Wood is making a comeback in a big way, according to a top kitchen designer.
Neil Lerner of Neil Lerner Design in London has predicted a big demand for wood finishes, in particular in dark colours such as graphite, grey and black.
Lerner said he was seeing particularly high demand for stained oak in a grey finish, as well as black elm (pictured).
He claimed darker woods offer a more contemporary look that works in the living areas of the home, feeding into the trend for ‘seamless living’ throughout downstairs open-plan designs.
“We are also seeing a resurgence of textured finishes in woods, such as Thermal Oak, which has a ‘rough’ finish that blends well with the modern lifestyle,” said Lerner. “It’s the antithesis of the polished look and we encourage clients to ‘feel the grain’. All these dark woods are ideal for mixing with other materials like marble and stainless steel for a bespoke effect that effectively personalises the space for the design envisaged.”
He added that accent colours would remain in demand, as well as metallic, particularly bronze, which add an “original and individual” slant to a design.
Scottish retailer Kitchens International said it had also been seeing cleverer uses of textures and finishes, with modern timber-effect doors that offer a softer look, while the trend for concrete-sprayed or concrete-effect doors was continuing to grow.
According to the retailer, kitchen designs are also moving towards more spacious and linear layouts that maximise efficient storage.
It also claimed that “interior architecture” would be the new buzzword and would see simple and relatively affordable materials used to create spaces and storage. This would be complemented by more expensive kitchen furniture and appliances, it added.
Angus Mackintosh, senior sales designer at Kitchens International, commented: “This trend moves out into living areas too, where furniture and storage items will be in-built – often using kitchen cabinetry throughout – which will highlight fewer, more dramatic standalone furniture.”
This linear look features floor-to-ceiling units with no plinths or space above the unit, helping to maximise storage.
Mackintosh pointed out that open shelving with internal lighting was also becoming more popular, as it produces a more “living room feel and look” in the kitchen.
Smart appliances were developing at a rapid pace, KI said, with boiling hot water taps now being seen as a necessity in today’s kitchens.
Islands have remained popular, with larger kitchens now incorporating two. This usually includes a breakfast bar or banqueting seating being attached to the initial island.
It said that another growing trend among homeowners was multi-user kitchens, which is driving advances in movable worksurfaces, appliances and tables.
KI claimed that the popularity of white gloss cabinetry was waning, as more muted colours and textures take over in the browns, greys and creams.
However, this has not been the experience at The Used Kitchen Company, which reported that white kitchens had been “flying out of the door” and it anticipated that this trend would extend into 2018.
“Family living is now gravitating to the kitchen, thanks to the influence of TV cookery programmes and an increased connectivity with food,” said The Used Kitchen Companys founder and director Looeeze Grossman.
“Christmas amplifies the food/social need, creating a desire among homeowners to install something special, before the festivities begin.
“White is always a popular colour choice at this time of year,” he added. “It can be the perfect festive backdrop for decorations, candles, tableware, even wine glasses, of any hue. It is also ultra-elegant and, in colour psychology terms, suggests the purity that we associate with Christmas. With this rationale, and the stunning white kitchens that we have on offer here, we expect the wave of interest in white kitchens to extend well into 2018.
“It is also worth noting that white is often a colour of kitchen that first-time buyers are attracted to, so the white used kitchens we supply are usually in well-looked-after condition. In fact, nobody will know they’re used unless the buyer reveals that fact.”