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Article by Sophie Astin | 11th June 2019

Cool Looks For Hot Kitchens

This season, it’s all in the detail & it’s the little things that matter when it comes to kitchens.

There are some lovely new kitchen designs around at the moment but if you’re planning a new kitchen, it’s worth spending time looking not just at the bigger picture but at the smaller details that make up the whole. Worktops, for example, are often one of the last design decisions to be made and can sometimes seem almost an afterthought, but in fact they can have as much of an impact as the units on the finished room.

They’re the tops!

While laminate worktops are often offered as standard and can look good, choose carefully – cheap-looking options mean you will be wasting the money you’ve spent on quality units. If budget allows, there are myriad alternatives:

Granite is one of the most popular but needs to be well sealed to prevent staining (and trivets should always be used to prevent thermal shock from hot pans).

Engineered quartz is arguably one of the most versatile options, with new colours being introduced all the time – it’s extremely hardwearing and stain resistant so that makes it a good choice too.

Marble looks fantastic – and is notoriously perfect for pastry-rolling – and comes in a wide variety of colours and patterns, but it can be marked by small scratches and stain over time (these can be removed with a poultice and can be re-polished in situ if necessary, though).

Quartzite is an alternative worth considering as it’s usually more durable than marble but with similar good looks.

Or go for one of the newest possibilities for worktops, ceramic. Good at withstanding heat and staining, it’s possible for ceramic worktops to be as thin as 12mm, creating a very sleek finish.

On-trend tiles

Tiles, for walls and floors, can also have a big impact on the look of a new kitchen. Harvey Maria have just introduced their new Organics Design Collection, which combines a mellow stone-effect with a square-in-a-square motif, to create a striking floor finish. There are eight individual tiles, with a contrasting edge: four with a dark inner square and a light border, and four with light inner square and dark border. Laid alternately, the geometric design creates an almost 3D feel, alternating from light to dark, and when a single colour contrast is repeated, the tiles create a mini cube effect. Endless other designs can be created by mixing the plain and patterned tiles, and by laying them at different angles.

“Organics was inspired by nature and the minimalism of post-modern architecture and furniture,” explains Andrew Smith, designer at Harvey Maria – making them very on-trend.

Or how about Zorro from Otto Tiles & Design? It’s another striking tile, in a soft white with a bold, black angular Z design. Made using Turkish cement sand with natural stone granules and colour pigments, hand-pressed, ground and sealed with Turkish soap, making the tiles very stain and dirt resistant, it’s ideal for a high-traffic area like a kitchen.

On-cue colour

When it comes to the kitchen units themselves, colour is still big news. Magnet has more than 20 coloured kitchens for example, including their new Dunham, shown here in Pass the Merlot and Truffle Oil, part of the new Create paint-to-order range. The picture of it here illustrates how the earthy red tones of Pass the Merlot combine with neutral Truffle Oil to allow an injection of colour to be introduced without it becoming overpowering.

Alternatively, the contemporary Major collection from Schmidt, is available in a choice of six wood stains and 15 open grain lacquers, and light wood finishes like this can easily be brightened up with accessories, small appliances and textiles in patterns, prints or pops of colour. Here, the clean lines and fuss-free finish of the neutral Slowwood oak veneer has been brought to life with open shelving units in Moody Blue.

If strong colour is not for you, it can be hard to beat an all-white kitchen for a stop-you-in-your tracks look, and we love Harvey Jones’ smooth, sleek Linear range. Melissa Klink, the company’s head of design, has some sensible words of advice, though. “To avoid a clinical appearance, choose a soft lighting scheme with pendant lamps to add depth and a touch of warmth,” she says.


If they aren’t built in, appliances can have a surprisingly dominant effect on the look of a kitchen so need careful thought too. For a touch of French style, we love the freestanding DXD fridge-freezer from AGA. Available in stainless steel, dark inox, black and ivory, it looks as at home in a country kitchen as in a modern apartment, comes with an A+ energy rating, an impressive 557 litre capacity and a clever Quick Drink Mode that lets you chill a bottle of wine fast – it will remind you to take it out again too, before it gets icy!

Image Verde Luana marble worktop, from £350 per sq m, Gerald Culliford (geraldculliford.co.uk)

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