Seven kitchen trends for spring 2022
Pet corners, WFH desks and cabinet reshuffles: the latest luxe looks
Kitchen by Roundhouse Design; roundhousedesign.com
Did anyone feel the need, pre-pandemic, for a cooker hood that regulated air quality, a herb trough in the countertop or an automated garden in the corner of the kitchen? Did we even know what a touch-free tap was? No. But here we are, almost spring 2022, and kitchen planning has moved on.
The floorplan of our ideal kitchen is altering too. The traditional “kitchen work triangle”, designed in 1929 by the time and motion expert Lillian Moller Gilbreth as the most efficient configuration of cooker, food storage and sink, has been on the way out for as long as the traditional role of the married woman. According to a study by Wickes, the kitchen has expanded from food prep area for the desperate housewife to roomy cooking space, coffee station, home office, and crafting and home schooling area. A fifth of those surveyed said that a contemporary kitchen now requires a dedicated pet station.
Herb trough, by Blakes London, kitchens from £45,000
The wish list is revealing but few of us have the freedom to design our fantasy kitchen. Finances aside, we are constrained by the physical size, shape and plumbing of the room. It’s important to choose the kitchen that suits the bones of your home. Low ceilings plus eye-level cabinets can be claustrophobic. Many clients now desire a substantial kitchen island. “For them cooking is a social activity,” says Howard Miller of H Miller Bros. “Without an island you’re generally facing a wall or window while working. But in practice [to accommodate an island] the room needs to be 4m x 4m minimum.”
From left: Reflect fronts by Reform in stainless steel; Superfront; Buster and Punch’s modular, freestanding kitchen is due to launch next month
On top of the space crisis, the price crisis that is affecting everything from energy bills to groceries will also extend to your new kitchen. Keep a lid on kitchen costs by looking beyond the best-known brochures and discovering alternative studios such as Olive & Barr, which will do you a handmade painted-wood Shaker-style kitchen for less than the cost of its competitors (kitchens from £10,000, oliveandbarr.com). Remember that Howdens will beat any like-for-like quote — they deal only with trades, so you will have to appoint a contractor who can approach them on your behalf. Or revert to the time-honoured interior designer’s solution and create a custom kitchen from Ikea carcasses dressed up with fancy fronts (but be aware that even the Ikea kitchen ranges have seen a 9 per cent average price increase). Two standout suppliers of designer fronts are Superfront (superfront.com) and Reform (reformcph.com). Superfront now offers 1,950 possible colours on its lacquered doors and panels. Reform’s latest fronts, Reflect, designed by the architect Jean Nouvel, are in a beautiful, durable, easy-to-clean, antibacterial surface: stainless steel.
As well as patience, what you need for your kitchen project is a crystal ball. Since your kitchen ought to last you a decade, how do you want to use the interior in ten years’ time? Before settling on a layout, home improvers need to decide which pandemic ways of living they will enjoy long term. I’m guessing most of us want to keep WFH, heightened hygiene and the cockapoo, but will be glad to see the back of daily cooking from scratch, home schooling and online PE (we still love Joe Wicks’s cashew curry but his HIIT can hop it).
Tori Summers, director of design, product and innovation at Howdens, says that home improvers should consider “broken-plan” rather than open-plan kitchens. “The need for multifunctional spaces is driving demand for . . . sliding and folding internal glazed doors to allow for flexible kitchen/dining and living spaces.” A word of advice: make sure you leave room for a dancefloor. The kitchen disco, made famous during lockdown by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, has caught the imagination of many a post-pandemic kitchen planner, according to Jeremy Bott, managing director of Blakes London. He custom makes kitchen islands on wheels (kitchens from £45,000, blakeslondon.com) that can be pushed against the wall when the dancing starts.
Kitchen by Roundhouse Design, from £30,000
These are the top seven trends you need to know this spring.
From left: a Tom Howley kitchen in Serpentine; kitchen cabinetry in Messel no 39 by Mylands (£55.50 for 2.5l); an olive green splashback from Alu Splash, from £109
Farewell, bon voyage, adieu (until next time) — two years of Covid-19 has killed off the all-white kitchen. Grey, too, remains passé. Homeowners continue to eschew boring decor, broadening their horizons with bold, mood-boosting hues such as cobalt blue (Hølte kitchens, from £6,100) or cheerful yellow. Jaqueline Mercer, who posts on Instagram @tinyandthehouse, repainted her ink-blue British Standard by Plain English kitchen in Farrow & Ball’s India Yellow.
