Dave Mayer of Reginox UK looks into how current kitchen trends will affect what’s installed in the new wave of home improvements predicted to occur.
When planning for 2020, no one could possibly have predicted what the reality would turn out to be.
The term ‘unprecedented times’ has been frequently used to describe the pandemic and the global impact it’s certainly likely to be more severe than we have ever experienced before and to last for many years to come. Many industries were forced to grind to an unexpected halt due to restrictions being enforced, and others continue to be greatly affected by the global issues surrounding the exports and supply chain.
However, a recent industry survey stated that three-quarters of consumers are planning home improvements over the next 12 months, and kitchen products are seeing considerable demand for our across the construction sector.
With this in mind, there are certain trends likely to feature for the rest of the year during this upturn.
Granites are seeing more interest than ever before with creative designs and colours that are likely to fit well within the multitude of today’s ‘mainstream’ kitchen colours.
Ceramics are now almost as likely to be found in contemporary settings as they are in farmhouse-style kitchens, with modern designs and colours lending themselves well to the consumer looking to add something different.
The UK’s never-ending love affair with stainless steel continues, probably due to steel’s good looks, longevity, ease of maintenance and ability to look good in any style of kitchen. There are now some stunning contemporary steel sinks available, often with eye-catching features such as square wastes.
The industry is still seeing a steady growth of coloured sinks manufactured from all three of these materials, as consumers look to coordinate the sink area with their worksurfaces or kitchen units. Neutrals such as white, cream, beige, grey and black are staples within the kitchen, and more sinks are becoming available in these colourways, whether manufactured from granite, ceramic or even coloured stainless steel.
In terms of design, sinks are mirroring the overall trend for minimalism in the kitchen. Slab-sided sinks with clean modern lines, softened by gentle curves, are continuing to grow in popularity, in line with the trend for linear kitchens featuring curved end units. The emphasis is on simple but striking designs that are easy on the eye.
The ‘1.5 bowl’ is still the most popular configuration in the UK, as it has been for many years. However, the large single bowl is increasing in popularity and many customers find that when they do switch from a 1.5 bowl to a single bowl, they realise they really don’t need the additional half.
With the majority of modern households having dishwashers, a large single bowl is far more practical as it enables larger items that won’t fit in the dishwasher, such as woks and oven trays, to be easily washed up in the sink.
Inset sinks remain the most popular, as they are easy to fit and can be installed into any worksurface material.
Integrated sinks are equally easy to fit and can provide a sleeker, more streamlined appearance than inset models. Undermounted or flush mounted sinks look the best when installed, but can only be fitted into solid surface materials such as timber or granite.
There has never been a greater choice of taps available for consumers to choose from, and there is no doubt that an aesthetically striking tap can really help to draw attention.
Once merely a commodity item, the kitchen tap has been elevated to a position of much greater standing and, as a result, there is now a vast selection of taps available for consumers to choose from, many of which deliver far more than just water.
The choice of tap style and material is really down to personal taste in terms of functionality required and a design that will sit well with the sink and overall look of the kitchen. Sinks are most often chosen first, and then a tap is chosen to complement it – so a curvy tap for a curvy sink, or an angled tap for an angular sink.
The single lever Monobloc tap remains the most popular choice by a long way, although boiling hot water taps are proving to be a real growth market. The market for taps with pull-out sprays and LED lights has never really materialised; these taps are, of course, still available, but they have remained very much a niche market.
Boiling hot water taps
Boiling hot water taps are currently undergoing massive growth, with consumers increasingly looking for three-way taps that offer instant hot, ordinary hot, and cold water.
No longer a luxury item, boiling hot water taps are starting to almost become the norm in the modern kitchen and, as prices continue to fall, they will become even more accessible.
What should specifiers look for?
Specifiers should look for taps that are WRAS or equivalent approved, which is the hallmark of quality when it comes to taps. Two taps can look very similar yet be worlds apart in terms of quality, and it makes sense to invest a little more money upfront for a quality tap that will last, than to risk the reputation loss of residents having to replace a cheap one after just a few months of use.
A local kitchen fitter should be able to make recommendations when installing taps. Whoever installs the tap should be qualified to do so, and will therefore be able to check and advise on compatibility with any pre-drilled holes and compatibility with water pressure.
If a boiling hot water tap is being installed, it is likely that an electrician will also need to be involved as hot taps can draw a lot of current – again, ensure that the electrician is approved.
Dave Mayer is sales and marketing director of Reginox UK