Britannia News


How to avoid kitchen trends and create a timeless kitchen

31ST MARCH 2011
For our latest look at kitchen design, we met up with Marion John from Advanced Kitchen Design who gave us her advice on creating a timeless kitchen, as well as how to choose a range cooker to complement your style…

Well, I'm going to start on a rather less than positive note – and say that I don't think it's possible to create an absolutely timeless kitchen. There's always something that's going to be completely out of fashion in ten or fifteen years time. You are, after all, up against a whole industry out there trying to come up with new and interesting ideas and designs to tempt you into buying new appliances and accessories – if not a whole new kitchen. I think you might as well give in and choose a few good looking and trendy accessories with a view to perhaps changing just those, in the years to come.

Kitchen trends through the ages

So what gives away the age of an out-dated kitchen? Well, a kitchen from the 1980s is often very ornate – in wood, or a painted finish – with carved pelmets, little gallery rails and cathedral arched doors. The tiles tended to be beige and quite large (6 inches square) with a scattering of patterned décor tiles featuring flowers, or coffee pots, or animals. Move on a decade and the trendy kitchen has maple shaker doors and plain black granite worktops with smaller (4-inch) tiles in a bright multi-coloured mix, or with an updated version of the décor tiles, with bright flowers or animals.

Trends that are popular today, and which might date your kitchen in the future, include walnut shaker doors and plain, flat doors – in a high gloss finish (often in bright colours) – or with horizontal woodgrain. Splashbacks in glass, rather than tiled, are popular; and banks of compact appliances are also very trendy.

Kitchen trends to avoid

For a timeless kitchen, you need to avoid all the very trendy finishes and styles, and the signature looks of the time. They're almost bound to go out of fashion again. Look for styles and features that have stood the test of time. White kitchens, for instance, are perennially popular, as are those with natural oak doors. Natural materials (or convincing lookalikes) tend not to go out of fashion.

Some people believe that plain, square panelled, shaker style doors will never be out of fashion in the future, but I think completely flat doors are a better bet. They've been around through a lot of changing fashions, over several decades (just avoid the trendy high gloss and horizontal woodgrain finishes). Another option for a timeless kitchen – in a more traditional style – would be to use inset framed, painted shaker style doors, with perhaps a bead around the outside of the door. A painted kitchen can always be re-painted, when it starts to look outdated. I'd also choose a character granite, in a colour that you like (an unusual natural material), rather than plain black for the worktops.

Appliances for the timeless kitchen

When it comes to appliances, choose integrated, built-in models – which you can't see – or free standing appliances like a fridge-freezer, which can be changed to a newer model in later years.

The biggest choice, when it comes to appliances, is whether to have a built-in oven (or ovens) and separate hob, or a range cooker. For a timeless kitchen, I think I'd plump for a range cooker... styles tend to change less than for built-in ovens, a cooker provides a great focal point in the room and it can blend with both modern and traditional furniture styles... although, if you buy a good quality cooker, you don't want to be changing that in a hurry.

My timeless kitchen design

I've come up with a picture of a timeless kitchen – on my CAD programme. I've chosen flat, natural oak veneer doors – with little steel knobs (knobs are easy to swap in the future). The stainless steel Britannia Delphi range cooker has the sort of good looks that go with any kitchen (grey and steel are great foils for other colours) – although I wouldn't rule out one of the Delphi colours (or choosing your own shade with Colourange) - if it's a colour you really love.

The worktops in my timeless kitchen are in very practical, stone-y looking quartz composite with little upstands (or you could have a laminate in a similar but more mottled colour). The floor tiles are porcelain (ceramic) in a slightly darker stone-y colour. They're not actually natural materials – but more practical, non-absorbent, man-made lookalikes. Some of the accessories, like the blind, wall tiles and glass splashback, are more trendy – but all of those could be changed in future years, without changing the whole kitchen.

Whatever you do, don't forget the most important part of having a new kitchen... choosing a look that you really love. There's no point in having a bland, colourless kitchen that looks timelessly boring. Even if you choose something very trendy, it'll probably come back into fashion (if you wait long enough!) like the retro 1950s look that's popular at the moment. My recommendation, for a timeless kitchen, though, is to choose a basic style that isn't trendy and which can stay the same for years – but to be a bit more adventurous with some of the accessories and maybe some free standing appliances. That's the best of both worlds.

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