ARTICLE Persephone Nicholas PHOTOGRAPHY Minosa Design, Robin Caudwell and Leon House

Kitchens today are the hub of the home. Food is stored, prepared and often served here, but most of us do much more in this space too. It’s also where we catch up with family and friends, supervise homework, take care of a few emails – and more. Our kitchens are working harder than ever and there’s never been a greater choice of surfaces, fixtures, fittings and appliances on the market.

With so many options to choose from it can be hard to know where to start. Identifying a kitchen style that looks good and suits your needs is a great first step.

Listing all the things you want to be able to do in the kitchen and working out your priorities will help you plan how much room you need and where your kitchen should be situated. It will also help determine the layout of your appliances and cabinets and will influence your choice of joinery, surfaces, technology, lighting and décor.

There are many different styles of kitchen to choose from; here are four of our current favorites.

Canteen

The canteen-style kitchen is perfect for larger families or for those who regularly have crowds to feed. Unfussy in appearance, it typically combines clean and contemporary or Asian-inspired styling with low-maintenance, multi-functional work surfaces made from stainless steel, polished concrete, bamboo or recycled glass. Alternatively, laminate work surfaces can be a good choice for those wanting to achieve this look on a budget.

kitchen with chalkboard painted wall and stainless steel bench
Plenty of drawers are key in this canteen style kitchen by Robin Caudwell

A gleaming cooktop, good-sized dishwasher and uncluttered surfaces are musts. Plenty of drawers to keep cooking utensils and crockery within easy reach are essential too. A glass door bar fridge that encourages people to help themselves to drinks can be a stylish addition.

Flooring should be robust and non-slip – consider luxury vinyl, which is versatile and hardwearing, or linoleum, a natural product that is anti-bacterial, hypoallergenic and relatively inexpensive. Rubber flooring is another sustainable option – Irvine International makes rubber flooring from recycled tyres.

The canteen kitchen’s focal point is the long narrow table or bench positioned in the centre of the space. Seating is informal – benches or stools suit the casual vibe.

Accessories are minimal – a sculptural bowl or platter filled with a single variety of fruit will add colour and life without cluttering the space.

Eclectic

An eclectic kitchen is a great choice for those who enjoy creating their own unique look with favourite pieces, old and new. This style can also suit those on a limited budget, as appliances and furniture can be updated as and when funds allow. Key elements include a freestanding stove and unfitted cabinets and appliances, but the rest is up to you and the combinations are limitless.

country charm kitchen with baby blue painted walls
Combine treasured accessories, bright wall colours and functional kitchen helpers for an eclectic look

Striking the right balance is important for this look; try to stick to a simple colour palette and pick just one or two hero pieces such as a favourite artwork, chair or rug to combine with other more neutral elements. If you’re looking for a pop of colour, it’s hard to go past Smeg’s Fab 28 range of fridges, in a variety of hues including denim, lime green and candy stripe.

Open shelving is popular, but needs to be kept ordered to look stylish. Grouping items of the same kind together or in colour families looks best.

Edit the pieces in your kitchen regularly to avoid a chaotic or cluttered look. And choose a theme for collections on display. One of the advantages of an eclectic kitchen is that you can bring in new pieces whenever you want to, so there’s no need to display all your favourite things at once.

Love the eclectic look, but don’t want to go all the way? Pop artist Dick Frizzell has joined forces with furniture fittings manufacturer Blum to customise their Tandembox invito drawer. The top section of these drawers can be personalised with a variety of materials and colours including printed or coloured glass, wood, stone, Perspex, leather or Frizzell’s design.

Michael Hawkins of Blum says: “Often with kitchens we shy away from bold colours and textures or anything we fear might date. A pop of colour on the Tandembox invito drawer sides is a unique way to incorporate bold colour or a crazy texture and can be interchanged.”

Integrated

An integrated kitchen, where the kitchen is part of the main living space, is the natural choice when space is limited or for people who love casual entertaining and are happy to prepare food in front of guests.

spacious open plan lving space with high cathedral style ceilings
Open plan homes benefit from an intergrated kitchen that is clean and minimalist by Leon House

This style works well with contemporary, open plan homes and can be an effective way to update older style properties. Clean lines are the order of the day, so everything including groceries, appliances and kitchen utensils is hidden away behind high-door joinery and beneath countertops between meal times to create a more neutral living space.

Minimising noise levels is important when the kitchen is part of the main living area. Parex Industries’ Quiet Kitchen concept brings together three low-decibel appliances. InSinkErator’s Evolution 200 food waste disposer (its superior grinding performance is at least 60 per cent quieter than other models), steaming hot water tap, and Schweigen’s silent range hood.

Restaurateur and MasterChef judge, Simon Gault is all in favour of a more peaceful kitchen. “With modern kitchens encroaching on the main living space of our homes, the demand for quiet technology is high on consumers’ priority lists. I heard about technology that could deliver nearly silent performance and I couldn’t wait to learn more. With the Quiet Kitchen range of products, a Zen-like kitchen is now a reality,” he says.

A well-designed integrated kitchen can also help blur the lines between indoor and outdoor. For example, if the kitchen opens on to outdoor or paving or decking, consider using flooring in similar shades in both areas to enhance the feeling of spaciousness

An awning, outdoor heater and table setting can help make the most of your ‘extended’ kitchen. Keep the visual link going by using similar styles and hues for accessories and fill planters with herbs for easy kitchen access.

Contemporary classic

Perfect for a modern family, the contemporary classic kitchen is a good looking workhorse, and combines a generous amount of space with high levels of functionality including roomy sinks, large capacity appliances and plenty of storage. The enduring appeal of this style of kitchen lies in its neutral colour palette, quality cabinetry (glass-fronted cupboards can look particularly good here), fixtures and fittings that won’t date and easy-to-maintain surfaces such as NaturaStone, a blend of 90 per cent natural quartz and high performance acrylic polymer that can be installed as a new surface or used to resurface existing countertops.

modern kitchen with exposed concrete ceilings
A contemporary highly functional kitchen by Minosa Design

Dave Speedy of GVP, manufacturers of NaturaStone, says generous work surfaces are essential these days. “Larger work spaces and island benches are needed to accommodate feature appliances, casual dining and higher room traffic. Solid surfaces like NaturaStone are attractive, have minimal joins even in large surface areas, are repairable and offer a finish that will remain decorative and durable for many years to come.”

You might be interested in reading: Top 4 kitchen styles.
 

Renovate Magazine Logo

This article by Persephone Nicholas featured on page 90 of Issue 010 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.

Get in touch with Refresh to discuss your home renovation project

If you would like to discuss options and ideas for your kitchen renovation, please use the enquiry form alongside to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your project.

*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.

Costs are accurate at the time of publication. Plan ahead to reduce the impact of industry changes or disruptions. For more information see here.

Get in touch

Get in touch if you are interested
in a quote or consultation

Planning Around Supply Shortages
Renovate Handbook Download