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Greener, cleaner, meaner kitchens

From solid wood to high gloss, new stain-resistant surfaces and popular vinyl – kitchen trends are constantly in flux.

While functionality remains key, integrated technologies and eco-friendly amenities are driving the latest trends.

Open shelving is a popular design element, with a multitude of other storage options existing in the thriving kitchen industry.

Silvia Miles, chief executive at Milestone Kitchens, says that from a design perspective an island is essential.

“Islands can house anything from a stove to the kitchen sink. It’s where the real work happens, and these days it is not uncommon for clients to choose an island first and then build their new kitchen around it.”

It terms of finishes, Miles says the average home owner is not necessarily looking for natural wood any more.

“Woods such as oak or teak have been among the most popular types of finishes for kitchen cabinets for years. However, many people are opting for synthetic or painted finishes.”

Roger Part, director of Cupboard Value, says these can be mixed and matched.

The island, for example need not be the same colour as the rest of the kitchen.

Part says they are seeing a lot of cream combined with darker wood-look finishes, as well as an abundance of pot drawers and open shelving. They both agree that glass tiles for splash-backs are increasingly popular. Mosaics, in contrasting colours, are in as well.

Miles says in terms of decorating or accessorising, wooden items as well as wallpaper and photo murals are also on trend.

At the show you will also see a lot of eco-flooring, renewable counter-tops and water-filter systems, in keeping with the eco-friendly trend.

These “greener” kitchens consist of repurposed wood.

Induction cooking tops, indoor infrared grills and industrial exhaust hoods are also in. The kitchen space, often open-plan, has also grown to absorb computer areas and the big pantry is back.

Patricia Pillay, operations manager at Southern Kitchens and Laminates, says while high gloss is in, touch-to-open doors in these spaces aren’t advisable.

“We tend to prefer soft-close doors as they don’t slam. When you’re busy in the kitchen, greasy hands can easily leave fingerprints behind on high-gloss doors.”

Pillay says that as much as something may be “in”, consider how you will live with it. - The Mercury

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