Kitchen design trends for 2016

This new kitchen by Melanie Craig typifies the trend towards mixing natural and whitewashed woodgrains with black ...
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This new kitchen by Melanie Craig typifies the trend towards mixing natural and whitewashed woodgrains with black benchtops and steel finishes.

It can be difficult to get an award-winning kitchen designer to talk about trends. Because, staying one step ahead of fashion is precisely what makes them stand out.

Robin Caudwell of Design CK, winner of the 2015 NKBA Kitchen of the Year Award, puts it this way: "When an idea becomes the norm, we don't want to know."

In other words, the designers have already moved on.

But they do acknowledge kitchen design is always changing as new materials and technologies become available. And while there is no reason why anyone even needs to be on-trend, it's worth remembering that a great kitchen with all mod cons is an investment that will raise the value of your home.

Robin Caudwell of Design CK won the 2015 NKBA Kitchen of the Year award with this bold kitchen. A textural white brick ...
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Robin Caudwell of Design CK won the 2015 NKBA Kitchen of the Year award with this bold kitchen. A textural white brick wall contrasts the sleek stainless steel benchtops.

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Conversely a kitchen that teams bright yellow and red in a glass splashback and cabinet pulls will have the reverse effect, no matter how much it set you back.

So what can we expect to see this year? Ingrid Geldof of Ingrid Geldof Design says there's a definite move towards refined-rustic looks and raw materials. "For example, floors with rough-sawn, knotted timber finishes may have defined, bevelled-edge planks. Natural-looking materials will feature in cabinets, but in combination with matte black benchtops, tapware and light fittings."

Black appliances are also becoming increasingly popular, helping to anchor a kitchen visually.

Caudwell says steam ovens are the latest must-have appliance. And riser downdraughts are replacing rangehoods, as more new models become available. He also says statement handles on cabinets are back, with new kitchens featuring a lot of chrome and acrylic.

This new kitchen designed by Ingrid Geldof teams bookmatched timber veneer with black and white.
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This new kitchen designed by Ingrid Geldof teams bookmatched timber veneer with black and white.

Like Ingrid Geldof, Caudwell is also predicting a big surge in textural surfaces, with woodgrains washed in light tones, such as grey-green, or painted to show the grain. "Finishes are dull, rather than glossy, although we are still seeing some gloss."

Designer Melanie Craig of Melanie Craig Design Partners, the 2014 NKBA Kitchen of the Year winner, says we can expect to see more colour, less white, and more personalised designs. "As designers, we are all tired of hearing the words, 'I need to keep it plain for resale'. I think potential buyers are sick of walking through yet another white home."

Craig says good design is all about working with the space, be it big or small. "Create interest for the eye and mix it up. Use different textures, contrast matte surfaces with shiny, timber with plain colours and incorporate height changes, but not from bench level to a tall oven tower."

But it's not just the physical elements that are changing. Craig says it's also the sociological and physiological changes that are impacting on kitchen design.

There is a strong move towards refined rustic finishes in kitchens this year. These ceramic floor tiles from Tile Depot ...
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There is a strong move towards refined rustic finishes in kitchens this year. These ceramic floor tiles from Tile Depot replicate distressed timbers.

"We are trending towards more fresh-food cooking, but often this is paradoxical – as the interest in locally grown and organically grown foods increases, so does the interest in international foods. Our palates are much more global; we eat foods from around the world, cooked in authentic utensils with authentic ingredients.

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"This paradoxical situation provides us with opportunities to innovate and develop multiple right answers – after all one size doesn't fit all. We are also eating more healthily, or at least trying to do so. This has an impact on how we design spaces for different foodstuffs to take into account requirements for storage, handling and preparation."

Modern technology is also transforming kitchens. It is not only influencing the look and feel of materials; it is also being used to create healthier options. Already we have seen silver antibacterial technology used in paints, such as the Resene Kitchen and Bathroom range, along with a mould preventative. And some benchtop surface manufacturers have been incorporating microban protection into kitchen surfaces for many years.

Now you can also get antibacterial tiles. A spokesperson for the Tile Depot says the tiles come with a protective microban surface. 

"The innovative, silver-based integrated technology has been cooked into the glaze to eliminate up to 99 per cent of bacteria from the surface."

In summary, here are the key design trends.

What can we expect to see more of?

- Matt black benchtops, tapware and light fittings
- Porcelain sheeting and tiles that replicate the look of marble or raw concrete on splashbacks and walls
- Rustic timber finishes and bevelled-edge planks
- Moodier, richer, darker colours
- Concealed lighting in joinery
- High-quality LED strip lighting
- Good diffusers for unobtrusive task lighting
- Copper and aged bronze in fixtures, fittings and wall panels
- Large-format tiles
- Moroccan-look tiles
- Beaded glass splashbacks
- Specific storage solutions for authentic cooking utensils
- Bold, statement handles
- Steam ovens
- Riser downdraughts

What can we expect to see less of?

- Large flecked benchtops
- Plain glass splashbacks
- Highly finished timbers
- All-white kitchens
- Recessed handles
- Rangehoods

 - Stuff

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