Flexible features, eco elements and a space that provides a sanctuary

Flexible features, eco elements and a space that provides a sanctuary - 2023 kitchen trends according to a design expert

Benchmarx Kitchens

Ruth Lavender, design expert at Benchmarx Kitchens & Joinery, outlines the top kitchen trends to look out for in 2023:
“Over recent years, the way we use our living spaces has changed, and the kitchen is no exception. Many of us are now enjoying more time in our homes, whether it’s remotely, entertaining, or relaxing. This shift in behaviour has not only influenced the role of the home and certain features that have become the new non-negotiables, but it has also had a more nuanced effect on emerging interiors trends.
“Homeowners are becoming more selective over the trends and styles they incorporate – they’re looking for a kitchen design that will not only add flair, but also work for them and their families for years to come.
“Here are some of the trends that are set to dominate kitchen design in 2023.
“As we’re spending more time at home, there’s a greater focus on creating a space that makes us feel relaxed and at ease. This trend has trickled down from the bathroom, into the living room and is now making its way into kitchen design.
“Sanctuary-style kitchens are perfect for those who prefer a slower pace of life. It’s a ‘less is more’ approach which draws on influence from nature, bringing a sense of calm into the home amidst so much external uncertainty. This trend highlights the importance of self-reflection through serenity, muted tones and raw materials.
“Here, think of a colour palette that takes inspiration from the outdoors. Greens work particularly well due to their association with nature and wellness – helping to bring the outdoors in. Olive green pairs well with leathers, deeper forest greens and natural greenery, such as leafy house plants. Nourishing and balancing, this shade is incredibly versatile, possesses a trans-seasonal quality and is just so easy to live with.
“Forest green, which has grown in popularity in the kitchen, will continue its reign in 2023, whether it’s incorporated through cabinetry, splashbacks, paint or accessories. Its popularity is down to its timeless, calming and cosy qualities. Pairing perfectly with light neutrals, other green hues and even dark greys and black for a bolder scheme, it’s a colour that’s here to stay.
“Midnight and navy blue can also play perfectly into this trend. Rich, mature and effortless, dark blue shades match beautifully with gold, silver and copper hardware and complement neutral tones effortlessly.
“For those wanting a softer aesthetic, driftwood blue is a great option – a hue for all seasons, it embodies the colour of sea water while carefully integrating grey and green undertones to evoke feelings of calm and comfort. As the kitchen is often the busiest room of the house, a gentle tone like this can provide a tranquil setting.
Flexible spaces
“Kitchen designs that serve a multitude of functions will continue to dominate in 2023. For many, it’s a no brainer to maximise a space’s capabilities to meet a flexible lifestyle, as this is key to creating an environment that works for our individual needs and requirements.
“Now more than ever, our kitchens are being used as spaces that not only serve as a place to prepare meals, but as daytime offices, dining rooms and entertaining spaces too. This means maximising space and finding new solutions has never been more important. 
“I always encourage our customers to consider their lifestyle to help inform their kitchen design. Storage needs, seating options, smart technology, lighting and integrated appliances are a few of a long list of features that should be considered when designing a multi-functional space.
“Even the smallest of details can make real impact. For example, the layout of internal storage can be a gamechanger when it comes to the functionality of your space. Integrated carousels are excellent for convenience as they allow you to locate different utensils quickly without you having to scramble around at the back of the cupboard. Helpful details like accessible plug sockets by work spaces, wireless chargers and integrated bins can really facilitate a fluid lifestyle, ensuring that a kitchen design works in harmony with you. Not only do these details help a kitchen space to be used to its full potential, but make it easy to enjoy too.

“The freedom trend is all about expression and individuality, and its colour palette epitomises this. Packed full of warm, bold colours, such as soft-toned pinks, yellows and oranges that fire up the imagination, as well as pastel blues, and warm-tone neutrals, these hues are perfect for making a statement that showcases personality.
“Showcasing a luminous, fantastical feel, we’re likely to see more and more consumers opt for these colours to channel their creativity. They promote joy, optimism and provide the perfect antidote to the seriousness of modern life.
“This palette can be embraced in multiple ways, depending on your style. Muted sunflower tones pair well with deep blues, offering a calm, serene feel to a space. If you want to be bolder, opt for burnt oranges or deep reds on upholstery, statements sofas and other accessories. The trend can also be beautifully integrated into the kitchen through statement walls, graphic prints and wall art to create pops of colour.
“Incorporating freedom-inspired hues through kitchen cabinetry is a bold yet brilliant way of showcasing personality. Alternatively, opting for grey or white cabinetry can help balance colour used elsewhere in a space to ensure it doesn’t overpower the senses. It all depends on personal preference, but the overall trend offers a vibrant feel and is perfect for modern creative spaces like the kitchen.
“If incorporated cleverly and tastefully, this trend can stand the test of time and provide you with a space that makes you smile every time you enter the room.

“Similar to sanctuary, the Eco colour palette takes inspiration from the natural world, with blues, greens and earth tones dominating the trend. It’s the perfect scheme for nature-loving homeowners who want to create a tranquil setting.
“Natural upholstery such as rattan, hessian and linen work well here, particularly when paired with rustic, oak furniture and an abundance of greenery – think ferns, palms and monstera.
“Key to this trend is not only aesthetic, but the functionality and efficiency of the kitchen too, making it a more sustainable and eco-friendly space. Those looking to be more mindful of their energy consumption should consider this in the early design stages.
“Choosing energy-efficient appliances is a great place to start – from dishwashers and fridge freezers to hot water taps and smart thermostats, there’s plenty of ways to be more eco-friendly in the kitchen.

“When designing your kitchen, it’s also important to consider the small things that can help you be more sustainable. For example, if you compost food waste and split out your recycling, you should think about incorporating a cupboard to house your bins and keep them tucked away. 
“An island herb planter is another way to bring this trend into the kitchen, as not only does it offer an eco-friendly way to grow your own produce, but it adds a nice touch of greenery too.
“Flooding the space in natural light is a great way of bringing the outdoors in and helping your space feel more connecting with nature. Consider skylights and bifold doors to open up your kitchen space and make it feel airier. For the winter months, you’ll want to ensure you have multiple light sources, as you’re likely to miss the natural light as the evenings draw in. LEDs and strip lighting are energy-efficient options to keep your kitchen feeling cosy in the evening.”

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