9 Ultimate Kitchen Design Trends for 2015

“Things do not change; we change”. These famous words by author Henry David Thoreau perfectly explain our recurring need to create change around us. As we change, we begin to see our surroundings differently, which is probably why we redecorate every few years! We’ve compiled the latest modern kitchen design trends for 2015 for the people who’ve changed and want their new outsides to match their new insides.

1. The Kitchen As An Entertainment Area

“The kitchen is the heart of the home” is an old adage that refers to the kitchen being the traditional female or maternal space of the house, where a family’s relationships are so often tethered. Modern kitchen design has taken this old saying to a more literal place. These days our kitchens are often the actual ‘heart’ or centre of the house – easily the most lived-in space that is now considered an official living area too.

2015 kitchens will be designed primarily around family and friends spending time in the kitchen as a legitimate hangout venue and not just a food preparation space. According to Kim Hansen of Kitchen Classics, 2014 winner of the Caesarstone Kitchen Designer competition, “The kitchen design, finishes and colours should be a continuation of the décor and finish of the rest of the house’s living spaces. The kitchen shouldn’t be something that clashes with the overall style of the house”.

Penthouse apartment redesign by Dragon Art in Poland

Thoughtful styling and décor items in the kitchen will become more prominent as we attempt to create a cosy ‘nest’ for our guests and ourselves. When it comes to true hospitality, ambience is everything, so pick items that speak of who you are right now and how you want guests to feel in your home.

We will continue seeing kitchen islands designed with a section at dining table height and accompanied by dining-table-height chairs, but don’t let a large kitchen island lull you into the illusion that you have enough preparation space.

A kitchen by Scott Salisbury Homes featuring a Caesarstone island and countertops

Liz Morris, Editor of House & Garden magazine warns, “Prep space needs to be very defined. Many people think a wide island counter top will be enough prep space, but in reality that wide island will be used for homework. You will end up assembling salads in a tiny space next to the sink that has the wrong surface for cutting! Enter the multi-functional, multi-level island that can obviously accommodate prep, plating and social stuff”.

A parting thought on entertaining in your kitchen: if you’ve got space to work with, consider including a breakfast bar and a small reading nook or TV lounge as well to complete your ultimate living area of the home.

2. Transitional style

The age of the super minimalist kitchen is coming to a close as homeowners begin to shift back towards warm, homey spaces. Transitional styles tend to embody elements of multiple looks as designers mix and match features in response to homeowners’ tastes and new product developments. This trend makes sense in the age of limitless options as we long for the old days, yet enjoy the excitement and user-friendliness of modern innovations. Strictly sticking to one style is a discipline that has been rendered obsolete in most modern homes, except in cases where the overall architecture and style of the house demands continuity of design.

Total Concepts designed this open plan California transitional kitchen-come-dining area

“We’re seeing designers mix modern kitchen countertops with traditional cabinetry, and on the other side of the coin, modern kitchens with homey styling that both create a more comfortable ambience,” says Caesarstone marketing director, Trevor King.

Transitional styles are gaining traction because they may very well have longer shelf lives than stricter styles and offer ultra-hospitable South Africans the guest-friendly spaces we all aspire to create.

3. Cleverer Storage Space

The past few years have seen innovation in how we store our kitchen items. From drawer organisers, to pull-out pantries and corner cabinet shelves, designers are improving the ergonomics of our kitchens.

“The trends for 2015 include a well thought out, smart and sophisticated use of space for prep and storage. If you spend money on a kitchen designer and top-drawer appliances and finishes it would be a disappointment to end up storing your spices on the window sill because that is where they are most handy,” says 2014 Caesarstone kitchen design competition judge and House & Garden Editor, Liz Morris.

Kalea – a modern Italian kitchen by Cesar showcasing new kitchen cabinet storage trends

Liz continues, “With countertops getting deeper or wider because they need to multitask more, the storage below is generally too ample to access easily. Thus, we are seeing more systems within systems to organise that space. Cabinetry programmes and drawer inserts will become something that really makes a difference.”