Jacqueline Mercer’s yellow British Standard by Plain English kitchen. Prices for an average-sized kitchen from £8,000
Emma Burns, the managing director of Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, highlights the uplifting power of zingy jalapeño green: “It’s a glorious shade for kitchens, as we move away from the dark tones of the past few years.” Tone down its punchiness with a dark wooden worktop or raw plaster-finish walls. Indeed green remains a continuing theme throughout our homes — from soft sage to olive and dark forest shades. As does blue: according to the Leicestershire kitchen maker deVOL, blues, greens and warm neutrals paired with brass accents and wood reign supreme. Its most-requested shades in 2021 were Pantry Blue (a rich navy), Mushroom (soft taupe), Linen (oyster), Bakehouse Green (deep green) and Clerkenwell Blue (smart mid-blue).
If you find a colour you love then why not drench the room in it? Richard Moore, the design director of Martin Moore, says: “All-blue kitchens are particularly popular, although two-tone kitchens are still on-trend in 2022.” Painting an island in a statement shade, for example, is an easier way to incorporate bolder, brighter colours into a kitchen scheme without overwhelming the space.
From left: an Olive and Barr kitchen (from £10,000) with cabinets painted in Normandy Grey by Little Greene; kitchen by Hølte; Tom Howley cabinet in Pink Dusk
2. Cupboard love
The designer Tom Howley says: “The first thing customers do when they come into the showroom is open up the cupboards.” They want to see the size of the spice shelves, the configuration and the choice of finishes inside.” The proliferation of flawlessly organised, decoratively arranged larders and kitchen cabinets on social media has sent beautiful cupboard interiors to the top of our domestic wish lists. “Particularly with pantry cabinets, where they like them to either tie in with the kitchen or be a surprise,” says Fiona Ginnett, designer and co-founder of Hølte.
From left: Camada white corka by Colour Flooring, £53 per sq m; Mardi Gras vinyl tiles by Carpetright, £15.39 a sq m; rubber floor; Peppermint Cream rubber floor tiles by Harvey Maria, £39.90 a sq m
If you lust after tumbled limestone, slate, handmade or reclaimed terracotta tiles, do yourself a favour and swipe left. In real life those gorgeous imperfections are traps for crumbs and make the surfaces irritating to clean. (Top tip: vacuum the surfaces rather than sweeping, which simply transfers grit into the grooves.) The kitchen flooring you’ll love to live with is smooth, moppable, warm underfoot and sound dampening. I’m talking about cork, vinyl or rubber. Get extra eco-credit for choosing the natural, sustainable material that is cork, and bonus points if you buy the brand made from 85 per cent reused cork bottle stoppers and offcuts (from £80 per metre, recork.co.uk), which can be washed with a mop such as the Kärcher FC Hard Floor Cleaner. When it comes to vinyl, Carpetright has the value options — such as the tile lookalike pattern Mardi Gras, now £15.39 per square metre, carpetright.co.uk, or find cool colourful plain vinyl at the Colour Flooring Company, at £32 per square metre, colourflooring.co.uk.
Fancy a floral? Try the Gawthorpe Hall collection, by For the Floor and More, £53.95 per square metre, forthefloorandmore.com, or one of Harvey Maria’s designer collaborations, such as Neisha Crosland’s Dovetail, £55 per square metre, harveymaria.com. The Colour Flooring Company’s contemporary Comporta range of rubber on a roll comes in a subtle palette, £63 per square metre, colourflooring.co.uk.
Rug, from £40, braided-rug.co.uk
4. To rug or not to rug
Definitely rug. Kitchen rugs absorb noise, and add comfort, colour and texture. The rule to remember is: no tufts. However pleasant underfoot, deep-pile rugs in the kitchen are insanitary magnets for fragments of food and gatherers of grease. Polypropylene outdoor rugs are ideal for the kitchen, as they can be put in the washing machine as soon as they become smelly or sticky. Add to basket one of the garden rugs at Rockett St George, £48, rockettstgeorge.co.uk, or La Redoute’s terracotta check rug, £95, laredoute.co.uk. Or try a braided rug, made from 100 per cent recycled plastics, from £40, braided-rug.co.uk. Mindful of spills, always choose pattern over plain.
