Spring style

Worktops weighed down with clutter? Cupboards looking a little tired? Make this spring your time to invest in the new, with our Top 11 Kitchen Trends for 2014

We’ve all heard the old saying ‘the kitchen is the heart of the home’, and it’s true. But such a vital organ needs looking after. After all, it has to work hard: no longer is it just a place to cook and clean, where a woman exists to service her family. Today it’s the home’s hub, its real living room, a place where mum, dad, kids, and dogs come together to party, chill, work, and chat. And everyone cooks. To get the perfect space takes a lot of thought, and some investment too. We’ve spoken to local experts to get their tips for a spring kitchen makeover, and they came up with so many ideas we bust the trad ‘Top 10’ format wide open. From integrated technology (the sort that links your smartphone to your oven) to LED lighting, there’s something here to suit every taste and budget…

1 Embrace curves
Kim Kardashian isn’t the only one working what her mama gave her – this spring our kitchens have gone all ‘lovely lady lumps’ on us, as Kara Simpson of Formosa Kitchens in Bradford-on-Avon explains.

“Adding curves into the design of
a kitchen provides a softer and more fluent flow throughout the space,” she says. “By incorporating an internal curve design it can make the space even more versatile.”

This ergonomic look certainly makes a striking centrepiece for your room, and can be as bold or as subtle as you like – it could be a whole kitchen island that curves, or just the edge of a round sink that softens a corner. Indeed, corner sinks are pretty ‘on-trend’ right now – check out the jazzy pentagonal ceramic number from Villeroy & Boch’s range this year if you don’t believe us.

2 Lighten up
Long gone are the days when a kitchen is lit by one single lightbulb, crowned by a shade, in the centre of a room. Steven Graver, owner and MD of Steven Graver Original Kitchens in Wiltshire, explains:

“In the past I haven’t been a fan of feature lighting in kitchens, but with LED technology moving at the speed of light – sorry! – there are some great ways to create subtle lighting effects.”

Phil Harflett, showroom manager at Bradburys in Bristol, agrees that lighting should be a vital aspect of any kitchen design scheme.

“The right lighting can help to create atmosphere and distinguish between different zones in your kitchen,” he says. “Installing multi-level lighting in open-plan living spaces will add depth and interest, but one our favourites is LED-strip lighting, which not only adds a beautiful highlight to the overall design scheme, but can also serve to draw attention to key features and illuminate darker areas. You can have it hidden under units or in the recesses of handles, and in a variety of shades. Experiment with different colours for the ideal dining ambience.”

3 Mix and match
While once upon a time you might have stuck to traditional wood, perhaps professional stainless steel or trendy high gloss, this season the key trend is to mix and match. hobsons|choice, which has showrooms in Bath and Swindon, specialises in contemporary Germanic-influenced kitchen furniture, and has seen this trend take a hold for spring. Design consultant Vanessa Weeks says that one of the most popular choices in the showroom at the moment is a white laminate island with a rough-sawn
oak wall unit and breakfast bar with aluminium detailing – a contrasting look that would complement a modern home as a well as a classic farmhouse.

Vanessa Sayce, owner of Marmalade House in Bath, has a similar idea.

“My favourite kitchen space of the moment is a clever mix of chunky country and practical natural surfaces,” she says. “Think a large washboard farmhouse table mixed with natural slate, select painted wooden furniture and industrial-style lighting. This kind of eclectic kitchen feels stylish but relaxed, smart but lived-in.”

4 Join the matte pack
Shiny and new is certainly still big business when it comes to kitchen chic, but if you want a different contemporary look, Formosa Kitchens will soon have a range of matte finishes for its kitchens in a variety of colours. Key looks are sure to be the luxurious neutrals that were so big last year – think ‘50 Shades of Grey’, and then some. JJO, which is Formosa’s main supplier, offers a range of warm greys for its range of kitchens, such as Mussel, Dakar, Kashmir and a rather cooler, darker Anthracite.

5 Touch this
Bath’s hobsons|choice has taken this matte trend one step further, with the two new metallic surface finishes that it offers as part of the bulthuap collection – Sand Biege Aluminium and soft-touch paint.

