1. Sustainability As Australians become more environmentally aware, a few small changes in the kitchen can have a significant impact. “The overall idea is to make the kitchen effortlessly eco-friendly so that being green isn’t a sacrifice, it’s just an easy part of your everyday life,” says Susan Hasler of Freedom Kitchens. “Adding a bin system with a built-in recycling compartment or selecting taps with flip handles to reduce water wastage are simple tips that make a difference.” If you’re installing a dishwasher, ask about the energy-and water-rating system to ensure you’re getting the most efficient machine. For cooking appliances, consider ovens with quick heat settings to further reduce energy usage. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) are currently the brightest low-energy option for lighting and are a great alternative to halogens. Freedom Kitchens recently introduced the Greenfirst kitchen, which uses only products that have been independently certified by Good Environmental Choice Australia and incorporates energy- and water-efficient appliances. With an extensive range of colours and finishes available, there’s no need for compromise when it comes to quality, design and sustainability.
2. Colour Vibrant tiles, glass splashbacks and painted feature walls create energy and add a focal point in the kitchen. This year, deep colours such as violet are cutting-edge and look stunning when paired with stainless-steel and glass finishes. “Combine with white walls and sleek white cabinetry for a sophisticated designer kitchen,” suggests Susan. For those tending toward more subdued tones, expect to see greys and charcoals replacing the brown earthy colours of the past decade, with cool metallics keeping the look fresh and providing eye-catching contrast. Blending textures in the kitchen is a popular trend this year; for example, combining a deep rich walnut timber grain with high-gloss cabinets. Frosted-glass cabinets also provide a smart alternate finish.
3. Functionality Consumers today demand more than just good looks in their kitchen; it’s got to work efficiently to make life easier. “Consumers want everyday items at their fingertips,” says Susan. Design concepts such as deeper, wider drawers save space and allow for easy access to hard-to-reach pots and pans, while the metal runners and silent soft-close system deliver added strength and durability. “Pull-out baskets and shelves are a brilliant way to increase usable space and keep pantries organised. Creating dedicated storage areas for spices and cleaning products helps reduce clutter in the cupboards.”
4. The Entertainer’s Kitchen Today’s kitchen is the hub of the household, with cooking, dining and chill-out zones integrating to create relaxed spaces to connect with family and friends. “The kitchen is being reinvented as the second living room and creating a seamless flow between the two areas is more important than ever. We’re starting to see people choose interesting furniture pieces for their kitchen rather than worrying about the practicality of the traditional work triangle,” Susan comments. Handle-free units and high-gloss cabinetry in open-plan kitchens integrate well with adjacent rooms, and according to Susan, counter tops with different thicknesses inject a dynamic designer look into the kitchen. “This is a modern take on the island bench, with preparation and eating areas being more clearly defined.” Devices such as roller shutters remain popular for hiding appliances, however many consumers are now tending toward deep drawers for storing these items, keeping benchtops clear and kitchen clutter to a minimum. 5. The Chef’s Kitchen Cooking is sweeping the nation thanks to the rise of the celebrity chef and shows such as Masterchef, and innovations designed to enhance healthy food preparation are more in demand than ever before. “People are spending more time in the kitchen so benchtops that can handle a lot of wear and tear need to be considered, along with materials that are durable and easy to clean,” says Susan. Freedom Kitchens carries a line of new solidsurface benchtops that are non-porous, making them hygienic for food preparation. “They are very easy to clean and a cost-effective alternative to engineered stone,” she adds. For more information, contact Freedom Kitchens on 1300 885 435 or visit www.freedomkitchens.com.au