Kitchen trends for 2018

12 Jan, 18

Broken plan living, individualisation through material mixes and smart homes will drive kitchen fashions, Philippa Turrell finds


Arguably, there has never been more choice for the UK consumer’s kitchen as there’s no longer a ‘one size fits all’ approach to design. It’s reflected not only in the layout, with open plan giving way to broken plan schemes, but also the variety of colours, textures and tones now available for cabinetry. Design manager at Moores Neil McDonald explains: “We are seeing a rise in Open Plan 2.0 – or ‘broken plan’ living – in which distinct areas can be created by the use of different floor finishes, differences in floor levels and floating freestanding partitions, such as bookcases or a screen. This means it is still possible to achieve the spacious feel that open-plan living provides, but creates a separation so that people can have their own space away from each other.” It has seen concealed storage used alongside display units to highlight the personal taste and preference of the customer, creating contrast and breaking-up cabinetry. And growing in tandem has been the adoption of an array of materials, which are now combined in a scheme, with metals joining woodgrains, concrete and colour. Head of UK operations Rotpunkt UK Matt Phillips comments: “There is a definite swing towards juxtaposing finishes and materials: Atypical finishes and materials such as copper mixed with wood, chrome highlights, matt effect laquers with black handles and accessories have become the must-have looks.”


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With a demand for more materials in the kitchens, the worktop is playing an ever greater role in the overall interior design. And the staple look for on-trend aesthetic remains natural stone effects, with marble and concrete playing their part. VP of marketing at Caesarstone UK Jonathan Stanley points out: “Surface design schemes continue to be dominated by natural looking stone and marble design. Subtlety veined surfaces replicating marble for a transitional style is still quite popular. Alongside marble, Caesarstone’s concrete is an on-trend choice. Textured Rugged Concrete has been an instant hit within the UK market.” It brings us neatly onto the second trend for worktops, which is texture. And like furniture frontals, mat finishes are combing to the fore. Marketing manager at IDS Sabine Mane comments: “It will be all about texture in 2018”, and she cites the development of materials technology such as Fenix NTM which offers an ultra-matt, horizontal surface as helping to drive the trend


While stainless steel may still take the lion’s share of sink sales, colour is making a comeback. Similarly to taps, which are now offered in a variety of finishes, sink finishes are also starting to diversify. Communications manager at Franke Jeanette Ward continues: “I think we will see a deeper interpretation of this trend in kitchen sinks with more colours and metallic granites as an alternative to stainless steel.” And the colour that seems to remain a staple for the kitchen designer is grey, which pundits suggest will be the sink of choice for 2018. However, sales and marketing director of Reginox Dave Mayer adds: “Overall, I think we will see a growth in functional design, such as water-saving features, multi-level sinks and intelligent wastes.”


One of the biggest design stories for kitchen taps has been the move towards a greater variety of finishes and this is also going to be big news for 2018. Chrome has been joined by golden and copper hues in polished and brushed finishes, alongside black. Grohe UK product manager Michael Gray states: “There is a global trend towards individualised design and therefore we now offer kitchen taps with a choice of different finishes.” But functionality also continues to play a major role in the development of the tap, with multi-functional models offering filtered chilled, filtered boiling and even filtered sparkling water becoming ever more popular. Sales and marketing manager of Reginox Dave Mayer continues: “2018 will see the sustained growth of the boiling water tap. These have now certainly moved into the mainstream market and are no longer considered a luxury item. Three in one taps, offering boiling, ordinary hot and ordinary cold will eventually overtake those offering just boiling water.


At the heart of the kitchen is the electric, multifunctional oven and during 2018 the trend will continue to be towards larger capacities and ease of cleaning.  In fact, product manager for built-in at Glen Dimplex Home Appliances Matt Duggan expresses: “I expect to see a huge increase in the number of catalytic and pyrolytic built-in ovens on the market, as ‘easy clean’ now accounts for an impressive 56% of the market and is continuing to grow apace.” The added functionality of steam is also set to gain ground, as consumers’ interest in healthy eating continues its momentum. Head of brand at Hotpoint Jennifer Taylor offers some statistics: “Market research has found that ovens, which benefit from an integrated steam function, received a 34% growth in revenue during the first half of 2016. What’s more, this segment of the market now accounts for 12% of total sales of built-in ovens across Western Europe.”

And while stainless steel remains king, look to the growing influence of black as a finish for built-in appliances. Marketing manager MDA at KitchenAid Simon Langley points out: “Stainless steel has been modernised and transformed by the launch of the KitchenAid Black Stainless Steel range. Black is now very much in vogue and a hot trend this year.”


Unsurprisingly, the story for hobs for 2018 is going to be continue to be induction, taking a march on gas models. As more connected technology enters the kitchen, the induction hob will also play a greater role with more uptake of hob-to-hood technology. Therefore the hob will not only be central to cooking but also to extraction, as it will also operate the cooker hood and govern the power levels. Brand manager of Whirlpool Catherine Balderson comments: “Induction hobs will continue their race to take the crown from the gas hob with their greater speed, safety and flexibility, and will be a continuing trend in kitchens in 2018.” And managing director of Bertazzoni UK Maurizio Severgnini agrees stating: “Induction hobs are certainly continuing to gain momentum with 21% of Abs owning one.” However, he also points out that gas remains a sizeable market because with older consumers. He suggests the future could be hobs that combine technologies, offering gas and induction in one model.


The focus for cooling and freezing appliances will continue to be optimising food preservation, and with improved insulation offering more capacity in the same footprint to store fresh ingredients. And interestingly, consumers seem to be prepared to spend more on appliances with these benefits, as head of category for cooling at GDHA Stuart Netscher points out: “There has been a distinct move towards consumers trading up to more premium appliances and we expect that sector to show growth.” Managing director of Bertazzoni UK Maurizio Severgini highlights the technology that is appealing to his company’s customer base: “Technology that can freeze food up to 20% faster and is fitted with a dual air cooling system, so the user can easily control temperature and humidity, are proving very popular.” Also, big news for this year in built-in refrigeration will be A++ ratings, Total No Frost systems and electronics controls.


For the laundry market, resource saving of water, detergent and importantly energy remains key for both washing and drying. Through the use of connected technology, this will be taken to new levels in 2018, enabling consumers to optimise the performance of their machines. There will also be a continued focus on larger capacity appliances, as consumers want to reduce time spent washing and drying loads. Head of category for laundry at Glen Dimplex Home Appliances Laura Davies explains: “It is larger capacity machines such as 9kg and 10kg that are showing growth. We are also seeing more unusual sizes – such as 11 and 12kg becoming more prevalent.” And she continues, stating how connectivity will influence laundry appliances. “2017 saw a huge increase in the number of washing machines with smart technologies being launched. This will continue in 2018 and we expect to see app connectivity that offers diagnostic tools and additional downloadable programmes.”


The most important story, across the board for appliances, will be the continued drive towards connectivity. Already Wi-Fi connectivity has been introduced across washing machines, refrigeration and laundry, and not just at the premium end but also for the mass market. Now with the proliferation of devices that can operate connected appliances, such as Google Home and Amazon’s Echo, it’s a technological trend that is only going to grow in importance for kitchen designers. Built-in product manager for Hoover Candy UK Daniel Dewey comments: “We know that 24% of people are interested and would pay more for smart appliances that are energy efficient. People like the idea of being able to control the product from their smartphone.”  And marketing director of freestanding division at Hoover Candy UK Steve Macdonald adds: “We predict that smart tech will become an expected function rather than an exclusively high-end feature. We’ve already started to see this in the market and we suspect that voice assist functionality is the next big thing in domestic appliances.”