By: Mae Case/Rick Hess, DISD
They don’t call it the heart of the home for nothing. Kitchens have always been a favorite room in the home to spend time, rivaling the living or bedroom areas of any abode with the aromatic draw of countless meals being prepared and shared. Though typically a utilitarian space, it’s also a space to create and connect with others.
Because it is such a comforting gathering space for many homes, inhabitants are willing to shell out a pretty penny to customize their kitchens to fit their unique lifestyles. If your kitchen is in dire need of a redesign, consider these predictions in kitchen trends for the upcoming new year that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but eco-conscious as well.
Recycled / Reclaimed Materials
Interior designers and architects are taking sustainability to the next level by using recycled/reclaimed materials for their kitchen designs. Italian kitchen design company Valcucini, for example, states that “Man should not make marks in the sand that cannot be cancelled by the wind.” The company designs products that are 100% recyclable, are formaldehyde emission free, and do not contain wood harvested from primary forests.
More and more kitchen interior designers are using recycled and reclaimed wood, and manufacturers around the world are jumping on board to provide eco-friendly products. Design Institute noticed that interior designers were educating their clients more about sustainability in 2014 than previous years and we anticipate that this trend will continue into 2015.
Natural light has been an important design element in architecture and interior design for hundreds of years. Master architects of the 20th century, such as Louis Kahn and Le Corbusier, emphasized natural light and how it affects the experience of being in a space. Today, interior designers and architects continue to use this strategy in kitchen design for both psychological and environmental reasons. Knowing that sunlight naturally elevates one’s mood, interior designers strategically filter light into kitchens to give their clients a natural energy boost in the morning, and increased use of natural light leads to decreased use of artificial light and the energy that powers it.
Fluorescent lighting is slowly becoming a part of the past as LEDs begin to dominate the interior design industry. Not only do typical LEDs last for 30,000-50,000 hours (three to five times longer than typical compact fluorescent bulbs), but they are also highly energy efficient and recyclable. Kitchen designers are taking advantage of the fact that LEDs are environmentally friendly and come in a wide variety of colors, and companies like Arclinea are building this technology into their products and designs. Interior designers aren’t the only ones taking notice, either: the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics was recently awarded to three scientists for their work on LEDs. LEDs will definitely continue to gain ground in 2015.
Open shelving was very popular in 2014 and will likely continue to be so in the new year. Instead of hiding their pots and plates, people are displaying them artfully. And showing off your beautiful kitchenware isn’t the only reason to incorporate an open shelf design; those who cook regularly will appreciate the easy access and organization open shelves offer, giving their trendy kitchen much more function.
Neutral Color Palette
As renowned architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said, “less is more.” Bold colors gradually lost favor over the past year, and we expect neutral color palettes to dominate in 2015. To avoid creating too cold of an atmosphere, kitchen designers add warm woods to soften the space. Warm woods also help meet their clients’ desire for a direct connection to nature.
Creating a connection to nature is clearly important to many people, and design features that enhance that connection, including natural light, neutral colors and eco-friendly products and materials, will continue to grow in importance. Whether the refrigerator and stove are hardly touched or you’re cooking and baking every single meal, it’s important to outline how the space will be used when considering a kitchen renovation. But whatever design style you tend to gravitate toward, you will have plenty of options in creating a custom kitchen that’s not only aesthetically pleasing but functional and enduring as well.