Renovating an old kitchen or designing and new one is all about gathering good ideas, some kitchen inspiration, and executing them well. However, it can be hard to tell the good kitchen design ideas apart from the bad ones, and identify which kitchen design ideas will withstand the test of time, while also looking up-to-the-minute today. The latest HIA Kitchens and Bathrooms survey found that the cost of installing a brand new kitchen in a new home was around $21,132, while kitchens installed as part of a renovation cost $21,840 on average. Kitchen design isn’t cheap, so it’s worthwhile spending the time to fully develop your kitchen ideas before you test so much as a paint swatch.
Sydney-based interior designer and ILVE Appliances Partner Greg Natale is one of Australia’s most well-respected designers, and an expert when it comes to using colour and print in interiors. We spoke to Greg about his best kitchens design ideas, and what it takes to develop a truly great kitchen layouts.
What are the latest kitchen design ideas and trends?
Eurocucina is the kitchen design arm of one of the world’s biggest design fairs, Salone del Mobile, which is held in Milan each year. In 2018, the biggest trends were gorgeous appliances, with standouts being the Dolce & Gabbana x Smeg collection, and black stainless steel and sunset bronze finishes on kitchen appliances from Whirlpool. Smart technology was another huge trend in kitchens for 2018, and everything from ovens to fridges had voice control, Google Assistant and internet capabilities.
The design fair also highlighted the use of beautiful cabinetry and smartly integrated storage in kitchens, along with a return to darker, more experimental colour palettes. While Hipages reported that this year the biggest kitchen design ideas were clean bench tops, extra storage, multi-purpose lighting and unique sinks and tapware, it pays to step out your comfort zone and try new, innovative kitchen styles if you really want a standout room.
Revival of colour and pattern
"The latest colour trends in kitchen design right now is blue. We are seeing a lot of interest in blue being used in kitchen design ideas right now. In particular, navy blue is really making its mark," says Greg. "We're also seeing a revival of wonderfully patterned tiles and colourful tiling working its way back into the kitchen design, which I’m thrilled about! More people are also making a feature of their range hoods."
When it comes to materials, Greg suggests getting a little experimental. "Australia has a long-term love affair with American oak and veneers in the kitchen. What’s exciting is that we’re seeing people embrace metals, like brass, to clad their joinery. It brings a certain warmth to the kitchen, and adds a little glamour, too."
The kitchen as an entertaining space
On the topic of appliances, Greg explains that kitchens are now being designed to be an entertaining space just as much as a functional space. "There is a real increase in the number of wine fridges being installed and worked into kitchen design ideas. They really extend the usability and practicality of the kitchen, focused on evening entertaining, with the possibility of friends enjoying a glass of wine over dinner."
What makes a great kitchen design idea?
“Take the time to plan,” says Greg. “Before you even settle on a tile, a colour, or an appliance – really take some time to think about how you and your family might engage with and use this space.”
“All too often a cookie cutter approach to a kitchen will fall short of servicing your requirements, and lead to frustration, no matter how beautiful it is,” says Greg. “No two kitchens we have designed are the same, we work closely with our clients to make sure that the finished space is matched to their needs, enhances their home life and looks incredible.”
Inspiring kitchen design ideas
1. A modern kitchen design with bold colour
This red modern kitchen design blends a functional layout with a bold colour scheme to achieve maximum visual impact. While not for everyone, a kitchen in a bold statement colour can add personality to your space and be a point of difference. When using bold colours such as red, keep all cabinetry and furnishing sleek and simple so you don't run the risk of looking kitsch, and bring in texture by combining a glossy splashback with matte red stools and glass accents, such as a pendant lights featured here.
2. A modern kitchen design with warmth
A modern kitchen design idea doesn't mean sacrificing texture or warmth. This kitchen has a Scandinavian feel thanks to the combination of white and blonde timber, which feels up-to-date yet timeless at the same time. If attempting a similar look, ensure your tapware, handles, fixtures and appliances are in chrome or stainless steel to keep this design feeling timeless.
3. A small kitchen design that feels spacious
What this small kitchen design idea lacks in space it makes up for with style. An all-white palette makes this small kitchen feel spacious, while the addition of timber over the cooking station as a feature adds a little warmth and texture to the kitchen. Task lighting in the form of down lights installed into the cabinetry nixes the need for ceiling lights, which means you can still set the mood over the table by way of a wall sconce. This particular kitchen style is easy to DIY.
