Times have changed and so have our homes. More and more people are choosing to live in smaller homes in secure estates close to areas of work, school and entertainment. This may be primarily due to concerns of crime and a difficult economy, but it is also a result of changes in lifestyle. Families are smaller, both parents work and when home, they prefer to spend time in a shared open-plan environment. Younger generations are also more conscientious about their ecological footprint; smaller homes use less energy, and living closer to urban centres, cuts down on fuel and transport costs.
An area of the home that best reflects this trend and lifestyle preference, is the kitchen. Few new homes today have a large separate dedicated kitchen; most kitchens now form part of the open-plan living space. Their purpose has also changed; with the increasing trend to order-in or eat-out, kitchens are smaller and serve as areas for socialising as much as they do for food storage and prep.
In response to these trends, kitchen interior design and décor has also changed.
Integrated into the living area, a kitchen needs to work with the overall décor scheme of the lounge and dining area. “In most cases, I suggest a neutral palette in an open-plan home,” says Karina Palmer, interior designer and marketing director of AMERICAN shutters. “Earth tones; shades of white, black, grey, beige or brown make a room seem larger and create a calming backdrop that works with all décor styles.” Colours can then be added as accents in furniture, soft furnishings, artwork, décor items.
Open-plan kitchens need to be kept clean and clutter-free to create a streamlined, attractive and practical space. Small kitchens cannot afford to have unnecessary décor items on display as countertops are few and are needed for food preparation.
Good ventilation is critical in all kitchens but is extra important in an open-plan kitchen to remove smoke and food smells from filling the living areas. Shutters work really well on kitchen windows as they are practical, easy-to-clean, and help direct natural ventilation without presenting a fire risk as fabric curtains and blinds do.
“By using the same finishes such as flooring, wall colour and window finishes throughout the open-plan area, you can create a cohesive scheme that makes the entire area seem bigger,” advises Karina.
AMERICAN shutters can match colour finishes across shutter and blind ranges allowing the installation of the best-suited product, range and configuration for the window or door opening. “This means you could effectively install Security Shutters on outdoor leading doors, Decowood Shutters as interior room dividers and wooden blinds on windows, all in the same finish and working together beautifully,” says Karina. “
No matter the size or purpose of a kitchen, it remains one of the most important areas of a home; it is where we come together to cook, eat and socialise with our loved ones, and that’s the big idea we need to keep in mind at all times.