Two-time Caesarstone kitchen design competition finalist, Vince Muir, says, “We’re seeing a demand for big drawers divided into compartments with internal lighting and specialised runners. Push-touch technology is dominating cabinet doors, which has made handles obsolete in these cases, although I’m not a great fan”.

4. Patterns and Geometrics

Coming into their own this year are patterns and geometrics. Hexagons, honeycomb shapes and repetitive, retro-inspired motifs are being seen in kitchens in Europe and Australia – a sure indicator that we will begin seeing them in South African kitchens, too. Like any high fashion trend, you should be wary of implementing this one too hastily as it could go out as quickly as it came in.

kitchen + bathroom TRENDS featuring Caesarstone Sleek Concrete countertops

If you want to play with this trend in your kitchen now, try applying wallpaper to a feature wall in the kitchen area, or experimenting with geometrics on your backsplash area. Just make sure the wallpaper you get has a coating that can be easily cleaned – you wouldn’t want to ruin your beautiful shapes with oil splatters!

Beyond Homes and Building Bloc Design in Canada

Along with patterns, art deco and art nouveau styles are reappearing interior design influences, which means these styles could begin to impact kitchen design as well. As with all trends, pick and choose elements that excite your senses or help to set the scene you’re building in your home.

5. LED Lighting

Lighting has steadily become a strong design feature in kitchens across styles, with LED lighting coming to the fore in more recent years.

Not only energy-saving, more eco-friendly (and more importantly, Eskom-friendly), LED lighting is more efficient and may be applied to unusual spots in the kitchen. Foot-level lighting, interior draw lighting and under-shelf lighting are just some of the useful applications for LED strips.

A kitchen by Independent Builders Geelong featuring Caesarstone Raven and Organic White

Don’t forget to think about your daytime and night lighting needs when designing your kitchen. Even deep cabinets and pantry cupboard interiors that can get murky towards the back should be considered as spots for lighting.

Finally, don’t forget that onyx, some marble surfaces, as well as Caesarstone Concetto colours can be backlit to create drama and even night features in your kitchen. If the material has been tastefully applied, backlighting should make them appear even more magical.

6. Trending Materials

Kitchen design trends are often linked to the ebb and flow in the popularity of materials and finishes. High gloss cabinetry was the go-to material 5 years ago, but we’re seeing a swing towards more textured surfaces as well as natural materials.

Textured, dark grey cabinets juxtaposed with smooth Caesarstone Calacatta Nuvo surfaces from Natalie Carter of Retreat Design

What we haven’t lost from 2014 kitchen design trends is juxtaposing contrasting textures such as polished stone and textured wood, but going forward expect to see more matte finishes entering the kitchen space via light fittings, cabinetry, flooring and accessories. (Check out Caesarstone’s new concrete-inspired colours that offer a honed, ‘concrete finish’ for an enticing, non-reflective designer surface option.)

“The cold, shiny, white kitchen is over. Warmth and light are as desirable in a kitchen as anywhere else in the home, thus engineered wood and stone, steel and ceramics are key materials and should be spec’d as a family of tonal texture blocks,” says Liz Morris.

Metallics aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, either. What used to be frowned upon, mixing bronze, gold, brass, copper, silver and stainless steel will now be a welcome sight in trendy kitchen designs. This trend, if applied with restraint and discretion, can work across almost any kitchen design style too. Try applying these metallics in the form of carefully selected accessories, décor items or splashbacks for a luxe effect. If you have a penchant for metallic antiques, now is your time to shine!

This transitional industrial kitchen features furniture style cabinetry and mixing metallics, also displaying Caesarstone Sleek concrete and Caesarstone Raw Concrete countertops

Concrete- and marble-inspired countertops and timber will retain their centre stage spots as homeowners embrace classic materials that have universal appeal and aesthetic longevity.

Caesarstone Sleek Concrete is featured in this transitional industrial kitchen

7. Natural Neutrals

Luckily the pendulum of change swings at a somewhat moderate pace when it comes to design, which means neutrals and natural tones are still trending this year.