“Unit fronts featuring the new soft- touch paint appeal to two distinct senses: not only are they velvet-soft to touch, but they are also easy
on the eye, thanks to an exceptional matte finish,” explains designer Helen Norrvall. “Sand Beige Aluminium has a unique anodising method, and bulthuap can produce aluminium surface finishes in fully reproducible colours that are robust enough for everyday use. These finishes create a warm, pleasant look and feel that changes with the light.”

6 Copper feel
For the last five years metallic have been big throughout the home – whether it be a lampshade or
a fleck of the shiny stuff on wallpaper
– but this year is all about copper. Rich, warm and luxe it’s a winner all-round, but nowhere does it work so well as in the kitchen: it can be brushed, aged, beaten or polished. Express the look with a stack of copper pans and utensils, or try a stovetop kettle, oven hood, statement lighting or even copper dining room chairs. Online interiors store Cox & Cox, based in Frome,
has a great selection to choose from, including a Copper Bamboo Pendant Lightshade for £60 and a pair of Parisian-style chairs [below] for £199.

7 Don some denim
Team Crumbs have embarrassed each other no end this spring
by all wearing denim shirts to work
on the same day (awkward!) but, as
with many catwalk trends, this look is just as applicable in the kitchen. Now, we’re not suggesting upholstering your dining room chairs in the stuff, but instead take inspiration from its multiple shades. From deep and dark to a gentle stonewash, there’s a nuance to denim tones that really suits kitchen cupboards. It goes very well with natural materials.

8 Go, go get yourself some gadgets
The introduction of more professional kitchen equipment into the average domestic kitchen is becoming increasingly popular, as we start to take what we eat (and how we cook it) more seriously. It could be a steam oven, where you can try out a spot of super low temperature sous vide cooking, or a fridge that lets you manage the contents, or it could be a super-slick, energy efficient induction hob.

“The ease of cleaning and impressive cooking functionality, combined with
a simple design that suits any home,
will see induction hobs become more common,” says hobsons|choice’s Vanessa.

9 Open up
No longer do you have a kitchen to cook in and a dining room to eat in: kitchens work best open plan. Cook speedy suppers while the kids do their homework on the breakfast bar, then sit down at the table together as a family. Phil Harflett, of Bradburys, says it’s important to design your kitchen so that it has natural flow.

“Painted cabinetry in whites and creams will maintain a feeling of space. To distinguish between different zones, consider installing a kitchen island unit to segregate the cooking and dining areas and provide space for food prep.”

10 Go eco
Having anything other than an energy-efficient, recycled and reclaimed kitchen in this day and age is just foolhardy. And (whisper it!) For Julie Mason, designer and owner at Coppice Guild in Bradford-on-Avon, you don’t have to look far for inspiration, either…

“Buying quality British-made products built to last, and using local makers, is a strong trend as the world becomes so global,” she says. “We love AGA, which has developed a range that uses a lot less energy than traditional models. It can give a gentle heat throughout the day, and then turn on ready for you to cook when you come home from work. Each oven or hotplate can turn on/off, unlike conventional AGAs, which is a real boon.”

And, while we love a bit of retail therapy as much as the next person,
if you want to consider your kitchen purchases more carefully, why not look to vintage kitchenalia? Try Wiltshire etailer www.thefoodiebugleshop.com for a collection of used crockery, silver, utensils and more, or head to Focus on the Past on Waterloo Street in Clifton for beautiful one-off kitchen antiques.

11 Make your own
It’s all well and good installing a fancy kitchen, but it’s pointless if you don’t make the most of it. Why not, for instance, try making your own butter with Lakeland’s Chef ’n’ Butter Maker? (Just pour in double cream, leave for 6-8 hours, then shake for a few minutes. Voila!) Meanwhile, Amanda Reed, of Leekes in Melksham, suggests a KitchenAid Artisan food mixer. The ultimate sexy gadget, it has all sorts of attachments – enough to remind you what your kitchen’s really there for. Get cooking!