The kitchen has long played a multi-functional role, providing a cooking, dining and social entertainment space. But now it has taken on additional roles of a home office and even classroom for school activities.
However, aesthetically, the kitchen still needs to be a homogenous part of ground floor living design.
It means designers now, more than ever, need to carefully consider how the kitchen can transform to suit changing requirements throughout the day.
There has been a marked trend towards more nostalgic designs and colours, and perhaps because of the lockdowns there has been increased interest in biophilic kitchens – bringing the outdoors in.
But in the post-COVID era, hygiene has become of greater concern so nature has been ‘enhanced’ with materials that resemble stones or timber but with antibacterial properties.
With hospitality venues closed, there is a renewed focus on making meals at home. It means consumers may be having to upskill their culinary techniques, as well as requiring more fresh and frozen storage to make the meals.
So here we look at the five top trends in kitchen design that will influence projects in 2021.
Since the COVID outbreak, when people began to work from home en masse, the kitchen added work office to its already multi-purpose role of a cooking, dining and socialising space.
Managing director of LochAnna Kitchens Paul Jenkinson states: “We need a functional room that can easily change from a working space in the day to a social space in the evening.”
Although the kitchen is still an open plan area, the challenge for designers may be to break up the layout into separate areas to give family members space but making sure the design is still harmonious.
Country manager of Bauformat Bob Marsden offers the suggestion: “A practical ‘screen’ can be created by implementing open shelving.
“Not only is this an attractive way of creating a subtle division between cooking, eating and living areas, a screen is also a practical area for storing fast-moving everyday items and displaying ornaments.”
When economic climates are uncertain, people yearn for nostalgia and so the redefined classic Shaker became the look for 2020 and going into 2021.
Glass fronted cabinets, pantries and storage larders, with feet for a freestanding look, are essential for a kitchen space which is a homogenous part of ground floor living.
And managing director of the Kitchen Bathroom Buying Group (KBBG) Bill Miller states, “freestanding dining tables will also make a resurgence, replacing the kitchen island as the new ‘must-have’ kitchen design.
A return to wood, marble effect surfaces, and more traditional colours such as green, which is touted to be THE choice for 2021, also neatly tie into the biophilic trend – bringing nature closer to consumers.
Southern area retail sales manager for Nolte Kuchen in the UK says: “We will see the colour green making its way into the home.
“Whether dark and bold or with the more subtle light shades of olive, it is sure to take over blue as the statement kitchen colour for 2021.”
Large capacity appliances
COVID has changed many aspects of life, including how we shop. Trips to the supermarket have become less frequent and the popularity of online shops has seen a reduction in available ‘slots’ for delivery. So we are buying more in one go.
Hotpoint brand manager Kimberley Garner reports: “Sales of refrigeration appliances rocketed [in 2020], as consumers were looking to bulk buy and rely on their cooling appliance to keep their food fresh, rather than visiting the supermarket on a regular basis.”
Retailer George Forsyth of Drew Forsyth & Co agrees pointing out “more and more homeowners are opting for large fridge freezers and even second freezers where space allows.
“Consumers are investing in appliances that help keep food fresher for longer.”
And head of operations at Brandt Design Julia Steadman adds: “High capacity appliances are on the radar for 2021 with range cookers and giant fridge freezers becoming more desirable as ‘size really does matter’ when entertaining at home or batch cooking and baking with ease.”
With hospitality venues closed during lockdowns, dining in has become the new eating out, as consumers continue to explore a new-found passion for cooking.
A study by Hotpoint, as part of its Fresh Thinking for Forgotten Food campaign, revealed “over a third (36%) of Brits said they rediscovered their love of cooking during the pandemic…and 90% said they intended to continue their new ways”, says Hotpoint brand manager Kimberley Garner.
Along with this interest has grown an intent to recreate ‘professional’ culinary experiences at home and technology to guide them through the process.
Head of brand and digital at Whirlpool Timothy Buszka explains: “Multi-function ovens now offer even more technology and features than ever before to make life easier for the consumer in the kitchen.
“Importantly, it is essential that the appliances does the ‘thinking’ too, monitoring, adapting and controlling the processes to ensure the consumer attains excellent results.”
A space where food is prepared and eaten is always going to be subject to health and hygiene, however in the midst of a pandemic it is unsurprisingly of greater concern.
Antibacterial worktop and sink surfaces, food disposer and hot water tap sales have benefitted from this focus.
Sales and marketing director at Franke UK Jo Rawstron says: “Home hygiene has never been more important than it is now and consumers will increasingly prioritise it, along with cleanability, when choosing kitchen products.
“Our Fragranite sinks have always featured Satinized coating, but this benefit will particularly resonate with consumers now.”
And hygiene could also be a focus for future appliance sales, such as hoods which offer air purification or washing machines and dishwashers with disinfection programmes.
Managing director at Fisher & Paykel David Woolicott comments: “There will be a high demand for self-cleaning appliances such as pyrolytic ovens, as well as appliances that kill bacteria, such as DishDrawers, which sanitise dishes by killing 99.99% of bacteria.”