Hi-tech touches to modernise your kitchen

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If you’re planning a new kitchen – or simply want to renovate your old units with some snazzy new updates – this is the blog post for you. I’ve spent hours trawling Pinterest on your behalf (yes, I am that selfless) to spot some of the latest trends in kitchen design so that you can be well-informed about what’s hot and what’s not in the world of kitchens. And it’s not just about the latest designs and hottest colours, I’ve also investigated those essentials that will lift your kitchen from drab to WOW.

In fact, sinks and taps are often overlooked as design features, but really they are the stars of the kitchen. Let’s be honest, no matter how pretty your marble work-surface is, or how brightly coloured your glossy cabinet doors are, you wouldn’t have a well-functioning kitchen without a sink and tap, would you? So it’s important to give these key pieces plenty of thought before you invest. This is one part of the kitchen where the latest design and technology improvements will actually have a big impact on your kitchen, as sinks and taps can now perform efficiently as well as look great in terms of design.

The style of your kitchen design and the size of the space you’re kitting out will probably influence your choice of hardware. But no matter whether you’ve a ‘cosy’ city apartment or a totally-covetable farmhouse kitchen, you’re going to need to get water into the kitchen somehow. Interestingly enough, the design of the humble tap has evolved rapidly over the past decade, with a bigger variety than ever available to choose from. The latest innovations include filter taps for fresh filtered drinking water, boiling water taps so that you can make your morning cuppa at the sink without boiling the kettle, and now you can even fit sparkling water taps in your home – just like the carbonated taps in bars. Adding features like pull-out sprays, LEDs that indicate water temperature and water-saving/ flow regulation taps means you’ll have the whizziest tap technology available. Impressive, huh?

Most taps are made from chrome, stainless steel or nickel-plated brass. Quartz composite handles and casings are also popular, particularly those who are looking to match their seamless sink and worktop with a matching tap. Polished chrome and stainless-steel are a popular choice for modern schemes but can show finger marks, while matt brushed or satin finishes are easier to keep looking clean and suit any style. Cheap taps really are a false economy, as they’ll soon show signs of wear and tear. Yes, stainless-steel taps are usually more expensive than chrome versions but are generally more hard-wearing as they won’t chip.

Checking whether the water pressure is important in order to install a tap that works efficiently. If you don’t have the right water pressure, you could end up with a very swish-looking design but that delivers a disappointing dribble of water. Another fairly new ‘eco’ feature is aerated flow; this mixes air with the water to regulate the amount of water you use without losing pressure. The latest trend for taps offering greater functionality (such as spray hoses with a long reach, different spray settings and filtered and chilled water) mean it’s not just about hot and cold water anymore. Taps with spouts that swivel or with pull-out sprays will help you get maximum reach around your sink for cleaning and filling pans. Before buying, it’s a good idea to get out your largest pan to make sure that it’ll fit beneath the spout of the tap you’re choosing. In contrast, if you’re considering a high-pressure, professional-style spray tap then pair it with a sink that is big enough to contain its power or you could end up with a face-full of water when you turn it on!

Sinks get a lot of day-to-day use. Even if you’ve got space for a dishwasher, you’ll still be using the sink for rinsing vegetables, filling pans and soaking larger items. If you have a big family or cook meals for lots of guests on a regular basis, then a deep rectangular sink big enough to hold casserole dishes and roasting pans is a must-have! A double-bowl sink or even two square under mounted models placed side-by-side make for a good-looking and efficient solution. Double bowl sinks mean you can use each for different tasks, such as vegetable prep in one, and a small handwashing sink on the other side, creating a kind of one-and-a-half-bowl sink.

Small circular sinks are not always the best choice for a small kitchen despite their size. A more effective option is a sink that has accessories such as a sliding glass cover or wooden chopping board that when fitted over the bowl can double up as extra work surface to make the most of a small kitchen. Stainless steel sinks are still the most popular choice for home kitchens and are renowned for their hygienic properties (which is why they are also used in commercial kitchens too). White ceramic styles such as Belfast or butler sinks are perfect for classic or country-style kitchens and have a porcelain-coated finish making them stain and heat resistant. The only problem here is that ceramic plates tend to smash more easily if they’re accidently dropped into a ceramic sink!

Materials such as Corian and quartz composite are the latest designer materials in the world of sinks. They are particularly good if you want to match your sink and work surface for a seamless look, which is probably why these materials are SO popular these days. Glass surround sinks are an eye-catching, contemporary choice but if you’re after a real WOW factor then wooden sinks are an interesting new choice. Teak has great antibacterial properties but be aware of the maintenance required if you opt for timber around wet areas, it’ll need a lot of taking care of and wiping clean!

Let me know your preferences for kitchen design by leaving me a comment below and if you’ve got an idea about what the next ‘big thing’ in interior design will be, please let me know and I’ll investigate! I got a lot of advice, info and photos for this blog post in collaboration with Harvey Jones, who have been designing and crafting kitchens from their Cambridgeshire workshop for more than thirty-five years, so be sure to check them out!

This blog post is an advertisement feature that has been written in collaboration with a sponsor. The pink links in this post indicate a sponsored link 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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