Image Courtesy of Skona Hjem.
By Susan Serra CKD, Decorati Contributing Guest Blogger and author of The Kitchen Designer blog.
To talk about trends this year is especially interesting to me, as it is the end of a decade. I think back over the start of the “new millennium” and it almost seems like the covered wagon days in kitchen design! Looking back gives us perspective as we contemplate the future. So, where are we headed as we look at the kitchen design landscape today and in the foreseeable future? Give me a moment, while I search for my crystal ball!
I’d like to discuss five of the most important trends that I feel are, or will be soon, in our consciousness as we consider how we want to live in our kitchens. These are lifestyle trends, not the color of the month trend! Kitchens are once or twice in a lifetime projects, typically. We want to pay attention to new ideas, absolutely, but seek longevity in design and materials as well. Here’s what I see:
Open Floorplan (Rooted In Love) – An open floorplan design concept comes to mind first, and quickly! We’re busy. We want to connect with our family and friends while we perform the sometimes mundane tasks we need to do in the kitchen. We’re also feeling more relaxed, less formal, yet desire more control of our spaces. Rooted in love, this lifestyle trend has influenced a further awakening toward an open floorplan. Taking charge of our family connections in our own home means designing our kitchens for easy, efficient, communication across disparate spaces. A loft-like design concept is gaining momentum as a coordinated “designed” response to the need for communication in our homes. Products of quality to better relate (as well as to better serve their purpose) to surrounding living areas are seriously considered for their longevity and classic design, be they modern, traditional, or artisan.
Image courtesy of Hotel Lupaia.
What’s Your Style? – I see a continuing movement toward tapping into one’s inner creativity, finding one’s personal expression. The gift from the internet gods to those redesigning a room or a home is the ability to find the nuance of our personal style online. Finding those nuanced products, ideas, methods, that speak to us, is a direct result of a fresh and new confidence, built up over recent years (with the help of the internet gods) and a trend that has recently accelerated in light of our very difficult last 1 1/2 years. It tells us that our unique aesthetic sensibility is interesting as opposed to odd, that “mainstream” is not the be all end all to aspire to, to feel “safe.” Personal expression IS mainstream. Your personal style rules…and rocks. Personal expression aside, what many of us also seem to be moving toward is a warm, modern, feel with clean lines and simple design elements with an appreciation for design that is inspired by nature, and offers easy care as one advantage. We used to have one or two clear trends in kitchen design. Now we have quite a few trends, sub trends, mixed trends. The trend landscape has changed dramatically, a good change.
The Chef’s Kitchen – We’re loving fabulously fun cooking equipment, appliances designed in countless configurations offering any feature you can dream of, including cool high tech features and lots of color and finishes. We’re going to local farmer’s markets, and a desire for healthy foods of quality is also responsible for the renewed enjoyment of cooking. The grill pans, specialty knives, panini presses combined with an appreciation for the classics such as Le Creuset ovens as one example, bring us to a more sophisticated level in our culinary lives. We’re cooking at home again for family and friends with gusto! The “Healthy Kitchen”, connected in philosophy to the “Chef’s Kitchen” will include aging in place design/universal design principles (it’s own enormous trend/topic), non toxic surfaces, and appliances for healthy foods and homes such as steam oven, air scrubbing refrigerators, ventilation that automatically turns on/off, adjusting its speed, electronic on/off faucetry and many more innovations designed to create and enhance a healthy lifestyle in the kitchen.
Image courtesy of GE Monogram.
The Social Kitchen – More than ever before, we want our kitchens to be social. So social, that I see islands becoming larger as walls continue to come down, even taking center stage to include a sink and a cooking appliance, and seating. I see soft furnishings (the kitchen sofa for example, a concept that I strongly believe in, which is raised to meet the breakfast room table) in the kitchen and is all about comfort. I see finishes and colors which do not match, but blend. Fireplaces and larger windows in width and height create an open feel and add architectural interest as they do in surrounding rooms. Alternative finishes, textures and products add sophistication. Good artwork, sconces (and other non-typical kitchen lighting) and mediamediamedia of any size/shape/type contribute to the feeling that one is truly in a living/social area. Multiple work stations providing optimal function for various social lifestyle situations will be designed into the space. A desire for real comfort is strongly connected to the social kitchen trend.
Environmental Awareness – No list, even a short one, would be complete without mentioning the importance of sustainable living in our everyday life and thinking sustainability in the products we select. Appliances have made enormous strides in energy conservation in recent years, and faucets and cabinetry, flooring, tile, and countertops are made with recycled or certified environmentally safe materials. Conserving water and energy is our collective goal. Energy saving lighting fixtures has made great strides as seen in CFL and LED fixtures. Yes, you can still have your glam touch with (energy saving) lights in your sink or countertop! Green design, in my opinion, does not work without longevity built into products. Longevity built-in, equals quality. More than a trend, real quality, as it always has, simply makes sense. Environmental awareness brings with it a desire to experience the natural character of wood species, natural textures in metals, stone, and fabrics. A parallel to this trend is enjoyment of hand crafted, artisan, items, an easing up from perfection, toward organic shapes and joinery.
The word for 2010 and for the foreseeable future just may be “Authenticity”. I’d love to hear your thoughts…what you see in your upcoming kitchen renovation, or in your dream kitchen.
atricle by Sussan Serra