The industrial trend is set to continue for seasons to come. And the darker and moodier, the better. The all-white vibe has moved on and out. Taking inspiration from heavy construction materials such as cement or concrete as well as playing with the beautiful imperfections of oxidized metals and natural stone these subdued tones can create an incredibly modernistic urban look and feel. And that look doesn’t get any better than in cutting edge contemporary kitchen design.
Handle-less kitchen cabinetry combined with luxurious modern worksurface materials in dark sweeping shades deliver a simple, stylish and stunningly seductive kitchen. This is about pared back design in the simplest from and delivered in the highest-quality materials and it most definitely suits contemporary kitchen design.
So, with bells and whistles removed, kitchens are less busy and more subdued. Include the fact that texture plays a hugely important role, letting it speak for itself, and you add another dimension to design truly bringing these tones to life. For large open plan kitchens with plenty of light, this is a kitchen design that, whether period property, loft apartment or stylish modern living, just works.
And it isn’t just about black. These collections include shades of greys and coppers giving brilliant scope for you to get as creative as you like.
And to soften the industrial look there are woods, glass and metals that can be used to create an amazing effect. Open shelving areas bring a lightness and airiness to a space and combined with the right lighting will make the most of this design style. Opting for lighting for different moods and occasions is a must so considering overhead, under cabinet and optional side lamps should be all part of the design planning. These palettes give a wonderful opportunity to keep tones muted or add a dash and splash of colour in different finishes contrasting matt and muted cabinetry with shiny and reflective accessories.
We said the all-white was out, however, combine the two and smaller kitchens can get away with this look, with clever design and especially when careful consideration is given to lighting. Combining gloss white, which is wonderfully reflective, with the moodier industrial tones can work to beautiful effect and ensures a space doesn’t feel too dark.
And then of course to worksurfaces. The rise and rise of modern worksurface materials including “ultra compacts”, also known as “sintered ceramics” have to an extent driven and supported this trend to ultra modernization. Brands such as Dekton, Neolith and Lapitec present a wealth of designs that are so tactile with their matt finishes and reinterpretations of an industrial look and feel.
These materials take design to a whole new level with, in some cases, door fronts now finished in these sintered materials allowing you to perfectly match worksurface and door to create one ultra sleek and almost seamless, unified, solid look for both. Not only that, their performance as a worksurface is just exceptional.
Take Dekton, a Sintered Ceramic material made of porcelain, glass and quartz. This is a worksurface material that has zero porosity making it highly resistant to stains and also highly resistant to scratching. This is a material that is UV stable so doesn’t fade over time. In addition, it’s impeccable resistance to high temperatures means its aesthetics and properties are not affected so hot pans are no match for Dekton. Whilst other surfaces will show the effects of wear and tear over time, Dekton’s finish lasts for its entire life so no need to replace or retouch.
The use of chopping boards is recommended .. but to protect utensils. And designs can work brilliantly together from worksurface to island units to seating areas – combine, contrast, match – whichever you choose, you won’t be disappointed, this is sophistication itself, and with materials available in slim and sleek 20mm or 12mm it is the perfect choice to create a kitchen that is the height of today’s design. These materials can be challenging to fabricate so choose your kitchen company wisely. Not all will offer this material but for those that do, and do it well, they are worth a visit.
Or opt for Quartz, where a wealth of choice and shades of grey leading to black make this a great choice for the urban kitchen look. Worksurfaces bear the brunt of day to day living, they are the “workhorse” of the kitchen so choosing the right material is crucially important. They also form such a large visual aspect of the kitchen, they are often the first thing you see and can transform a space. Quartz is a perfect material for worksurfaces and hugely popular. The combination of performance and price can make it great value. It is essential to use trivets and boards to protect the surface from damage and worth noting that highly coloured foods and spices can leave their mark, but otherwise, it is a contender and the range of colours and finishes are huge.
Black or darker palettes of graphites and charcoals teamed with darker door options can be tricky to get right. Working hand in hand with a skilled designer who is adept at combining materials, finishes and colour and who can lead you through the design process is key. For example, sounds obvious, but it is really important to consider the natural light in the kitchen. And is this a kitchen for you? Or a rental property? If it’s all a bit too much but you simply love the look but don’t want the stark contract of “black and white” then layering of blacks and greys can work brilliantly. These dark to lighter hues can work in perfect combination.
Light and dark interaction has a huge impact on the mood of a room and putting the emphasis on texture as well as colour so giving your designer a free reign to play around with cabinetry, surfaces, flooring and wall colours can be inspiring.
And what about flooring? Well it really can tie the entire design together. Without doubt tiles have got larger with 1m x 1m and 1.2m x 1.2m porcelains becoming more mainstream. And why not? They look incredible. Echoing the same themes as worksurfaces, they too take inspiration from nature from the elements to the earth and landscape to industrial designs and oxidized metals and the built environment to create large expanses of flooring seamlessly joining hallways to living and dining areas and therefore the perfect way for you to bring your entire kitchen design together.
And with designs that complement this dark and moody look to perfection. Embracing minimalistic design, the right floor surfacing will, in fact, do more than complement the look, it will undoubtedly enhance it. Less grout lines, more tile, to stunning effect and balancing that from floor to splashback is an idea that can bring the whole design together perfectly. And the right ranges work so effectively with this urban look, not just because of the size but because of the designs creating a beautifully unique style. Working seamlessly across open plan areas large format tiling can bring a space together wonderfully.
Getting the balance right is key. From all black cabinetry and worksurfaces to layered shades of black and greys to using a lighter colour to balance for smaller kitchens, it’s a designer’s role to get that just right and be thinking about texture and light amongst other things. If the mood takes you, this is a design idea that is definitely worth exploring.
Smarthaus is housed in the Old Print Works in Kettering, Northamptonshire, a gorgeous example of Victorian architecture, set over 3 floors. Our extensive ground floor showroom features a number of inspirational kitchen displays and our 2nd floor Bathroom Showroom is full of ideas for your next project. With over 12 years specializing in the design, supply and installation of contemporary German kitchens and bathrooms, we know great design. Our focus is on Northants and our surrounding counties and into London and we offer an extensive range of Sintered Ceramic worksurfaces as well as Quartz, Granite and Marble. Our range of large format Porcelain tiles is also showcased at our showroom with our new website coming soon. Our consultations, advice and designs are free of charge.