1. Streamline surfaces
Think smooth and seamless. Cupboards should reach the ceiling or run flush with a bulkhead, doing away with dustcatching wasted space. Benchtops should be streamlined with few visible joins. Go for under-bench sinks that sit below the benchtop so you can’t see the edges.
2. Integrate applicances
In a quest for open-plan bliss, appliances are making themselves scarce, hiding behind closed doors for a clean look that blends with the living area. For fridges, it’s a matter of fitting a door in the same material as the cupboards. Disguise your dishwasher with an integrated front panel.
3. Get a smart splashback
Want to show off some flair with colour or texture? As the design focus of modern kitchens, the splashback is the best place to do it. Natural, clear glass splashbacks are still high in the style stakes, as are mosaics, or choose the same material as your benchtop for a seamless look.
4. Flaunt benchtops
For a modern benchtop, choose natural textures like marble or matt granite. Stone composites, polished timber and poured concrete are also beautiful. Design-wise, it’s all about chunky slabs with deep edges. For a price-smart option, apply a thick edge to a thin slab.
5. Opt for an island
A well-designed island bench is essential for entertaining. Fit with a sink, cooktop or chopping boards, so the cook can face family and guests. A benchtop overhang makes it comfortable for people to sit. Or if you prefer to keep mess out of sight, a raised edge will hide the lot.
6. Clue up on colour
Create calm by choosing neutral colours. All-white, cream or pale grey are foolproof design classics. Dark tones make an impact, but can overwhelm small spaces, so use on the bottom row of cabinetry. Keep bursts of colour to feature spots, like splashbacks or the front panel of island benches.
7. Choose the right layout
No matter what your style, budget or space, every kitchen layout should be designed around what experts call the ‘Golden Triangle’. This involves placing the main work areas – fridge, sink and oven/cooktop – close to each other, positioned at three sides of a triangle. Regardless of kitchen size, these activity zones should be no more than three metres apart, so you can move easily between them.
8. Switch to clever lighting
Light up your kitchen with pendants or halogens, plus over-bench lights for brighter work spaces. For extra atmosphere while relaxing, fit ceiling lights with dimmers, or just leave on the over-bench lights.
9. Look, no handles
Cupboard handles are best kept low key. Choose invisible angled ‘finger pulls’ cut into the top or side of the cupboards. Or, if you want handles, go for no-fuss designs in matt chrome or stainless steel.
10. Maximise storage
Drawers maximise storage space, making it easy to access your kitchen’s darkest corners. Extra-deep options are perfect for pots and pans. Shallow, extra-wide varieties are great for storing cutlery