Aside from a place to cook up a storm, the heart of the home has become the default gathering place—in most cases occupying a bigger square footage to accommodate an eat-in area, a living space and a large cooking theatre.
For those refashioning their kitchen or building one from scratch, we’ve culled expert insight on how to create a chic kitchen in five easy steps.
1. Think Of The Layout
If space allows, an island kitchen is the ideal layout to go for. Compared to the galley style, island kitchens allow for the “ability to interact with guests while cooking in a fluid, big space”, says Bong Yee Chein, head of product at Miele.
Joey Piyong, marketing manager at BSH Home Appliances, which distributes Gaggenau, agrees. “The island kitchen is timeless in style as well as purposeful. It allows easy movement as you do your prep work while mingling.”
Nikki Hunt, co-founder of Design Intervention, suggests looking at how a kitchen will be used. “Will it be used by a single cook? Will the user hold large parties? These are the kinds of questions to ask when considering layout and the kind of kitchen to pursue.”
2. Pick The Right Materials
Once you have decided on the layout, the next step is determining the materials—from surfaces and backsplashes down to the flooring.
According to Ed Ong, designer and founder of The Kitchen Society, this step is important as the right foundation directly relates to a kitchen’s longevity.
Practicality is key. “A must-have feature in the kitchen is a tempered glass backsplash for the wall behind the cooking zone, where the hob and hood are located. This allows for easy cleaning,” he shares.
The worktop is another key area to invest in. “Well-selected materials for worktops make a huge difference. I personally like quartz because it’s non-porous, hygienic, rigorous, and can be cut to fit any odd-shaped space,” adds Ong.
3. Ensure Seamlessness
Once you’ve chosen the key surfaces, decide on the cabinetry and appliances. “Cabinets are the ‘face’ of your kitchen,” says Ong.
He adds: “I suggest going with laminated door panels for cost-effectiveness and variety of textures and colours to choose from. For a high-gloss, luxurious effect, choose acrylic door panels while melamine is good for the insides of the cabinet as it’s scratch-resistant and colour-fast.”
One must also look at the seamless integration of appliances, especially as open-plan kitchens have become de rigueur. “There needs to be perfect integration of appliances into the cabinets,” says Bong. “At Miele, we design appliances that are so sleek and unobtrusive that when you walk into a kitchen you’ll see that the devices blend into the walls.”
4. Focus On The Details
Homeowners must also be mindful of the smaller details. From the type of fixtures down to the accessories, all these touchpoints enhance—or detract—from the ergonomics as well as ambience of a kitchen.
A simple example is the type of sink to go for. “I highly recommend under-counter mounted sinks as it allows for liquids and debris on the countertop to be hand-swept without any obstruction,” shares Ong.
The power of good lighting must also be harnessed. “Never underestimate the importance of good lighting in a kitchen. Functional, task and mood lighting all need to be carefully considered so that the kitchen can allow the home cook to work, entertain and mingle,” says Hunt.
Don’t overlook the details when it comes to appliances, either. “At De Dietrich, some of our pieces are embellished with metallic strips and copper that complement the interior,” says Angeline Yeo, marketing manager at Brandt Asia.
5. Future Proof Your Space
While timeless styles always reign, it does not mean you have to stick with generic looks.
According to Ong, the “cafe style”, which mixes industrial and eclectic touches, is gaining popularity. You can achieve this by creating “plenty of open shelving to access equipment and cutlery, an open wall space for displaying artworks, and a strong use of colours and patterns on the walls and backsplash.”
Aesthetics is not the only way to personalise a space. Take a closer look at technological innovations to determine what suits your needs and lifestyle. “Simple features such as an instant boiling tap to dispense water for the avid cook or an integrated kitchen scale for the home baker can make a distinct difference,” stresses Hunt.
All leading kitchen brands, including De Dietrich, Gaggenau and Miele, always place emphasis on the role of technology in simplifying cooking and living. “Zoneless induction hobs allow you to cook several pots simultaneously, so it’s handy for homeowners who wish to whip up a feast,” says Piyong.
Text by: Joseph Lim