The kitchen is probably the most important room in the modern home. It literally fuels the family as the place where all the meals are made and the snacks are sourced. But with the way we like to live now, kitchens are multi-use spaces where we will spend most of our time together – whether it is for eating, relaxing or socialising. It is important to get the layout just right to suit everyone's needs, and in a style that you'll love. We look at the latest must-haves that can give you the kitchen of your dreams...
In the past few years, dark blue has been the go-to shade for kitchen makeovers, with sales of navy and midnight blue units surging. It brings character, depth and colour, yet is sophisticated and timeless, not a fleeting fashion that can quickly become dated. It is also versatile, working well with everything from cool greys and whites to cheerful pinks or natural materials. A dark blue is an excellent choice for a family kitchen, successfully hiding the marks and messes that can come with meal prepping and children playing. Blue is classic and also calming, and the demand for it has now extended to pale and powder blues, which can give a feeling of serenity and modernity – particularly when teamed with bright shades.
Ruth Lavender, design expert at Benchmarx Kitchens, explains: 'When Driftwood Blue is used across cabinetry, it can effortlessly characterise the space without feeling overwhelming. It blends seamlessly with whites and creams for a light, airy combination. This creates a spacious feel even in space-limited designs.'
2. Kitchen islands
With more kitchens going open-plan with zones for dining and living included as part of the enlarged space, a kitchen island has become a multipurpose must-have. It can act as a social hub, offer extra storage and provide an invaluable extra work surface. An island can create an informal divide between the kitchen area and where you sit to eat or relax. But it is also the perfect spot for people to gather round; whether it’s the children grabbing breakfast in the morning or doing their homework in the evening, or friends sitting round with a coffee or drink as you make lunch or dinner – so the ‘cook’ never feels cut off from the conversation
3. Larder cupboard
A larder is a traditional part of the kitchen and has been since the days before refrigerators. It was where the stores of raw ingredients were kept, and was often the coolest spot in the house, suitable for preserving and preparing meat and dairy products. While fridge-freezers now keep all the perishables chilled or deep frozen, larder cupboards are in demand for all the valuable, floor-to-ceiling storage they can offer. All the kitchen essentials can be neatly hidden away to keep surfaces clutter-free. Larders are also ideal for turning into ‘stations’, with the appliances and ingredients needed for making coffee, rustling up breakfast or baking kept to hand in one spot, and behind closed doors when not in use.
4. Green kitchens
Green is the colour of nature, and has the same appeal in a kitchen as dark blue. It is easy on the eye and perfectly suited to a busy home, thanks to the calming feelings that it provokes. It also taps into the trend of biophilic design, where homeowners are looking for ways to incorporate the natural environment into their interiors. If you have a lush green garden, it can echo the colours of the grass, trees and planting, creating a link between inside and out.
'Whether incorporated into a large or small design, greens tend to work well accessorised with raw details, such as wood, for a balanced, calming space,' Ruth says. 'Incorporating pine panelling, for example, creates contrast to the deep, earthy tones of forest green. You can tie this look together by bringing wood accents into your wider scheme, such as walnut chairs, large wooden chopping boards resting on your countertops and oak-effect flooring.'
5. The utility
When renovating the kitchen, a utility is both useful and adds value to the home. It makes the ideal laundry, allowing you to keep the noisy washing machine or tumble dryer out of the kitchen/dining/living space. It can offer space for keeping the cleaning bits and bobs out of sight, provide room for another fridge-freezer for the food overflow – particularly useful if you love hosting parties – or be a place to pause and take off muddy boots and towel down damp dogs before going into the house. For a cohesive look, carry the new kitchen units through to this practical extra room.
There is a new concept that is increasing in popularity – the bootility room, which is the perfect blend between the boot room and utility space, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
'Using simple formations of standard cabinets combined with creative flair allows you to build a storage solution that suits your needs,' says Ruth. 'Think about your day-to-day requirements and personalise storage accordingly, so every item has a home.
'How a bootility room looks can sometimes become a secondary thought. Yet, there is much that can be done to ensure it flows as a chic extension of the main rooms, and provides a multitude of usable features to keep your space looking streamlined and tidy.'
6. WFH space
A few years ago, creating a spot where you could comfortably work from home felt like a novelty. Post-Covid, it feels like an essential. Even though many of us have returned to the office, some businesses have adopted a more flexible approach by offering the opportunity to split the working week between the quiet of home and the bustle of an office. Including a desk as part of the kitchen scheme can look and feel more efficient and professional than temporarily taking over the dining table. Being close to the kitchen also makes it easier to grab a coffee on those very necessary screen breaks.
More about Benchmarx
Benchmarx Kitchens and Joinery is a trusted brand that can help you to achieve a high spec, high-end look in the kitchen. Its knowledgeable designers are experts in their field, ready to help every step of the way, with their finger on the pulse of trends and innovation. New to the Benchmarx kitchen ranges is the Marlow, a premium collection offering a contemporary take on a timeless Shaker design, while the best-selling Soho now comes in Forest Green and Midnight Blue, and the Cambridge units are available in tranquil Driftwood Blue. You can order a brochure to browse through its kitchens, book a free design consultation to help you create your dream scheme, and use the visualiser tool to see it come together. For more information on all of these, and to view Benchmarx’s virtual showroom, go to benchmarxkitchens.co.uk