen of your dreams.
1. INDUSTRIAL TEXTURE
As an antidote to today’s modern fitted kitchens, industrial style is all about practical cooking spaces with a back-to-basics feel. Inspired by urban loft apartments and reinvented warehouses, its key elements include exposed architectural features, such as steel beams, bare-brick walls and reclaimed factory lighting, combined with touches
of brushed copper and gold.
Show of your walls
Take inspiration for splashbacks and walls from materials found at old railways or factories – bare brick, unpolished concrete or metro tiles in a brickwork pattern will all add character. Go for grout in a grey or stone-coloured putty to really accentuate the pattern, even if you choose white tiles.
Mix up your materials
Create impact by pairing natural materials that have patina and texture, such as wood and marble, with sleeker, glossier finishes. Understated cabinets in neutral shades will let distressed timbers, concrete surfaces and rugged-hewn stone really stand out. Even butler’s sinks and other traditional buys can look right at home here – simply add an industrial twist, such as exposed copper pipes and taps, for a factory-style update.
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Add metal elements
Non-porous and widely available, metal’s a key material choice for kitchens. What’s more, its long association with construction makes it the perfect partner for a contemporary industrial look. Steel worktops or unit fronts are durable and easy to clean, while brushed metal will give any scheme that lived-in look. Elsewhere, add metallic touches with stainless-steel appliances, zinc seating, wirework storage
and wire cage bulbs.
Get the right light
Reclaimed lighting, often featuring oversized metal or opaque glass shades, is a fairly simple way to add utilitarian chic to a kitchen. Whether they’ve been salvaged from an old factory or they’re authentic-looking reproductions, industrial-style lights are often a budget-friendly choice. If you’re buying originals then embrace the chipped paint or tarnished surfaces – the more battered, the better. Simply hang them above an island or dining table to bring light and style to your space.
Give a classic Shaker kitchen an innovative twist by stacking and securing metal-framed coffee tables together to build an island. Match with an open unit made by screwing a side table into the wall upside down.
Buy the key pieces
Henley oak kitchen, from £13,000; large Carter coffee tables, £990 each; Carter rectangular side table, £340; all Neptune
The deep, earthy feel of reclaimed wood is perfectly matched by a richly-veined Corian – sticking to a calm palette of slate and brown will help bring them together. Corian Lava Rock, £250 per linear m, Earth Heritage range, DuPont Corian
2. MODERN CLASSIC
Shaker kitchens have a timeless look that never seems to go out of fashion. Whether you team them with country-style accessories or hi-tech gadgets, they make a solid base on which to build your scheme. Traditionally associated with hand-made, bespoke joinery, their popularity means they’re now available for every budget, and the latest subtle finishes teamed with sleek worksurfaces bring them bang up to date.
Make it modern
Plain timbers or pale paint shades are the most effective ways to give Shaker cabinets a contemporary twist. Avoid highly grained woods such as walnut in favour of pale oaks, and think about a calming colour palette of soft blues or shades of stone from companies such as Fired Earth or Farrow & Ball. Remember that colours can alter significantly in changing light, so pick tones that appear fresh by day and welcoming and warm at night by testing colours at various places in the room.
Dress to impress
Extraordinarily versatile, Shaker units look at home in almost any setting. Whether you’re opting for a hand-made solid-wood design or a budget veneered style, their simple lines mean that dressed with sleek, built-in appliances, contemporary furnishings and chic handles, they will feel fresh and clean. For a more traditional effect, add subtle Edwardian flourishes such as half-pencil beading or rustic-style carved detailing.
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Keep a low profile
Slim-profile worktops, from 10mm deep, are an excellent choice for giving a contemporary edge to Shaker style. The latest durable composites are a good choice, or go for sleek stainless steel – it will mark over time but the patina is part of its charm.
Pick your appliances
The traditional heart of a kitchen, range cookers create a focal point and add warmth to a scheme. Pick one in a primary colour to contrast with units in cool white or elegant grey, or choose one of the latest steel models from companies such as Rangemaster or Leisure to ramp up the contemporary mood. Keep the rest of your appliances out of sight by investing in integrated models that sit behind cupboard fronts.
A traditional part of any kitchen, larders take storage to another level, with space for small appliances, as well as everything you need for a good day’s baking, and more. Contrast the interior with the exterior for a modern effect. Use rich wood accents to warm up a cool grey kitchen and add a natural element.
