Grey is still going strong but you should avoid yellow and learn to love grainy textures and industrial chic, says Robin Ash
For some, the impetus for change will have come from spending hours in the kitchen at Christmas only to realise that the dated decor was the real turkey, while others will be extending their new year’s resolutions to get their homes in shape along with their figures. Whatever the motivation, the new year is a key time for kitchen sales and it’s when many manufacturers launch their new ranges.We ask the experts what trends they predict for 2016:
Rough with the smooth
Gerald Jones, the managing director of Masterclass Kitchens, says that the key trend can be summed up in one word: extremes. “This means using very smooth finishes, almost silk, and offsetting them with natural, coarse and rustic accents, such as timber, rather than using colour to provide contrast,” he says. “This can be flooring, parts of the furniture or even architectural elements such as doors or architraving.” Wooden flooring is coming back, but in different forms such as porcelain tiles or vinyl, according to Simon Burton, a design consultant at Wickes.
The rustic touch can also be added through a natural wooden worksurface. Hayley Simmons, the head of merchandising for Magnet, says: “After years of Corian and granite dominance in the kitchen, the traditional timber worktop is making a bold comeback.” Contrast can also be added with brass accessories, hardware and taps. “This trend will fuse with sleek, mirrored-tile splashbacks and high-gloss finishes to surfaces,” says Will Taylor, the author and blogger of bright.bazaar. “A peppering of some rustic, natural materials will keep the look sophisticated and not gimmicky.”
Naturals and metallics are key elements of the loft-style living aesthetic and Simmons says that kitchens incorporating the look will remain a firm favourite this year. “Industrial chic continues to dominate the home in 2016 and the look can be fashioned through the use of copper accessories. Combine this with Edison-inspired bulbs to create an environment that wouldn’t look out of place in a trendy bar.”
Utilitarian designs are essential to achieve the look. Julia Kendell, an interior-design spokesperson for the National Homebuilding and Renovating Show, which takes place in April, says: “The trend for pared-back, industrial interiors has reached the kitchen. Chunky styling, replacing wall cupboards with open shelving and using a mix of materials, including distressed timber, steel and honed granite or concrete surfaces are key to reproducing this look.”
Habitat is catering for real aficionados of the style with a new range of cement worksurfaces. Melanie Meilak, the manager of their kitchens business, says: “Cement is the real ‘in’ look for us this year. We’ve seen increasing demand for this material and introduced our new Riva range for those who want a minimalist industrial look. In this range the kitchen island can be made to look like a complete slab of cement in the middle of the room. The cement-effect worktop was a major hit last year, and we have taken it a step further and introduced a cement door and plinth to match. This can be complemented with our new copper handle, giving a neo-vintage look.”
Metals are also a key feature in the bespoke kitchens created by Tom Dixon Design Research Studio, which is championing a pared-back style focusing on stand-out units. “We’ve been keen to explore the deconstructed kitchen, where it is a sum of parts rather than a single object,” says Helen Arvanitakis, the head of interior design. “The key is that each part should be something extraordinary in its own right. Then unify it with a colour or material.” This can best be achieved with metals and strong colour, Arvanitakis says. One advantage of this trend is that you can get the look without updating your entire kitchen. Alex Gort-Barten, the managing director of Dualit, says: “Copper and brass now adorn furniture, lighting, appliances and gadgets. The trend can be introduced subtly into classic homes but also be used in a more daring way throughout contemporary styles.”
The all-conquering grey retains the top spot for colour schemes in 2016 but some predict that bolder tones may challenge its dominance in the coming year. David Grenham, of Harvey Jones, says: “We’ve recently seen an increase in clients opting for more daring, bright paint colours in their kitchens — either throughout the room or in specific areas such as islands or the inside of feature cupboards. We expect this to grow.” If you opt for this look, however, Jones is adamant that you should avoid one colour. “Anything yellow is history,” he says. “Alabaster finishes and yellow-based ivories are still popular but they’re going downmarket. It’s because they don’t lend themselves at all to anything grey or the trend for multicolour palettes and natural finishes.”
The downside of kitchen noises spilling into the social area isn’t putting us off open-plan living, and this is a trend that will continue in 2016. Burton says: “Customers now spend most of their time at home in the kitchen, whether they’re cooking, eating or socialising, and this is becoming a key influence in their design criteria. A great way to enhance the social feel is to have built-in speakers designed into your kitchen area.” The kitchen may have crept into the living room in recent years but now the living room is going the other way and, according to Jones, the trend for the kitchen to be a family entertainment room is growing. “People are opening spaces up to have soft furnishings, televisions and entertainment centres within the kitchen,” he says. “They’re even taking dining facilities out to make room for this informal living space. This is what’s driving the trends for natural finishes — people don’t want classic kitchen furniture in this new living environment.” To ensure this multipurpose space is fit to be a multimedia hub, electrical sockets with built-in USB ports are now a must-have in the 2016 kitchen.
Art of display
The trend for open shelving means that you can add a splash of metal with your tableware. “One of the biggest trends for this season is gold,” says Emily Moody, a buyer at John Lewis. “Our gold glassware range is proving very popular.” The borrowing from restaurant design is also spreading to how we eat, with informal social dining becoming the most popular way to serve food. “We’re noticing a demand for casual-food collections, and two of the most popular ranges include platters and bowls, which are ideal for sharing or parties. Customers have been inspired by the popularity of eateries, such as Russell Norman’s Polpo, where you eat in a more relaxed way.” This collection of restaurant-inspired tableware will expand with the launch on Monday of a new collection, Social, designed in collaboration with the chef Jason Atherton.