• The kitchen: command centre of the home, headquarters for all things edible and family-member traffic funnel. According to Stephanie Forbes, National Manager for the Kitchen Specialists Association (KSA), “The kitchen is no longer a pokey little room where the hostess hides from her guests. Today, it is an integral part of the home’s living space, adapted to be both a food preparation area, a family room, a dining space and an entertainment area.”  And kitchen trends play a huge roll in the design and layout of this integral space in the home.

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    One thing’s for certain, when it comes to contemporary kitchens, functionality and aesthetics go hand-in-hand; the mood is just as important as the machinery. Be it big or small, traditional or coolly modern, here, five drool-worthy designs for kitchens that command attention:

    Well Integrated

    “I cannot remember when I last saw a kitchen that was not part of the greater open-plan living space,” says Caesarstone’s Trevor King. According to King, “a greater level of collaboration between designer and home owner” is driving the desire for better integration between kitchen and living areas. Key to a successful open-plan environment is to create a large but not disorganised space. Keeping the view unobstructed is fundamental to this, so choose low-level furnishings and islands that are both versatile and aesthetically keeping with the overall look. Coherency of colour scheme and decorating style will also significantly enhance the integration of the different ‘zones’ within your open-plan space.

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    Return to the Classics

    Visionary design, cutting-edge materials and new-age technologies are all well and good, but when it comes to timeless style, you just can’t go wrong with an established classic. Glass-fronted cabinetry and period fixtures and hardware – think a butler’s sink, old-fashioned drawer handles and subway tiled splash-backs – all ensure your kitchen will never become victim to the fickle fads of fashion. Incorporate modern appliances with traditional styling, such as a hearth-like surround over a professional stove and cooking area. Painted cabinetry, too, speaks to classic style and decorative elements – unusual wall clocks and interesting light fittings – are the spice of an elegant and enduring kitchen.

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    Ahead of the Curve

    Who says kitchens have to be all straight lines and hard angles? Flaunt your curves with the addition of rounded counters, units and islands, which not only create focal interest in the kitchen but also soften the overall look. What’s more, curves provide ergonomic storage potential, especially useful in a compact space, and, when a kitchen adjoins a dining or living area, the absence of corners helps blur boundaries and promotes flow. In this modern kitchen, the simple wave of the stove front is echoed in the round-edged wall units and the shapely central island. A striking tubular pendant light and curvaceous kitchen chairs enhance the sleek and seamless look.

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    Sunny Side Up 

    There’s no denying that dramatic dark kitchens currently dominate the culinary runway, and a pop of neon-bright hue is all that’s needed to take these brooding spaces from drab to fab. Punch up inky cabinetry with accents of intense canary yellow to prevent a scheme from becoming overly sedate, then add the jolt of fluorescent lighting to truly energise the look. Like a shot of espresso in the morning, an electric-yellow butler’s sink, a painted cupboard front or two, and a few funky furnishings and accessories, even a display of fresh lemons, bring to both these contemporary kitchens an edgy retro feel.

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    Element of Surprise 

    Copper, the metal of the moment, shines when it comes to cooking, cleanliness and class. Whether highly polished for intense shine or slightly tarnished for depth and character, copper’s rich rosy glow and warm tones pair especially well with the dark, saturated colours that are all the rage in current kitchen design. Gleaming copper appliances, a wall-mounted copper pot rail and high-gloss suspended copper light fittings add lustre to the otherwise neutral schemes in this pair of kitchens. Copper pulls, knobs and handles, meanwhile, provide a perfect counterpoint to minimally styled cabinets, providing an excellent opportunity to get big design bang for your re-modelling buck.

    All the latest designs for the most loved – and hardest working – room in the house will be on display at Decorex Joburg 2016, on from 5 to 9 August 2016 at the Gallagher Convention Centre. This year’s show will not only see an exclusive partnership between the Kitchen Specialists Association (KSA) and Decorex, but exhibition co-sponsor, kitchen and surface expert Caesarstone, will unveil the exciting results of its latest collaboration with iconic British designer Tom Dixon. For more information, visit www.decorex.co.za.