‘Switched-on’ consumers driving new kitchen trends

Graham Smith, senior designer with PWS, has revealed the latest kitchen furniture trends and explained how retailers can benefit from identifying new consumer buying patterns.

Speaking at the kbbreview Retail and Design Conference at kbb Birmingham, Smith (pictured) said the “online and social media revolution” means trends are evolving much more quickly, and urged retailers to stay in touch with new developments.

“Flickr, Instagram, Houzz, expert advice sites and a multitude of interior design blogs have changed the way consumers research,” he said. “They know what they want to achieve and have developed their own mood boards. There is a growing requirement for personalisation. Consumers are more educated and switched on to trends.”

Grey continues to dominate, Smith confirmed, “because it tends to be the colour that surrounds us most and we find comfort in that”.

“It’s establishing itself as the background colour to our lives and is very versatile. Lighter shades are popular and we’re moving towards adding blue and purple elements, but still with grey overtones. Warmer greys have a luxury about them, mixed with mauve, for example.”

Monochrome is also a popular trend, Smith continued, mixing black and white but with texturing and layering. Darker shades are being introduced to offer “deeper neutrals”, particularly inky blues, deep blues and chalky blacks.

However, Smith also pointed to the emergence of bright colour, linked to popular “make and mod” TV programmes like The Great British Bake Off. “Yellow and orange, which adds an earthy feel, work well in both traditional and contemporary, blurring the boundaries and offering an eclectic mix.”

Material trends, meanwhile, are veering towards natural stones and timbers with Silestone, Caesarstone and Neolith all offering practicality and natural aesthetics.

Smith also highlighted the trend towards multi-generational homes, meaning kitchens now needed to offer a wide range of functionality and accessibility. Meanwhile the trend for “open storage” to display decorative items breaks up the closed feel and adds personality and character.

Open plan is still a major trend, but has developed from simply knocking down the dividing wall from the kitchen to the dining rooms into developing many different “zones” within the house, but without overlapping them. The kitchen has taken on a variety of different roles, Smith said, including a work area and a play area for children

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