Ranging from off whites through to dark charcoals, neutrals are always ideal as base colours for any design scheme. Natural finishes and materials, as well as various washed or textured timbers and natural stone can be woven into kitchen designs to keep them on trend and looking fresh.

This neutral kitchen by Kitchen Design Co features Caesarstone Calacatta Nuvo countertops

Black, white and greys will remain a popular colour combination in 2015 kitchens, however, don’t forget that predominantly black kitchens tend to create a masculine energy and are most often associated with bachelor pads.

8. Furniture-style Kitchen Cabinetry

Shaker-style and country kitchens have been growing in popularity, with the latest twist to this look seen in furniture style kitchen designs. We’re seeing a growing number of designers spec kitchen pieces instead of built-in cabinets, which can further cement the farmhouse look and feel. However, don’t forget that this is an optional trend, and that this too shall pass... Ripping out your existing built-in cabinets may not be the long-term solution you’re looking for.

Furniture style kitchens are back, by Refurbished Ideas

Farmhouse sinks will continue to feature in these old-world designs, and cabinet handles won’t be going anywhere, making push-touch doors unnecessary. Soft-close technology is still a must though.

Farmhouse sinks and antique-flavoured country style kitchens will remain a classic choice. Featuring Caesarstone Shitake countertops

Although we see this trend going out of style in 2 to 3 years, the main advantage of this particular style is that you can take your kitchen with you, should you sell your house!

9. “Antique” Everything

The evidence that we’re still obsessed with the antique look can be found in search trend results from Google. Searches for ‘antique’ have been undertaken more than twice the number of times people have searched for ‘contemporary’, which indicates that old-world charm and style have gotten a firm grip on our hearts!

However, just because we’re searching for ‘antique’ doesn’t mean we’re actually searching for bona fide antiques. The surge of metallic and genuine timber finishes creeping back into kitchen design hearkens back to the honesty of the materials and designs from ages past. As we try to warm up our kitchen spaces we’re moving back towards traditional kitchen designs and styles, which demand real materials to create the look and feel we’re longing for.

A traditional or country style kitchen featuring Caesarstone Dreamy Marfil kitchen countertops

As a result, you can bank on seeing more engineered stone countertops with the traditional double ogee profile or other classic edges, handles on cabinet doors and drawers, muted paint tones and textured, real surfaces and finishes coming back into our kitchen spaces.

The unusual profile on this Caesarstone Calacatta Nuvo countertop has an antique look by Brisbane Granite and Marble

In terms of countertops and backsplashes, marble-inspired engineered stone like Caesarstone will add the perfect, antique touch while offering top-notch durability and a reliable warranty. Caesarstone Shitake can also be applied beautifully in antique or farm-style kitchens to great effect.

If you’re looking to create an outstanding, free-standing kitchen island unit, why not try sourcing gorgeous antique-style table legs and cladding the top with a marble-inspired Caesarstone kitchen countertop? That way you can avoid the pitfalls of natural marble, but keep the timeless aesthetic and gain an exceptionally durable surface at the same time. This kitchen island ‘piece’ will become a treasured heirloom you can take with you wherever you go.

To satisfy your predilection for all things antique, don’t forget to keep your eyes open for metallic, ceramic, cast iron and timber kitchen accessories too!

Trend Watch

Caesarstone Sleek Concrete kitchen countertop with a matching Caesarstone sink

Goodbye stainless steel and hello design-friendly sinks! Matching countertops and sinks are now a thing of the present, so if you’re remodeling your kitchen in the next few months or years, be sure to budget for a sink that will add that special something to your kitchen or scullery. And if you've installed a new Caesarstone kitchen over the past year, be sure to enter the Caesarstone Kitchen of the Year competition for a chance to win R50,000!

Caesarstone now offers a range of Caesarstone sinks that will offer designers and homeowners a unified kitchen countertop solution. Contact a Caesarstone distributor for enquiries.