Eco-credentials, natural materials and the industrial theme continue to be the focus of kitchen trends in 2020
With the kitchen now being a homogenous part of ground floor living space, the requirement for this functional zone to bring a level of warmth of cosiness is reflected in the growth of natural materials.
Enter timber and wood-effect furniture and the use of natural or stone effect worktops for modern handleless, as well as classic contemporary Shaker kitchens.
Wayne Dance of Inhouse comments on the: “Timber will be high on the must-have list for 2020. Real and wood-effect finishes have increased in popularity and with advanced manufacturing processes, it’s often hard to tell them apart.”
And sales and marketing director at Mereway Kitchens Mark Mills agrees: “With new innovation helping to develop more realistic natural-style finishes, wood and stone-style worktops are becoming big sellers.”
These timeless materials also give longevity to a kitchen design, combining elements of the past with up-to-date technology.
Founder of Ledbury Studio. Charlie Smallbone comments: “Something I see for 2020 is the way we’re looking to the past and reinterpreting it to create the future.
“This is by no means new – but the way we are accessing that past has changed.
“Social media is this amazing research tool that gives us instant access to very visual source materials from 50, 60, 70 years’ ago. This is then inspiring people to revisit those styles and put their own stamp on them.”
Opposing and yet complementary to the use of wood and stone in the kitchen has been the growth of the industrial trend.
It has seen the introduction of a gamut of metallic finishes, with bronze, copper and gunmetal coming through in sinks, taps and cabinet handles.
Kitchen channel manager at Grohe UK Tony Wilson agrees: “Coloured sinks and taps are starting to emerge and are expected to become far more readily accessible and specified in the home over the next 12 months. The industrial trend is still booming.”
In fact, metal has even made its way onto furniture frontals, such as The Metallics Collection by Ledbury Studio. Charlie Smallbone explains: Metallics came to the forefront in kitchens last year and I see this continuing for some time yet.”
And this trend for urban sophistication is also set to lead to a greater influence of black in the kitchen, report industry experts.
Product designer for Pronorm Gerd Meier says: “Black is going to be an even stronger colour in kitchen design in 2020.
“So far its use has been used largely as design accents but it’s now making its way to full doors, worksurfaces and cabinetry, not only in solid matt black but also in stained fine grain woodgrains. “We’ll see more black, either as full kitchens for an urban contemporary look, or in colour blocking combining black with a contrast colour or warm woodgrain.”
Whether a kitchen is based upon an urban style or more classic contemporary design, internal storage is key.
Consider the pantry, which has become high on the wish list of consumers for Shaker-style schemes and the Space Tower concealed behind handleless doors.
Commercial director of Crown Imperial Tony McCarthy comments “Classic larder and pantry storage have also seen a resurgence as consumers create a timeless feel with inspiration from social media, achieving a touch of organised elegance is now a ‘must-have’ kitchen design feature.”
And MD of Stoneham Kitchens Adrian Stoneham agrees: “A popular choice is a wooden oak pantry with open shelving, dovetailed drawers and spice racks fitted to the upper doors. For those who enjoy entertaining, pantry bars are on the rise.”
He adds: “Another pantry option that is being incorporated in kitchen design is the Dynamic Space Tower, maximising internal space.”
With climate activists Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion continuing to draw consumer attention towards the green agenda, it’s little surprise environmental credentials are growing in importance to consumers.
CEO of Scavolini Fabiana Scavolini comments: “Any predictions for the future must include an ecological message.
“For the kitchen market, it’s all about choosing sustainable materials that don’t sacrifice durability and adopting manufacturing processes that reduce the negative impact on the environment.”
UK design manager of the Formica Group Nina Bailey adds: “As the sustainable movement continues, designs will be eco-conscious while remaining aesthetically pleasing.”
In fact eco-credentials is a huge story for furniture manufacturer Rotpunkt in 2020. Head of UK operations Matt Phillips explains: “We are taking action against climate change and implementing new measures at our production sites in Germany to ensure the manufacture of Rotpunkt kitchens is 100% carbon neutral from January 1.”
Director of Karonia Andrew Pickup says the focus on sustainability is playing a role in worktops too: “The consumer is now paying much more attention to sustainable material choices and the durability of the worksurfaces should be one of the prime considerations along with colour choice and practicality.”
He adds: “Even the replenishment, re-use and recycling of the material should be considered as an important factor when advising people about their product choices.
“The fact that Mistral can be refurbished, repaired and repurposed after many years of use is very important when considering low impact on the environment.”
And of course, with bottles being one of the largest plastic pollutants on the planet, expect a growth in interest in filter water taps in the kitchen.
“Filtered water taps will provide a point of interest for consumers as we continue to move away from single use plastics and seek more eco-friendly alternatives. We believe these will be particularly pertinent in hard water areas where unfiltered tap water quality is often disliked.”
It is well documented newbuild homes, the refurbishment projects of tomorrow, are shrinking in size.
It continues to give rise to unobtrusive kitchens which can be completely concealed and is bolstering the sales of built-in appliances, especially in slimline or compact versions.
It has seen a demand for clutter-free worktops with the kettle increasingly replaced by a hot water tap, which also ticks the eco box.
Sales and marketing director of Reginox Dave Mayer comments: “At Reginox, sales of hot taps have quadrupled in the last 12 months and we anticipate they will quadruple again across 2020 and again across 2021.”
There is also a demand for quieter appliances, as noise can be magnified in small spaces and have an effect on consumers’ wellbeing.
According to marketing communications manager of InSinkErator Europe and Russia Anne Kaarela smaller kitchen spaces can also help spur waste disposer sales.
She points out: “Research has shown that the footprint of new homes has significantly decreased; 958sqft n 2016 compared to 1,055sqft in 2003.
“A food waste disposer is a perfect addition to compact dwellings as it eliminates food waste and the unpleasant food odours emitting from, the often numerous, kitchen bins.
Of course convenience is key for appliance sales, with models offering the benefits of time-saving as well as optimised performances to reduce resource use.
Taking this one step further are smart appliances which can help users better monitor their resource use and offer advice on optimised programmes.
And connectivity is growing across product sectors from laundry to cooking and food storage.
Fabiana Scavolini adds: “It would be remiss to ignore the connected kitchen, already driving value growth in the luxury kitchen and now filtering into the mid-market, thanks to more accessibly-priced products.
“Our retailers have reported a rise in the number of smart products being integrated into Scavolini kitchens from voice-activated extractors to fridges with integrated cameras so that consumers can check the contents of their fridge while at the shops.”
Certainly product manager for range cooking at Glen Dimplex Sarah Whitfield says smart technology will continue to influence appliance sales, adding: “Our recent research into the future of range cooking shows that connectivity is a key technology trend for consumers.
“Overall when we asked consumers what would they like to see on their next range cooker, three quarters said they want Artificial Intelligence or connectivity.”
And Matt Phillips of Rotpunkt adds: “We also feel that smart technology will help shape future trends. We are keen to welcome this new era of kitchen design in 2020 and offer automated lighting solutions, which can be controlled through virtual assistants like Alexa or Siri by voice or remote control.”
Also read about the latest trends to impact on bathroom design in 2020.