2020’s kitchen rules

by Andy Bryenton

It’s life imitating art imitating ‘reality’ in this year’s hot kitchen design trends, which expand on the re-definition of the kitchen, not as an austere workspace designed to nickel-and-dime your house price for the next occupant but to be the palette from which you can create culinary soul.

The old, stark white and stainless kitchen is out, according to US interior designers and the latest home renovation periodicals. Inspiration for the new year’s look has come from the plethora of kitchen and cooking-themed reality shows and game shows, which dominate broadcast prime time. With top chefs espousing their philosophy of cooking as an artistic process, it’s becoming less about putting three veg and a chop in front of the family at nights, than it is about having a space in which to be happy and creative.

Hence colour is back in the kitchen, with coloured cabinetry or cupboard doors an easy fix to brighten up space. Natural wood is back, with wood panel flooring for wet areas now a very viable and affordable technology to replace vinyl. Touches like bay windows with edible herbs planted in terracotta pots point to another big trend — the visible pantry. Increasingly, the provisions that stock a kitchen are as important in terms of the aesthetic as the appliances. So while exposed industrial-style tapware in gunmetal, brass, copper and pewter is big — glass-fronted fridges and open shelves are bigger. It’s ostensibly about being able to see just where everything is as you piece together a gourmet dinner, but the added bonus is that your friends and guests will be able to see the fine cheeses, fresh veggies, lovely cuts of meat and aromatic, exotic spices on display. The kitchen is no longer about hiding ingredients, but about proudly displaying the fact that you have things like preserved Greek lemons, crushed almonds and wasabi aioli at hand.

The final new addition to the modern kitchen is less inspired by reality telly and more practical, however. Three-D printing technology has now given tile designers the opportunity to recreate large-scale slabs of ‘marble’ out of ceramics. The time has come when a gigantic marble-look benchtop can be fitted without fear of those preserved lemons turning it to a pitted mess.