5. Freestanding stars
The fitted kitchen is far from dead but the freestanding elements we choose to complement built-in cabinets are the features that give our homes character. These can be small and mobile — like the Vesken kitchen trolley from Ikea at £10, ikea.com. Or substantial items of furniture such as the Brixton dresser, the new statement storage from Pluck, bringing together antique inspirations and the studio’s crisp, contemporary style, £8,000, pluck.co.uk. William Durrant of Herringbone Kitchens says: “A freestanding bar unit will have your friends and family oohing and aahing.” The designers at deVOL have long favoured a combination of fitted and freestanding elements. Its classic English dresser could cost £7,500, depending on the configuration of spice racks, cold shelves and hardware inside and outside, devolkitchens.co.uk.
From left: a deVOL dresser in Refectory Red, £65 for 2.5l; Artichoke’s cook’s table; a moveable island from Blakes London
The freestanding design of spring 22 is a new twist on a classic piece, according to Andrew Petherick of Artichoke, whose luxury kitchens start from £250,000, artichoke-ltd.com. “Cook’s tables seem to be back in favour — they are more flexible than a more conventional kitchen island,” says Petherick. “While islands bring convenience to a kitchen, they can sometimes feel like a monolithic block. A cook’s table on the other hand provides both practicality and charm.” Artichoke’s cook’s table, in Scottish white elm and sycamore planks, with a section of Carrara marble for pastry making, is tailored to suit the size of the client’s kitchen and designed at a height for use as a work surface. One leg conceals an electricity cable leading to a socket for a food processor.
A WFH space from Herringbone Kitchens
6. WFH SS22
Kitchen designers have been mulling over the practicalities of locating a quiet workstation in a high-traffic hub and come up with several creative responses. Howard Miller of H Miller Bros (kitchens from £35,000, hmillerbros.co.uk) has been designing islands that are longer than ever, to incorporate a home office, and dividing the surface into zones. At Herringbone Kitchens (kitchens from £25,000, herringbonekitchens.com), a custom WFH space is a common client request, and William Durrant has several suggestions up his sleeve: “Use calming colours,” he says. “Among the most popular relaxing tones are neutrals, blushes, soft blues and greens as well as greys with green undertones and tans. The placement is important. Allowing sunshine and natural light to pour into your space will lift your mood and keep you alert.” A traditional diner arrangement of a banquette behind a table is a great configuration for a cosy home office space offering comfortable seating and hidden storage. Durrant’s favourite home office hack? Invest in a boiling water tap — much quicker than waiting for the kettle to boil each time you take a tea break.
John Lewis of Hungerford’s raised feeding station for two weimaraners, a cupboard with built-in cat flap from Neptune, and a dog shower from Martin Moore
7. Pets’ corner, featuring dogs, cats and cavies
Kitchen designers are wooing clients with promises of ever more luxurious canine comforts. In the past couple of years we’ve seen dog showers in utility rooms, puppy dens built into the kitchen islands and underfloor heating mats set into tiles beneath the spot where the labradoodle sleeps — the dog-warming solution for those without an Aga. Tom Howley includes dog stations with bed, shower and storage carved with the pet’s name for puppy impedimenta. Martin Moore builds dog showers, often in an ancillary room off the kitchen (kitchens start from £45,000, utility rooms from £15,000, martinmoore.com). A senior designer at John Lewis of Hungerford, Francesca Fender, was asked for a raised feeding station for two weimaraners and created a porcelain plinth in XTone Nuba White to match the countertop of the kitchen (kitchens from £28,000, john-lewis.co.uk). “As weimaraners are particularly big dogs, we had to make it 18in tall so that they didn’t have to bend down too much when eating, helping to prevent indigestion.” Among Fender’s most unusual pet-related designs was a 1.5m long guinea pig cage, within a kitchen island, allowing the cavies to “feel included” in family mealtimes.
And what of the cats, you ask. Fiona Ginnett of Hølte created her first cat door in a kitchen cupboard in 2017, for her own east London kitchen, and the design has been in demand with her clients ever since. “They are ever so popular. A hole leads into the cabinet and the cat flap goes from the cabinet through the outside wall,” she says. “Common features we are designing at the moment include storage for equipment and bulk bags of food, nooks for dog and cat beds within bench cabinets, secret cubby holes for litter trays in the bottom of tall cabinets and hibernation housing for tortoises.”