When it comes to designing a home or a house, two special places stand out: the kitchen and the bathroom. Planning these is a complex task: it’s not just ergonomics, engineering choices and technical solutions, but visual design as well, and this is what makes it a real challenge. Making kitchens perfect for their users is crucial. We talked to Erzsébet Ács, President of the National Association of Interior Decorators about the role of kitchens in modern homes, how this is changing, and the most important design principles and trends.
The world has changed in the past 10-20 years. Kitchens have once again truly become central to personal and family experiences. We welcome guests in our homes, we cook for our friends and family members, children take part in kitchen work: we’re witnessing the renaissance of family-centered culinary culture.
People become more open to change as well, we travel abroad and gain a lot of knowledge and experience about the world in the process. We go to restaurants, try out new things, and a desire awakens in us to recreate these special moments. We want to be able to serve sushi for our friends, or to have a barbecue – we want to cook restaurant-level meals. These growing demands are strengthening and reforming the role of kitchens in our lives.
We see a surge in American-style kitchens where family activities are no longer limited to the living room: children learn or play in the kitchen while parents cook.
There are endless options when it comes to materials and colors. It used to be a well-established fact that the backsplash needs to be tiled for easy cleaning, even though grout is susceptible to staining. Today there are several better backsplash solutions, including groutless tile or glass, or even the same material that is used for the countertop. These are usually much easier to clean and create a unified visual appearance for the kitchen furniture. Washable paint and wallpaper is also available. A lot of people still think that glass is a bad choice, whereas it’s really easy to clean, one of the best materials in that regard.
Classic white furniture panels are also declining in popularity. Manufacturers are aiming for a more natural look: we love natural and organic materials – our top choices for the perfect worktop are stone or granite -, these solutions come with a price however. In the ever-growing market of worktops, I’m sure everyone will find the perfect choice of materials for their kitchen, and the available sizes are also more varied than ever: 3, 4 and even 5 cm thick worktops are becoming more and more popular, while a demand for extra-thin worktops is also growing.
Handles are gone in 2019, resulting in clean, uniform surfaces. This allows us to play with handle-free cabinets, panels and machine fronts – we don’t have to hide kitchen appliances anymore, and thanks to the latest design trends these will naturally fit into the overall visual concept of our kitchen. Whether you’d like your furniture to blend in or stand out, you will find the perfect solution.
Small and major kitchen appliances are available in several shapes, forms and colors: kitchen hoods that resemble design lamps or other decor items. They can be fully integrated in countertops as well. The range of available colors and materials for these appliances is also huge: inox, black or a selection of lively colors, glass, white, grey or black induction hobs, partially or fully integrated – you name it. Sinks can be matched in material with your countertop. Exposed concrete worktops are also becoming popular: it can either blend in or stand out – it only depends on what your visual concept is. Talk to an expert to find the best options for your kitchen.
There’s a growing demand for kitchens that are fully or – with the help of a glass panel – partially connected to the living room, so that friends and family can spend time together even when kitchen work is going on.
A number of functional innovations are making kitchen life easier with the arrival and growing popularity of fully removable cabinets and drawers – the ability to easily see and look through your tools and equipment in those cabinets is resulting in a level of convenience that was inconceivable a few years ago!
Old habits die hard, but people are usually open for good advice and new ideas. We rarely think of how a smaller kitchen can result in better organization. Whatever the case, we have to ask the question: can it be done? There are technical obstacles and difficulties that are better left unbothered – you wouldn’t want to re-structure piping in your home, for example.
Call a designer when it’s still a relatively flexible situation. When certain technical choices have already been made, and you end up not being able to fit your dishwasher in its designated place, even designers will have a hard time solving the problem. Ergonomic problems usually fall into this category with too little space left for a convenient work area.
And it’s not all about the kitchen: you have to think of your home as a whole. The kitchen has to fit into the picture visually and functionally. With American-style kitchens, noise reduction and the role of hoods is very important. A designer will help you realize a kitchen that best suits your needs.
Careful design is not a luxury: even the smallest homes can be transformed into something special, more beautiful and better. We offer simple verbal advice for those who cannot afford full professional advice on their kitchen plans.
As I’ve said before, everything starts with the kitchen and the bathroom. Every other room and other parts of your home can be much more easily planned, while your kitchen and bathroom is a long-term investment. It has to be really thought through: you wouldn’t want to make it over every 1 or 2 years. And refurbishing your home is a huge task. It’s a cliché but it’s true: it’s really difficult to find an architect or a designer that you can fully trust. And the best people are hard to reach, difficult to book. Everything has to be carefully planned out in advance – sufficient time is crucial. Don’t rush it and you won’t be disappointed. It’s your home and it should take time.
If you’d like to know more about kitchen planning and design, visit the Kitchen Show on March 1-3. 2019, where experts from the National Association of Interior Decorators are offering full advice on planning and designing your dream kitchen. The Association was proud to be asked by the organizers to realize a birthday design for the 10th Kitchen Show. This installation was made by the Association’s three designer (Erzsébet Ács, Judit Kővári and Tibor Takách-Batta) with help from exhibitors of the Kitchen Show.