4. A small kitchen with texture
Most kitchen design ideas need a lot of space and money to create. However, this small kitchen idea uses lots of texture to make this one-wall kitchen feel spacious yet stylish. Pair timber bench tops with white subway tiles to get a similar look, and choose pendant lights with a matte or similarly textured finish. Open shelving is an excellent way to display your favourite dinner ware, or incorporate new colour trends into the space via accessories or homewares.
5. A sleek and contemporary white kitchen
White kitchen design ideas have been accused of being bland or lacking personality, but this white kitchen idea feels contemporary and positively high-tech. Get this look by keeping all cabinetry white in a matte or satin finish. Don't be afraid to try high-gloss benchtops in this scheme, and stick to chrome/stainless steel appliances and tapware. This type of white kitchen is perfect for making an old home feel modern, or if you're looking for something that can withstand the test of time, or tenants. The best thing about modern white kitchen styles is that they're incredibly easy to DIY, and the cost is usually very affordable.
6. An industrial-style all-white kitchen
All-white kitchen design ideas can come across as clinical and shallow, but this particular design combines white-washed timber floors with tiled walls, glossy cabinetry and sleek stainless steel appliances to create a room that feels light, bright, airy and functional, with industrial undertones.
7. U-shaped Kitchen design idea
This U-shaped kitchen is a classic example of how to make the most of a small, narrow space. Mid-tone timber-look laminate has been paired with satin finish white bench tops, chrome tapware and handles to create a kitchen design idea that is not only functional, but looks stylish, timeless and streamlined.
8. An experimental U-shaped kitchen design idea
The unorthodox layout of this U-shaped kitchen sets it apart from the pack, but does not compromise on style. This works because the kitchen makes it possible for a host to be socially engaged with their guests while cooking, thanks to the unique placement of the cooktop. Coloured marble bench tops and earthy tones ensure this kitchen design idea feels contemporary and trendy, but the use of natural materials such as marble, stone and simple white laminate will hold it's own over time. Not for the faint-hearted, this kitchen idea is edgy and unique.
9. Galley kitchen
Although galley kitchens are typically long and narrow, these space-saving layouts are surprisingly functional. This particular galley kitchen design idea works because the colour tones of the floor are carried onto the walls and ceiling via the timber panelling, making the space feel bigger. The uniform stainless steel island and integrated appliances feel high-tech, streamlined and luxurious.
10. A contemporary country kitchen idea
Country kitchens have a tendency to look a little kitsch or dated, but this style can be recreated to look contemporary and chic. One such example is this country kitchen design idea which utilises typical 'country' colours such as blues and white, and pairs it with timber bench tops and stools, open shelving and linen window furnishings in beige and blue stripes. The light blue industrial pendant lights add a 'country' flair, while the overall effect is one that screams style.
10. A rustic country kitchen idea
This kitchen takes the concept of a shabby country kitchen and makes it chic, and it's all in the details. This kitchen design idea has used elements of a country kitchen - such as rustic drawers, timber cabinetry, exposed lighting and a traditionally-shaped oven - and presented them in such a way that feels styled and considered. The key to executing a kitchen like this is in keeping the colour palette cohesive. Here, the blues blend into the blue-grey walls, the rust drawers mimic the timber drums under the bench seat, and the pale white wash of the whole room makes the space feel light, bright, airy and clean. Accessorise with natural fabrics such as linen, leather and timber. A rustic kitchen style with shabby-chic vibes is very forgiving to DIY-ers, so don't be afraid to give this one a go yourself.
11. The luxe kitchen island
"I’m a big fan of a well-designed, integrated island bench," says Greg Natale. "They offer so much versatility and depending on how they’re executed, they can really become an extension of a family home that supports all manner of day-to-day activities from homework to casual breakfast and dinner to family meetings." You can recreate this kitchen island idea sticking to neutral colours and letting the marble bench tops be the main event in the room. Use this island as extra work space when needed, or as a breakfast bar for the family.
12. The functional kitchen island
Most kitchen island ideas use the space as a breakfast bar or a place to keep the cook company, but this particular kitchen design idea focuses on the island as an extension of the workspace, and extra storage. A kitchen island bench like this can hide away extra drawers or cupboards, and can be used from every angle, as a breakfast bar, dinner table or baking station. The best part? It can be dressed up or down, just like your dining table.