When it comes to designing kitchens, the humble electrical appliances that we all rely on often lack the attention they deserve. You may spend hours viewing different types of granite before deciding which one is right for your work surface or visit every tile outlet in the area before selecting the one you want.
Appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers are more often selected based on whether they will fit in the space rather than much thought being given to their design.
Early design trends – The focus for early appliances was on functionality rather than design. The key for manufacturers was to make sure their product worked effectively, and the appearance of the machine was secondary. In the 1980s and 1990s, most appliances were a standard, plain white, and there was no consideration of the homeowner’s style. As we moved into the 21stcentury, dishwashers and washing machines were being seen as utility essentials rather than luxury items. Technological advances meant appliances were now effective and efficient, so there had to be some innovation in design to make products stand out. Manufacturers, starting to think about ways to make their brands rise out of the sea of white, introduced metallic designs. These proved to be very popular, and soon a variety of colour options was being produced. Another design issue was that with the appliances having quite impressive lifespans, they could start to look tired and outdated after a few years.
Modern design trends – Replacing a perfectly good machine for one that looks more up to date is an expensive option and environmentally undesirable. One solution was to design retro appliances that reflected the historical evolution of the machine and eliminated the aging effect. A recent development has been the snap-on front, whereby the front panel of your machine can be replaced with ease, and colours changed to reflect alterations in the kitchen design, current trends or just mood! Manufacturers now employ a wide range of different coatings and finishes, such as high-gloss or a matt stainless steel. One word of warning, consider the practicalities of high-gloss finishes. They look stunning in a show-room but will look considerably less impressive at home unless you can keep them well-polished! Have a browse through some design ideas for inspiration and to make decisions on your preferences.
Practicalities – While it’s great to get excited about the design aspects of your electrical goods, don’t forget to factor in your practical requirements as well. In addition to a list of style and colour preferences, make sure you note down dimensions to ensure everything fits where it’s supposed to, and read product reviews to see which machines will best fulfill your specifications. A great way to see a wide range of different styles and designs is to peruse a specialist comparison website, such as aj madison. A good retailer will be able to advise on the best appliances for your needs, and will usually be able to offer guidance on design if you need to discuss any aspects of your new kitchen.
Cookers – For the integrated look, built in wall cookers provide uniformity and cohesion. If you choose this style, you will need to have a stovetop fitted into the worktop, so you should consider the location and the positioning of the extractor hood above the stove. If you like to have your stove and cooker combined, a freestanding range cooker does make a design statement.Ranges come in a wide variety of styles and colours, from retro to modern.
Extractor Fans – These have been subject to a lot of innovation in design in recent years. You can now choose from a range of canopy, flat and pull-out extractors, or make a bold choice with a chimney extractor. The placement of the stovetop will be critical in the selection of the extractor. A stovetop in an island or breakfast bar position will need a chimney hood fitted to the ceiling. If the stovetop is by a wall, there are extractors that fit flat to the wall surface, or you can fit a canopy overhead.
Dishwashers and washing machines – The poor relations in the design stakes. As built-in units are so popular for modern kitchens, the aesthetics of these machines has lagged behind the feature products like cookers. Built–in dishwashers and washing machines are hidden behind matching doors, creating a seamless integration with the main kitchen unit design and smooth lines throughout the space. Built-in is certainly a popular choice, but don’t dismiss the standalone. If the machines won’t fit comfortably in your kitchen, you may want to adopt the European approach and have a laundry room or wet area where all the cleaning is done. Or you may want to buck the trend and make your washing appliances a feature in their own right.
Refrigeration – The fridge and freezer fall somewhere between the glamor of the cooker and the functionality of the dishwasher. While there are plenty of options for hiding these appliances behind doors, it is becoming increasingly popular for large side by side refrigerators to be a style feature all their own. Retro and ultra-modern are the two key looks.
Small Appliances – Our homes now use many different hand-held appliances that make our lives easier. Vacuum cleaners, kettles, toasters, blenders, mixers, coffee machines; all have been subject to an increase in attention to design. You can have matching appliances of the same colour, or go for an eclectic collection and mix colours and styles for a more individual look. It’s worth investing some time in choosing even small appliances with an eye to design, as they can add harmonious touches to the finished look of your kitchen. Browse through some style guides for inspiration and to see what the latest trends are.
If you want your kitchen to be truly exceptional (and who doesn’t!) it pays to be discerning when choosing appliances. With designers taking the appearance of our essential household equipment seriously, with complementary colours, styles, and materials on offer, there is plenty of opportunities to enhance the look of your new kitchen.