Open-plan kitchens are here to stay, says Tom Howley


Tom Howley, director of Tom Howley Kitchens, has said that he believes open-plan kitchens will continue to be popular with consumers, despite some forecasting an end to the trend.

Speaking earlier this week at a joint press event with Caesarstone UK, Howley said: “A lot of articles are saying that people are putting the walls up again and that open-plan kitchens are coming to an end. I can assure you that it’s not – open-plan is still very, very big.”

He also added that he is still seeing positive consumer response to zoning as part of open-plan designs, such as areas for dining and socialising. He added that “cosy social areas” are one of the most popular requested additions to projects that Tom Howley Kitchens is currently designing.

He also reported a rise in interest for hidden areas in kitchens, which he believes are popular because “people can hide the mess away, so they’re left with a lovely kitchen to show to everybody”.

Discussing how kitchen design has changed since Covid, Howley said that a major aspect has been the rise in requests for areas such as “pantries, boot-utilities, bars and media walls”.

According to Howley, before Covid, there was still an interest in these areas, but “only as additions to kitchens we’d already done”. However, more customers are now viewing them as central aspects to their new kitchen designs.

Howley also touched on colour within design, saying that in terms of popularity, “we’re still selling huge amounts of grey and light grey kitchens”. He added: “People come in and they say that they love some of the other colours, but they still seem drawn to grey when it comes to making a decision.”

Along with grey, Howley said green colourways are also among the most popular, as well as shades of black and burgundy. He noted that these darker trending colours work particularly well with matt gold and varnished brass handles and furnishings.

Concluding with a discussion of trends in kitchen furnishings, Howley explained: “I thought varnished brass was going to disappear, but it hasn’t really. The only thing that seems to have disappeared is matt black. Matt black came in with door furniture, and it didn’t do very well or stay with us for very long. Copper also didn’t do as well, so that’s probably not going to be the next big thing either.”

Home > News > Open-plan kitchens are here to stay, says Tom Howley