Everything You Need To Know About Modern Kitchens

Homeowners have varying perspectives concerning what modern kitchens are. If you’re wondering what a modern kitchen really is, this short guide will tell you everything you need to know about it.

What Makes a Kitchen Modern?

A kitchen that is termed ‘modern’ will always have a balance of functionality and aesthetics. However, every homeowner can apply his/ her own personal expression when incorporating new and interesting materials and products. This is why designs seem to vary from one home to another and year to year, despite the fact that the basic underlying concept remains the same.

One homeowner may adopt a modern theme by installing frameless European style cabinets bearing horizontally aligned features and recessed handles. Another homeowner can also create a modern theme by transforming traditional cabinets using modern materials and finishes. Both options enhance the functionality and aesthetic appearance within a kitchen.

Kitchen Design Requirements

Regardless of the theme adopted, every kitchen must possess specific design features. These are standard requirements that apply universally to all cooking spaces. Therefore, you must ensure that your modern kitchen also complies with these requirements. The three Australian standards that apply to all kitchens include: AS 1428.1, AS 4299 and AS 1428.2.

Based on the applicable standards, your kitchen should possess the following key features:

– Adequate space that allows for unrestricted and free movement within the cooking space.

– Adequate storage and work surfaces set at easily accessible heights.

– Appropriate appliances with easy-to-use knobs, controls and handles.

– Waste disposal facilities that are easily accessible.

– Accommodating changing needs of all users as well as any future modifications.

Comparing Modern and Traditional Kitchens

To get a better understanding of what the modern theme involves, you have to compare it with traditional themes. These two themes possess so many contrasting features.

Despite being termed ‘traditional’, this theme hasn’t really gone out of style. Traditional kitchens convey a homey and warm feel, as well as a touch of coziness. This theme fills your kitchen with the timeless ambience characteristic of countryside cottages.

Modern Kitchen Design Trends

A new kitchen style

Homeowners are starting to move away from the very sleek, minimalistic look to a more warm and welcoming look that mirrors their own styles. This has seen the birth of a new kitchen style: a merge of modern and traditional elements.

The modern traditional style mixes colours, textures and materials. It’s now common for contrasting materials to be used next to each other; textured timber or stainless steel with marble, or mirrors, marble and timber together on the kitchen island. And bronze, pewter and brushed nickel are starting to replace chrome handles. A kitchen renovation by Art of Kitchens that combines timber veneers, mirrors and timber recently won the 2014 HIA Kitchen of the Year by Art of Kitchens.

Shelving

This style is also being reflected in kitchen shelving; whilst integrated appliances are still popular they are being combined with open-shelving units so homeowners can display precious or interesting knick-knacks to reflect themselves. Open shelving can be customized to make the kitchen feel alive and welcoming whilst without impacting functionality. Open shelving has the added benefit of being lighter on the budget and, if you have the right skills, installed by you.

Perfectly imperfect

Imperfect, touchy-feely and textured materials such as granites, engineered stones and materials that imitate raw finishes are popular as well as being easy to maintain. Popular in kitchen benchtops are materials with slight imperfections and textured finishes. Caesarstone Concrete Finishes and the new Silestone Suede Texture ranges are great examples of this.

High-gloss timber with smooth finishes is being replaced with textured timber finishes that characterize natural forms are popular and add an extra dimension to the space. Companies such as Laminex and Danzer have a great range of textured timber veneers.

Colours

Increasingly kitchens have a range of vibrant colorsmixed with subtle tones allowing for more artistic options. Both Pantones and Laminex’s new seasons predictions reflect a greater range of vibrant colors to reflect your unique style: “The soothing tones of jades, pinks and purples with the grandeur colorsof Chinese regal reds and bold hues of gold, create balance and a laid-back ambiance.”

Another trend becoming popular is using wallpaper your kitchen. Subtle use of the right wallpaper can help to balance other materials in the kitchen as well as providing additional contrast, texture and interest.

Other considerations

It’s worth investigating what’s new in kitchen technologies as it’s likely they have changed dramatically. There have been great innovations in all aspects of kitchen design in the last 10 years, not just kitchen appliances. Companies such as Blum have made huge advances on internal cabinet hardware and shelving systems.
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General Design Ideas For New Kitchens

Interior design of kitchens is a widely discussed area. Here are the general aspects that must be incorporated:

Make It Blend Into The Home

Sometimes, you may want to change only the kitchen in the entire home. For an open plan kitchen, you may have to touch up some sections of the adjacent rooms to match the new look. You might get away with the ‘face-lift’ if you have a traditional contained kitchen.

Get Extra Space

Space is one of the most valuable factors in design. While extra storage units may work, they may end up looking bulky or obstructing pathways. Think of new places to add pull out soft drawers and paneled cabinets. Discuss these with your kitchen installer so they incorporate it into their plan early enough if possible. You can get ideas from visiting showrooms and studying kitchen galleries.

During the ‘scouting’ period, it may help to get the installer whose ideas you love to do the job for you. They are the ones who know how they do it. It may prove disastrous sometimes to ‘hop’ and collect ideas. It does help to look around and settle for the most impressive however.

Lighting

Never compromise on lighting. In fact, the more the better. If you have a large kitchen, one central fixture may not illuminate all corners. Discuss the viability and impact of having more lighting in as many areas as you can. This not only makes the room look bigger, but it also improves the safety and comfort of those in the kitchen.

Where the kitchen is to also serve as a dining area, you can have adjustable lighting to make mealtimes warm, pleasant and cozy.

Environmental Compatibility

Make your designs, materials and appliances eco-friendly. Have energy efficient refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens and freezing units. The Australian Government recommends that all households use environmental friendly products, with appliances having Energy Rating Labels. This is to make it easy for consumers to know which appliance is best for their homes and the environment as a whole. The tagline says ‘the more the stars, the more the savings’.

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