1 Welcome to charcoal
Pale grey may be today's go-to neutral in home décor but off-black is where it's at if you want a kitchen that packs a punch. This Neptune kitchen is painted in the darkest Charcoal, providing a gutsy monochrome scheme. A flat paint finish will produce a softer look than one with sheen but do check for fingerprint resistance, as darker colours are well known to show every mark. Keeping walls and ceiling pale will ensure the largest surface area is still the lightest.
2 A brighter shade
Bright colours are taking the fashion catwalks by storm this season so it's no surprise we're seeing bold shades, such as this peppy mustard yellow, filtering into the interiors world. Country kitchens can enjoy a slice of the action without overpowering the senses by keeping the bright colour below eye-level and pairing with ‘antiqued' whites - try Old or Shaded White by Farrow & Ball - that soften the impact. We love the mix of old wooden crates, exposed brickwork and polished concrete in this eclectic space.
3 Metal works
Proof positive that the trend for metallic finishes works in a country setting, this fabulous handmade copper sink looks stunning against cabinets painted in the inky hues of Mylands' Bond Street. ‘The sink's hand-beaten surface is not only anti-microbial but also extremely tactile, just right for creating a standout focal point,' adds Middleton Bespoke's Design Director, Jasper Middleton. ‘Add polished brass knobs to your kitchen cabinets to enhance the metallic impact.'
4 Larder love
A modern take on the traditional pantry store, a dedicated larder unit is fast-becoming a kitchen essential. Storing all your dried and tinned goods in one place, all accessible and easy to see, speeds up ingredients gathering before cooking. ‘Larders are also being celebrated for their design impact,' says Kiran Noonan, Sales Director at John Lewis of Hungerford. ‘As a standalone piece, people feel more comfortable experimenting with bold colour on a larder, which can be incredibly effective.'
5 Tradition with a twist
Many will argue that traditional kitchens will never lose favour but even solid design requires subtle updates to keep it fresh and interesting. ‘A classical painted kitchen is absolutely timeless and that's what makes it a perennially popular choice,' says John Stephens, Director of Rencraft. ‘The secret is in the details. Turned end columns, in-frame doors and two-tier plate racks all add the character and variety that stops classic design from becoming old-fashioned.'
[caption] Rencraft's Hand Painted kitchen starts from £18,000.
6 Natural state
Rustic finishes are enjoying a style revival, helping to bring wooden cabinetry back into favour. ‘The rustic country look is top of the cool charts and it's all about beautiful handmade cabinets in super-stylish but simple designs,' reports deVOL's Creative Director, Helen Parker. ‘What makes the trend for rustic surfaces so appealing is that it is not a mass-produced, generic look. Timber left in its most natural state is being used to create beautiful furniture with providence and soul.'
7 Shelf life
Put it down to the recession or environmental concerns, but there's been a noticeable surge in pared-down, simple design that is unfussy and functional over the last few years. Enter open shelving in lieu of wall cupboards. With more than a hint of the utilitarian Victorian pantry, this look shakes up the traditional base and wall cupboard combo without compromising your kitchen's storage capacity. Open shelves are less dense than solid cabinets, so also work as an effective space-enhancing tool in rooms with low ceilings or limited natural light.
For more inspiring home improvement ideas visit the Country Homes & Interiors homepage.
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Thea Babington-Stitt is the Assistant Editor for Ideal Home. Thea has been working across some of the UK’s leading interiors titles for nearly 10 years.
She started working on these magazines and websites after graduating from City University London with a Masters in Magazine Journalism. Before moving to Ideal Home, Thea was News and Features Editor at Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc and Country Homes & Interiors.
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