In the home design industry, early fall is the time when new kitchen products and trends are introduced for the coming year and beyond.
Flip through any design magazine and you’ll see sizzling hot new looks, finishes and styles.
This year, one of the biggest kitchen trends is the modern European kitchen. Its clean lines and sparse display shelves are a testament to well-planned storage, and its hidden appliances help to create a pared-down backdrop when installed in open-concept style homes.
Popular colours for European cabinets and countertops are either dark grey or black for a modern look, or a mixture of white and wood for a more casual approach. Remember: Simplicity is key to a European modern kitchen, so use no more than three different finishes (various colours for wood, stone and paint). If you want to modernize and simplify the style of your home, then a kitchen reno is a great place to start. I’ve cooked up some decor rules and ideas to help achieve an on-trend kitchen that will be in style for years to come.
1. Simple cabinets. Unadorned slab-style cabinet doors are the choice for this ultra modern kitchen. Concealing the fronts of your fridge and dishwasher help to hide kitchen appliances. You won’t see much if any hardware on doors and drawers of the Euro kitchen: Small concealed tab pulls help open doors and drawers. Open shelving is configured into the cabinetry design to alleviate an overly boxy look; the interiors of those open shelves are finished with the same materials used on the outside of the cabinets. If you can forego some wall storage, a stove wall without cabinets is a nice way to open up the room — this requires good storage planning in other areas of the kitchen, but can offer a dramatic focal point to the cooking area.
2. Hard-working surfaces. The wear and tear in most kitchens happens on the counters. When incorporating a Euro-style kitchen, consider using hard-working, industrial materials, such as stone, concrete and manufactured quartz or Dekton products that all offer heavy wear and tear. I like to use the countertop materials on the backsplash for a visually simple look. Lately, I’ve gravitated to Dekton, a relatively new product, with its virtually indestructible surface with high resistance to heat, scratching, UV, abrasion and freezing. It can even be used to clad building exteriors in our climate (for more information you can visit www.dekton.com). After all, if you are going to invest in a quality kitchen, you don’t only want it to look good, but also perform at its very best.
3.Functional accessories. It’s often said functional kitchen accessories (such as faucets, sinks and lighting) are like jewelry for the kitchen. In a minimal Euro-style kitchen, those features are often the only visible design elements so they should be design-focussed as well as functional. Refined quality materials and on-trend finishes will add interest. Look for matte black faucets (they look like sexy velvet) or brushed gold on modern shapes: a sense of history meets the future.
4. Euro-style. This is where homeowners can have fun — the accessories. But there are some guidelines. Ensure every accessory you display in your kitchen is useful. Cutting boards, small appliances and pots and pans become decorative elements as well as being useful when the kitchen is up and running. This is where the simplicity rule flies out the window: Choose items that are beautiful, useful and have a story to tell. An antique pizza board, copper pots and a curated collection of pottery jars add useful and artful detail and help to soften the stark feeling of a modern kitchen. Designer tip: For spot-on European kitchen accessories, check out the European Event at Homesense stores happening Sept. 12-18. It has guaranteed best prices on imported European kitchen goods.
Three decorating rules that guarantee a winning recipe for any kitchen design
1. The exposed stove. This is one major kitchen appliance where you are justified in spending your money on style. It’s the only appliance that cannot be covered or hidden by a cabinetry finish. The stove and hood fan should be a focal point in the room.
2. Cabinet colour. Whether it be modern or traditional, white kitchen cabinetry is always in style. If choosing wood cabinets, be sure it blends/matches with other wood elements in your home.
3. Flooring. Although flooring should blend with elements within a kitchen, it should also extend from other areas of the house. You could say the floors marry the rest of the house with the kitchen. Never match a kitchen floor to the countertop or backsplash — it’s too predictable and runs the risk of overuse, which can cheapen the look.
Do you have a decor dilemma or want to give feedback? You can contact Karl on Facebook or Instagram at Karl Lohnes Designer
Karl has worked as a home decor expert and product designer for 25 years. He appears Thursdays during the 8 a.m. hour on Global News Morning Montreal.