The home - and particularly the kitchen is the focus of many factors affecting our lives and with recent recessionary chaos and insecurity, sometimes our kitchen and living spaces are the only places for refuge and comfort! Whether planning a complete kitchen refit, or just buying new accessories, it is always important to be aware of current trends. Below, in no particular order, are six current trends for you to integrate into your kitchen and home improvement thinking for the coming year.
Blending Between Kitchen and Living Space.
The distinction between living and kitchen space is becoming less defined as more furniture and soft furnishings are appearing the kitchen, making it a new home comfort zone. The use of wall space is increasingly given over to decoration and personalisation. Also there is a trend towards larger, open plan living spaces where every one can get together. Finishes and colours which do not match, fit an overall theme are being used more. Different finishes, textures and ornaments can add sophistication. Individual artwork, wall clocks, mirrors and items associated with the living room in the past, all add to the feeling that one is really in a living social area, not just for cooking.
The Eco-Friendly kitchen.
Eco-awareness is now essential for the your kitchen, this can be integrated seamlessly into your existing format. The recycling of kitchen and home refuse is now part of everyone's daily routine and as such occupies a space in our kitchen/utility areas of the home. If installing a new kitchen refit - you can use inexpensive natural materials such as recycled glass for work surfaces or recycled wood for work surfaces and flooring.
For kitchen products and accessories - No category is growing faster than in this area. Green products and materials are costing less and are becoming more desirable. With growing eco consciousness among consumers, there is particular attention being paid to products that save energy and water and consider where and how they originate. Environmental awareness brings with it a desire to use the natural character of wood, and all natural textures from fabric to stone. In product design, there is a welcome move to hand crafted, locally made items, and less machined perfection - more organic, hand made shapes.
It is great to have an element of personal luxury in our kitchen and dining areas - this can now be introduced in a smart way which integrates environmental and cost effectivity concerns. There is a continuing movement toward finding and utilising your own individual creativity, tastes and indulgences and implementing this into the homespace cleverly.
It is always interesting to combine second hand buys from flea markets with new buys and integrate this into your kitchen thinking. Flashes of color and bold shapes all offer an effective contrast with eco-friendly product and materials in the kitchen. The gift of the internet is immediate access to inspiration - the key words are research and experimentation, to get the intelligently acquired indulgence for your environment.
Technology is there to enhance life and not to complicate. Just like every other aspect of our lives, kitchens include more technology than ever. A lot of this technology is focused on making the kitchen more enjoyable and adding a bit of the flash factor, but this needs careful thinking - a smaller flatscreen TV could be less visually overbearing and more eco clever, for example. Conserving water and energy should be the collective aim. Energy saving and lighting fixtures and features are being constantly improved so you can have your glamorous effects- but with energy efficiency.
Smart Storage - Multi-functional Convenience.
Your kitchen should focus on making life easier - so 'multi-functional' features are the new way to go. Sinks with accessories, built-in food preparation boards, colanders, and draining trays. Storage that is both stylish and well engineered saves you both space and effort. Custom storage areas in cupboards with adjustable dividers and roll out baskets are good value-adders to kitchen fixtures. Integrate appliances set on wheels or movable central islands which allow you to easily rearrange the kitchen for convenience, cleaning, and entertaining guests which is not only multi-purpose, but fun.
With kitchen space limited, storage accessories play a greater role in helping to maximize your space. Because kitchens now are a prime socialising area, there is a growing need to make all design details work to best effect including the inside of storage spaces look as good as the outside- for when the nosy guest looks inside!
The Social Chef's Kitchen.
There is a continued cultural shift towards culinary home expertise and ever better food preparation. The result is the growing demand for professional restaurant grade appliances and anything that promotes fresh, healthy and better food preparation. Apparently, even copper sinks have made a comeback due to their rustic appeal and so I am told, anti-bacterial properties!
Shopping for local produce and from the likes of farmer's markets, together with a desire for healthy foods of quality is also responsible for the renewed enjoyment of home cooking. Speciality pots and pans, utensils, knives, appliances, and classics such as Le Creuset sets, all bring us to a more refined level in our culinary activity. We seem to be cooking at home again for family and friends with a new enthusiasm and verve!