Our round-up of some of the key trends, themes and innovations for summer 2021 which hopefully will bring even more inspiration to your designs – and make all the features in your ArtiCAD software work even harder for you and for your clients.
As the Sunday Times states the kitchen has been the focus, heart and soul of most homes for a long time, but this year it had to do a lot more, serving as a “canteen, food storage depot, classroom, office … and a disco”. One recent report indicated that 88% of respondents claim the kitchen is for socialising rather than cooking! But certainly, some of its new roles are probably here to last, making the designer’s job even more interesting – or challenging.
It’s all very well trying to squeeze all these activities into large open plan kitchens, but smaller ones also have to try to deliver all these different requirements. So concealed kitchens, which make use of innovative cabinetry and storage, and which offer a flexible environment to transition between uses, have rapidly become more important. Fingerprint sensors to open doors help with the concealment and hide an item’s true purpose. Floor to ceiling cabinetry along just one wall is a great way to make the most of a small space, with higher shelves being accessed by a kitchen-specific ladder.
One very surprising ‘concealment’ trend is replacing the cupboard door under the sink with a curtain on a rail. Think 1950s and there you have it. Why why why could these curtains possibly be a good idea? Given that cleanliness and hygiene are ranked higher than ever before, it’s difficult to imagine anything other than greasy, dirty finger-marks on these curtains within hours.
Replacing solid cupboard doors with mesh (surely preferable to a curtain?) easily adds a rustic French or industrial note, and is part of the overall ‘personalisation’ or ‘curated’ theme, which has been strong for some time. Not using all off-the-shelf items, but mixing with upcycled or treasured pieces of furniture (from other rooms in the house) can bring great personality to any kitchen. And on the subject of shelves (with demand for them increasing by 130%), they provide both storage and somewhere to display special items or plants.
One of the most desirable storage options is a pantry – and the choices are enormous – providing a single place for all foodstuffs but also being a key part of the ‘concealment’ theme. In a similar vein, wine storage is becoming a must-have item in the kitchen (although not to be concealed) – as well as somewhere special for the dog’s bed, preferably in a purpose-designed niche within the overall cabinetry.
Each time we look at trends, marble is featured highly and this season is no exception with the more strongly veined versions being ranked as the most desirable.
On the colour front, there seems to be the beginning of a transition away from the darker hues of blue and green which have been featured several times before, although they continue to appear. But coming up strongly behind them are wood finishes, including pale ash, or wood combined with black to deliver charm and rusticity. Some designers are looking to bright white kitchens and combining these with richer wood colours such as walnut – and then bringing the look together with ubiquitous marble. Red is also being promoted, with the emphasis on merlot tones rather than the brasher post-box look. But any state of indecision about colour choice can be tackled by using statement colour pops – such as bright orange, lime green and pink for just one cupboard, appliance, chair or splashback – without committing completely.
It’s comforting for all those who have already invested in double islands that this trend continues to grow, and wherever possible these should be linked with additional dining space or a breakfast bar. They should be illuminated by statement lights, but many of these are becoming more subtle and perhaps less like something that might have been more at home in a French chateau.
Putting subtlety to one side, the use of gold is now expanding beyond taps to sinks, as the sink asserts itself as a feature, a statement item (ideally accompanied by a hot water tap). If gold doesn’t work for a homeowner, then the need to make a statement can be achieved equally successfully with granite, marble, concrete and Corian – just ensuring that the sink is as large as possible in the space available. The sink can be accentuated with a statement splashback which can now go from worktop right up to the ceiling (making sure no-one can overlook it). Maybe sinks are taking the place of extractor fans which used to be where statements were made, but which are now much more likely to be specified as downdraft extractors, removing odours at their source on the hob.
At the opposite end of the gold sink spectrum is the desire amongst some homeowners to bring nature into the room, with lots of sage and forest greens and the use of sustainable, environmentally friendly and recycled materials.
Apart from any actual cooking which may be taking place in the kitchen (and not forgetting the disco) many of the other activities are done sitting down, so not surprisingly seating becomes a focal point – with banquettes, and lots of upholstered bar stools taking their place at those enormous islands.