Buy the key pieces
Harptree in-frame kitchen, from £18,000, Caple
Make it eye-catching
Sit a bold red range cooker at the centre of your Shaker scheme for a colourful focal point. Give an island or peninsular unit focus by hanging a pair or trio of decorative pendant lights above. Designer Shaker kitchen in Ermine True White, from £2,339, Wren Kitchens
Hammerton Traditional Farmhouse, The Main Company
3. PATTERN AND COLOUR
It seems that the days when we all wanted to play it safe with decoration are gone. With more people improving rather than moving, we’ve taken the opportunity to add some personality into our homes. Kitchen makers have taken this new-found bravery on board and you can now buy kitchen cabinets in a huge array of hues, textures and patterns. While blues and greys are still very much in evidence it’s to the darker sides of this spectrum that we’re turning, with indigo, navy and graphite grey proving popular. If your style is more understated, then rich shades such as olive green, aubergine and graphite are a good choice.
Get the right finish
Many of the latest ranges are available in hi-gloss, which can add to the impact of a strong shade but we’re also seeing matt finishes becoming increasingly available. Hi-gloss finishes are a good option in a small space as they will help to bounce light around the room and improve the sense of space. Their shiny finish is a magnet for fingerprints, though, so will need regular wiping, particularly if you have small children. Matt cabinetry certainly shows marks less, so are great if you don’t want to be always with a cloth in your hand. It’s a finish that will add softness to a scheme, too.
Choosing a bespoke kitchen means you’ll probably be able to select the exact colour you want. Companies that specialise in painted cabinetry, such as Harvey Jones and John Lewis of Hungerford can provide from an almost unlimited range. Buying a painted kitchen also means that if you get tired of your chosen shade in a few years, it can be easily repainted.
Concerned that a strong colour could be overpowering? Then think about mixing and matching your cabinetry, using a bright shade as an accent against wood units or by choosing doors in a more subtle shade to break up a bank of bolder cabinets. An island in a zingy shade will inject some style without being too scary.
If you want to play it safe, then opt for plain units and inject some colour and pattern elsewhere. Tiles in a wide range of patterns and colours are available and can add a real sense of fun in a scheme when used in a splashback. Choose from brick-shaped tiles in blacks, blues and racing greens or pick on-trend bold geometric patterns in rich Moroccan hues. Surfaces with a bold pattern are big right now, and hardwearing solid surfaces copying natural patterns mean that previously unsuitable materials such as marble can be replicated to give the look without the cleaning and durability issues.
Make a match
Create a sense of harmony by picking a favourite shade and then using it to highlight and connect several individual elements of your design.
Buy the key pieces
Island and backpainted splashback in Chalk Violet, Fired Earth. Bespoke kitchens start at £45,000, Lewis Alderson
Be on trend
Dulux’s Colour of the Year is denim, so blue is set to be big. Team it with rich knotty wood for modern nautical style. Walls painted in Colour of the Year Denim Drift; island painted in Cobalt Night; both flat matt emulsion, £24.49 for 2.5ltr, Dulux
Don’t be afraid to use more than one colour to highlight changes in furniture style. Include a neutral between bold shades to avoid a clash. Add another pop of colour by using a quick lick of paint to match open wall shelving with kitchen units. Style 2 with Dove Grey matt cabinetry; Umber matt drawer feature; Graphite matt Shaker pantry; all from £10,000, BioGraphy Kitchens
4. SLEEK AND CHIC
Looking equally at home in a modern apartment or a period home, the latest high-gloss laminate, lacquer and solid-surface cabinets are a fuss-free, contemporary option. Great for those who want a streamlined look, they are packed with innovations to keep your space hard-working and clutter-free. If high-gloss isn’t for you, choose matt-finish units but keep them flat-fronted with minimal handles for that contemporary touch.
Choose clean lines
If it’s a linear look you’re after, opt for handleless cabinetry. Most have pull recesses of push-open mechanisms, or choose electric fittings like Blum’s Servo-Drive system that opens up doors with the merest light touch.
Find your perfect finish
High-gloss finishes are popular but look out, too, for softly textured matt doors and the latest metallic shades to add bling. Some designs have pull recesses in contrasting colours for added interest. If you’re on a budget, laminates are inexpensive and hard-wearing, but if money is no object, then durable lacquer or a solid surface such as Corian looks sophisticated.
