By Paul O’Brien, Kitchens International
The kitchen has long been the heart of the home – and never has this been truer than it is today.
From food preparation and cooking, to dining, entertaining and relaxing, it’s the room in which we spend more time than anywhere else in the home. As kitchens and living spaces merge, there are many ways in which people can make this part of the house a place that complements a busy modern lifestyle.
The kitchens of today have evolved a great deal over the past two decades - today, they tend to be completely integrated into the fabric of the whole home. Indeed, some of the furniture is more akin to what you might find within a living room. Because the trend is for open plan, seamless living spaces, many of the cabinets you can buy, for example, can now be used as multi-media cupboards.
The everyday workings of a kitchen can be skilfully hidden away behind shuttered doors. This presents a minimalist uniform bank of colour, which achieves a stylish and uncluttered look. For a futuristic twist, remote shutter doors allow you to close cupboards from the comfort of a chair.
Indeed, as designers and retailers like Kitchens International strive to meet people’s needs and create more liveable spaces; this room continues to become both more hi-tech and user-friendly. For example, one of the latest trends is to ensure extraction is as invisible as possible. Telescopic hoods, downdraft or ceiling extractors are fast becoming the norm, as they provide unobtrusive, quiet ventilation, without obstructing the sleek line of the kitchen.
As a population, we constantly strive to be more eco-friendly. As a result, recycling devices are incorporated into kitchens, with bins for separate types of recycling waste. There are also crushing appliances, taps that deliver instant boiling water and low energy appliances available.
In terms of colours and textures, the natural look still prevails. Dark timbers, greys and browns are still very much ‘in’, as these tones can be coordinated into the living room look. Two-tone colours, which complement each other, can be very striking and work well with contrasting islands and wall units.
All in all, given the sophistication and elegance of many of the materials now available on the market, the seamless ‘lived in’ look can easily be achieved in any modern kitchen.