Tiles in the shape of bricks are popular.

There is a wide variety of kitchen styles to choose from, but whatever the look, the ethos is about going green.

Whether you have an ultra-modern or farmhouse kitchen, the trend across the board is to keep a natural and organic feel.

You can enhance this by contrasting it with high-gloss, bling or bright splashes of colour, depending on the look you’re going for.

It’s easy to follow advice from one of Durban and the North Coast’s oldest kitchen companies, Country Kitchens.

Murray Loder says kitchens have long since become a central design space in the home.

You need to think of all the things you would in a living room or bedroom, such as texture, pattern and a colour palette, and incorporate this into the design.

The single-biggest focus at the moment is going green.

We all want to be seen to care for the environment and it’s easy with a host of eco-friendly, trendy appliances available today. You can easily reduce your carbon footprint with an energy-efficient oven or refrigerator.

Durability and practicality remain important as you will still have to cook at some stage. Opt for surfaces and materials that are easy to maintain, hygienic and stain- and scratch-resistant. Focus is shifting to function over form.

If you can’t change your kitchen a great deal, spruce it up with some colour.

Look for paints with texture and if you don’t want bold colour, consider a feature wall for some drama. Another way to add charm and character is with light fittings; pendant lights are especially hot right now.

Nothing says “eco” quite like wood and stone. These elements are big in 2012, as are glass, metallic, crystals and stainless steel. - The Mercury