Mix classic and cool
If you don’t want to commit to an all-gloss look, you could bring a modern edge to a run of traditional Shaker units by adding sleek bar handles and built-in appliances topped with cool white composite worktops. For added contemporary chic, pair them with slab-fronted gloss wall units.
Banish kitchen clutter
Keep surfaces clear is essential to maintain the sleek finish, so opt for integrated dishwashers and fridges. Plan in plenty of storage with deep pan drawers, utensil hanging rails and even tambour units with rolling up-and-over doors to keep worktop appliances like kettles and toasters out of sight. Floor-to-ceiling cupboards can hide a multitude of sins, too.
Go for gadgets
The latest streamlined tech creates a cutting-edge look – think boiling-water taps, pop-up extractors and internet-connected appliances. Induction cooking plates set into worktops is super streamlined, or replicate the look with an inexpensive frameless hob.
Make it curvy
A central island unit with breakfast bar makes for a family-friendly kitchen, and you can make it child-safe by opting for gentle curves so there are no sharp corners for little ones to run into.
Buy the key pieces
Designer handless kitchen in Cashmere Gloss, from £2,066, Wren Kitchens
Work with wood
Sleek needn’t mean glossy and handleless. Grained oak still looks current teamed with grey work surfaces. Mix and match seating heights and styles to give a contemporary design a more electric feel. Oak Slab kitchen, from £1,600 for eight units, Magnet
Add neat niches
Break up a wall of flat-fronted units with vertical and horizontal storage niches for displaying a few key pieces – just don’t let them become dumping ground for clutter. Add some fun elements with quirky accessories such as champagne-cork bar-stools and multi-shade pendants. Fitted kitchen, from £35,000, Davonport
5. WOOD ACCENTS
Durable and beautiful, wood kitchens have long been the choice for families wanting a material that’ll stand up to the rigours of busy modern life.
Pick your timber
Recently, paler woods such as beech have made way for darker timbers including wenge and walnut, but the very latest look is rough-look raw wood in washed-out tones. Classic oak remains
a firm favourite though, and has been given a new lease of life with lighter finishes that show the depth and beauty of its grain.
Choose a veneer
Wood-veneer designs are made using a layer of timber bonded
to an MDF base. They can be cheaper than solid wood – though not always, as they do require hand-finishing – and are more stable in a damp environment because they’re less likely to warp. You can also achieve lovely effects, such as bookmatching, which is where the grain flows seamlessly across several units.
Go for faux
Don’t worry if a real wood kitchen
is out of your price range – recent improvements in manufacturing mean that the latest faux-timber foil-wrapped doors have a more realistic look, making them an easy-on-the-eye budget option.
Mix and match
Very large expanses of wood can make a room feel oppressive, so in bigger kitchens it’s a good idea to add a few doors in a contrasting material. It’s also wise to resist the temptation to top timber units with wooden worksurfaces. Instead opt for solid-surface materials such as Corian and Silestone, and add metal handles for another contrasting element.
Group grains carefully
Different woods don’t always work well together, so consider existing furniture before you buy a new kitchen. If you already have a wooden dining table that you don’t want to replace, or a much-loved freestanding dresser, then choose cabinets in a similar shade to avoid them clashing.
Ensure your timber is from an ethical, sustainable source. Your kitchen company should be able to tell you about the supplier.
Team with steel
Metallic touches such as steel plinths and handle pulls help add sparkling highlights to bookmatched walnut cabinets. Ruby-toned copper is the perfect partner for warm timber – try a high-sheen finish to contrast with the matt wood.
Buy the key pieces
Ambience Pro range in walnut and Fushion Pro in Glacier White, from £25,000, Stoneham
Show it off
Blocky timber shelves and glass-fronted display cabinets work well in a classic kitchen and are
an effective way to show off curated collections of your favourite pieces. Cool white worktops and wall tiles are a clam complement to busy-grained wood doors. Painted and oak Shaker kitchen, from £18,000, Harvey Jones Kitchens
Add some black
Pair linear-grained ash-veneer timber with solid black accents in the shelving, lights and fabrics to create a sense of drama Torhamn doors, from £32 each; Falsterbo wall shelves, £70 each; Ryggestad dining table, £150; Agen chairs, £22 each; all Ikea
Do you like our pick of the best kitchen trends for 2017? Which trend is your favourite?