How to create a minimalist kitchen
Thursday, 10th April 2014, Jane Gibson
Goodbye traditional, farmhouse kitchens - a survey published in the Los Angeles Times has claimed that the most popular kitchen trend at the moment is minimalism. Requests for this sleek, modern look are fast over-taking those rustic alternatives, according to the National Kitchen and Bathroom Association, with home-owners preferring clean lines to the fuss of the Shaker style.
It's not just all about the aesthetics though. Minimalist kitchens are equally as practical as they are attractive, offering easy maintenance and cleanliness.
Here's how to create a minimalist kitchen in your own home:
Seek out kitchen inspiration
The first stage is to determine what you want in your kitchen. Inspiration can be found in many places, but for a quick and easy option, why not collate ideas on virtual pin board site Pinterest? Stay with us here; this popular website enables users to 'pin' images of items they like to their own electronic mood board. Browsing through interiors magazines and other sources can expose you to innovations that you might not even know existed and thus allow you to create your aspirational kitchen down to the minutest of detail. This resource is fabulously helpful when you come to speak to a kitchen designer, too, offering a fully-formed picture of what it is you aspire to.
Have a clear out
Minimalism is clutter-free, so get a big cardboard box, take a deep breath and start clearing away any unnecessary tools and gadgets. That's everything from candles on the windowsill and magnets on the fridge door, to that block of butcher's knives and your bread maker. Obviously, keep the things that you use regularly, but think about selling or donating the things you don't need. Decluttering encapsulates the ethos behind minimalism - of reducing down to the bare minimum. It also promotes calm in a room that's traditionally very busy and fraught.
Use of colour
According to the LA Times' survey, white and off-white are expected to dominate in the coming months and it's little wonder; the mere idea of minimalism conjures up thoughts of bright white. Use of colour in achieving this look is important, but keeping it consistent throughout is what's key. If you are opting for white kitchen cupboards, then choosing a white counter top and matching white walls is most effective. Sticking with just one shade makes a powerful impact. Grey and black are similarly striking, while neutrals offer a slightly softened appearance.
Smooth kitchen surfaces
Arguably the most important component of any minimalist kitchen is the worktop. Not only must this be durable and stain resistant in order to cope with day-to-day use, but it should complement the theme. As such, a continuous, flowing surface is preferable; one that happily accommodates a built-in sink, taps and draining board. Plain white is the favoured option and there are many varieties of quartz or granite products that comprise small crystals for that un-fussy look. Plus, with a product like Silestone (a quartz and polymer material), the entire surface can be cut and moulded in one piece (dependant on size of and access to the kitchen).
Integrate as much into your kitchen units as you can
If there's one thing that might derail our plans for a minimalist kitchen, it would surely be our love of gadgets. Who these days doesn't have a coffee machine or state-of-the-art flat-screen in the kitchen? A way to get around this conundrum is to seek out integrated, thereby hidden, products. For some time, built-in microwaves, fridge-freezers and dishwashers have been on the market, with doors that match the rest of the cupboards, but how about an integrated espresso machine, like the Neff coffee centre? Or a TV that is installed discretely into a splash back and fully hidden when not in use? Better still, why not shun the usual, clunky cooker hood for one that has been transformed, such as from the Elica range - effective extractor fans that double as stylish lights? There are so many options out there.
Clever kitchen storage solutions
The concept of a clear and clutter-free kitchen may well sound like a contradiction in terms, but it can be done. The key to a successfully minimalist kitchen is clever storage; having lots of room in which to hide away your groceries, pans and collection of tea towels. It's advisable to use all available space, i.e. floor-to-ceiling as this also creates unbroken lines as well as offering more space. Ask designers to add drawers under the oven, incorporate cupboards into an island unit or transform pantries into more functional storage by altering the width of the shelves to facilitate the KitchenAid mixer or Sedona food dehydrator. Remember, it matters not what state your drawers and cupboards are in, as long as you can close them, your kitchen will still appear minimal!
If you want an on-trend kitchen that's the envy of all your friends, then clearly minimalist is the way to go. Following the tips above, you should be able to create a peaceful, pared-down minimalist kitchen of your very own.