Over the past two years, the view of home has changed for many householders. Online schooling and home working highlighted the benefits of designing a functional interior and this outlook is set to continue.
“Clients are saying they need the kitchen to function as a human space,” Emma Merry says. “They want room for kids’ stuff, such as colouring pens and homework, and that’s trumped a lot of the fancy appliances.”
To create extra storage space, Emma predicts she’ll be specifying more three-in-one appliances for her clients. This is a big trend in small kitchens, Olga Alexeeva agrees. “It frees up a lot of space,” she says.
Emma also points to induction hobs with integral extraction as another way to create space. The smooth surface and clever technology allows them to be covered with a chopping board to use as a preparation area when not heating food.
Reducing waste is a subject that’s increasingly important for renovators and with that comes the desire for materials that last. Worktops are key for cutting waste in the kitchen – they’re the surfaces that get the heaviest use and are most susceptible to wear and tear.
According to the professionals, homeowners will be prioritising longevity when choosing work surfaces in 2022. “I feel people are going less and less for natural stone for practical reasons, as new technologies mean composite stone looks more and more like natural marble,” Olga says.
Omar highlights the benefits of quartz for its durability. He also points out that composite worktops are often replacing tiles as a splashback material, as more homeowners choose to continue their worktop surface up the wall. “It’s more of a seamless look and is easier to clean when you’re cooking,” he says.
Worktops made from recycled materials will also be a popular choice, says Omar, who points to products that are created from waste, such as discarded chopping boards, cosmetics bottles and yogurt pots.
It seems the blue and grey kitchens that have been so popular over the past few years are making way for cosier hues. Emma predicts neutrals are going to be huge in kitchens this year. “Expect warmer colours, such as taupe and anything with natural tones,” she says.
“I feel a kitchen is the place you don’t change that often,” Olga says, so, with that in mind, neutrals are a safe choice.
“Interestingly, green has been a trend for a while,” Olga continues. “I actually think green is a great colour for the kitchen, as it’s natural and harmonious.”
When choosing storage for a kitchen, there’s often a decision to be made between wall cabinets and open shelving. Closed storage is practical, but for some it’s a little plain. Open shelves, on the other hand, add character, but aren’t so practical if you’re concerned about dust and tidiness. The answer for 2022 comes in the shape of a glass-fronted cabinet.
“People are using more glass fronts with at least one cabinet, maybe a tall cabinet with lighting behind where they can display pots and other objects,” Olga says. “It’s a good compromise if you want the look of open shelving.”
“You can choose fluted, frosted or speckled glass,” Omar adds. “It gives the sense of openness, but everything is hidden inside – not every person is an open-shelf person, as it can be untidy.”
While the pros are clear that Shaker kitchens aren’t going anywhere, there are some great flat-fronted options for those who prefer something sleeker.
“I’m seeing more flat-fronted kitchens coming back, but with high-quality finishes,” Emma says. “They have bull-nose edges and really high-quality veneers. They’re no longer the poor-quality, stick-on versions of the past.
“For example, I saw a beautiful aged copper veneer recently that was so realistic, I had to take it outside of the showroom to check it wasn’t real,” she laughs. “I think that will be huge next year – just touches of it: a timber veneer with flashes of copper, for instance.”
“Handles are going to be a big thing,” Omar says. “There are so many options and they allow you to transform the look of your kitchen completely.”
“We’re seeing a lot more focus on details, such as knobs in antique brass that match the tap,” Emma agrees. “People have spent so much time at home that they’re really valuing those touchpoints. It’s like coming out of the bath and putting on a luxurious dressing gown rather than a supermarket special.” Source: (Houzz.ie)