As lockdowns seem to be coming to an end, and we may be allowed out again, technology is focussing on remote surveillance which watches over the kitchen whilst the owner is away, using a combination of thermometers and humidity monitors to detect leaks and other problems.
Here is a room which has provided comfort, security and relaxation during troubled times. The desire for smart, luxurious – and cocooning – bathrooms continues. Apparently the ‘average female’ (whoever she might be) spends at least 29 minutes of each day in the bathroom. A surprisingly exact (and possibly suspect) figure. Presumably men were not questioned.
Fluted finishes on basins and baths, and glassware, bring the style of Art Deco to the bathroom.
The desire to bring nature indoors is very strong in the bathroom – using both real and artificial plants but also increasingly with exotic, lush murals and fabulous, indulgent humidity-friendly wallpapers: the leafier the better to achieve “biophilia”. Or if “Japandi” is what the homeowner wants, combining styles from Scandinavia and Japan, nature is again at the forefront with bamboo and wooden furniture, including wooden basins.
All this lush nature works well with the warmer tones which are featuring such as terracotta, caramel, rust and biscuit, often used with black taps or basins. Coloured sanitary ware is giving white a run for its money, with a wonderful selection of coloured basins to choose from, which can be combined with, for example, a stand-alone copper (or copper-effect) bath.
Some extol pink as the only colour to have in a bathroom, combined with muted green to provide a calming effect or for a more vibrant ambience it can be combined with mustard, apple green and chocolate.
Marble – needless to say – is everywhere, as it has been for a while whether on the floor, on wall tiles, baths or basins.
As in the kitchen where sinks are getting larger, basins are not only becoming more colourful in the bathroom, but the material from which they are made is expanding well beyond traditional ceramic, with the use of glass, concrete and mineral cast.
Shelving also plays an important role in the bathroom – acting as storage for objects which can be on show and also for personal collections.
It is likely that the revival of the curtain under the sink idea in the kitchen strikes horror into many – and similarly in the bathroom, one report indicates that swagged curtains are making a comeback! Let’s not even go there – lingering damp pleats of fabric are never a pleasant thought.
Warmth in a bathroom can be delivered by electric mats under the flooring and perhaps a chunky old-style radiator rather than a towel rail.
In the world of technology for the bathroom, de-misting mirrors should be on everyone’s list. Maybe it is difficult to balance the cocooning objective of a bathroom with the installation of integrated charging and USB ports in the bathroom. However, Bluetooth delivers LED lighting and speakers enabling audio to be streamed into the bathroom from any mobile device.
Beige, white and cream have been the mainstay of bedrooms for years – but grey is valiantly trying to move in as a similarly relaxing and forgiving colour. Darker shades – as have become established in the kitchen – can also work well in a bedroom, especially with just tiny splashes of vibrant colour to add personality. On the other hand, there is an equally strong challenge from rich colours such as red, orange, mustard and various shades of green.
The bedroom is one of those rooms where accent walls seem to work really well – rather than just looking as though the number of rolls of wallpaper may have been underestimated.
Ecological materials and natural fibres are big in bedrooms, together with rustic, wooden cabin styles to create a relaxing sanctuary.
Statement headboards are big – and getting bigger – and they can provide the perfect medium for introducing colour, texture and personality – and within reason, something which can be changed as the mood dictates. These headboards are now joined by bespoke bedside tables – some of which offer integrated power sockets and wireless charging.
What better to accompany a statement headboard than a statement bed, ideally with some metallic finish and piled up with glamorous velvet coverings and cushions.
Storage, storage, storage. The more there is, and the more it can utilise all those otherwise wasted nooks, crannies and odd-shaped corners the better. There should be no opportunity for clutter in the bedroom’s tranquil environment.
When we are not socialising in our kitchens, we spend a third of our lives in bed – so getting the design of this room and its atmosphere just right, is hugely important for all designers and their clients.
Homesandgardens.com; thetimes.co.uk; idealhome.co.uk; housebeautiful.com; realhomes.com; stylist.co.uk; theweek.co.uk; greatbritishife.co.uk; living.co.uk; countryliving.com ; luxurylifestylemag.co.uk