A 2023 study by Houzz revealed that 43% of homeowners opted for a timeless design as a sustainable choice – Sinead Trainor, kitchen category manager at LochAnna Kitchens, gives her 5 tips to create a kitchen design that stands the test of time, and instil confidence in the customer decision-making process.
Consider colour carefully
With kitchen trends emerging faster and faster, it’s understandable that a number of consumers find it daunting to decide on a colour that will likely be part of the home for several years. For those looking to the modest, universal appeal of neutrals, we recommend suggesting balanced hues such as off whites, soft greys, sage greens, and warm, soft beiges that feel modern, yet retain an aspect of class and simplicity. Shades such as LochAnna’s Taupe, Chalk, Cashmere and Pebble Grey are excellent at achieving this natural effect and create the perfect canvas, allowing for home décor to evolve through the years. We also recommend steering customers that are looking for a timeless design to avoid selecting stark whites, which can bring a cold clinical feeling to the space, and equally overly warm neutrals as these can make the space feel confined and dated.
For customers who are looking to be bolder but are perhaps unsure of what colour will last in the home, we suggest recommending simple, traditional shades such as pale blue, navy or earthy greens for a more muted look that doesn’t threaten the kitchen’s long-term credentials. If customers are looking for something even bolder, 2024 is set to be the year of rich black cabinetry, adding a touch of timeless drama and sophistication to large or well-lit rooms.
Encourage a balance of materials
Kitchen designs that are heavy-handed on the use of modern, engineered materials such as laminate and stainless steel, often look outdated in a number of years. Equally, a kitchen featuring a heavy use of more traditional and rustic materials like wood and stone can age it from the get-go. By advising customers on how they can create a complementary balance of materials, you can help them retain an element of the new and the traditional, creating a timeless feel.
For example, modern painted cabinetry is a great way to break up a rustic wooden floor. Similarly real stone worktops work as the anchor of a room, adding an element of timelessness that creates a halo effect on the other materials in use around it, while also increasing opportunity for upselling and profitability. As any kitchen designer will know, it is key to include shades, colours and textures that complement one another, as overcomplicating material selection will make it harder to achieve a sense of consistency and in turn, a natural, relaxing feel.
Futureproof where you can
Timeless design is not only about the aesthetic of the kitchen, it is also key to push customers to consider how the layout they select will impact their future lives. Accessibility is an often-overlooked aspect in the kitchen, especially in the initial stages of the design process where aesthetic preferences often lead the way. By helping customers consider such features from the start, you in turn help create a more user-friendly space in years to come. It is also important to encourage careful thought of the kitchen triangle and where appliances are in correlation to each other and in particular your sink, oven, and fridge. Balancing the placement of these three core elements is vital, and is where specialist kitchen designers can help devise a layout tailored to the consumer's personal lifestyle and routine.
If in doubt, go classic
While not for everyone, suggesting a design that has a neutral base can be hugely beneficial. Customers can’t go wrong with a traditional Shaker-style or contemporary, flat-fronted cabinetry in either a natural wood or painted finish as these have been in style for centuries and continue to be popular. A neutral base also allows for more possibilities when it comes to personalising other aspects of the kitchen like hardware, upholstery and décor, as neutral tones go with most things. At LochAnna, some of our cabinetry can be sanded down and repainted, taking some of the pressure and finality of decisions away in case you ever change your mind down the line.
Help to add their stamp!
It is important to remember that timeless design is not necessarily a one size fits all, and it's understanding the customer that comes above all else – ultimately, you should make sure that what they are choosing makes them happy. Combining practical, kitchen design tips with a customer’s own personal aesthetic preferences included is a win-win. LochAnna Kitchens provide a full colour-matching service, where the customer can provide a specific hue or even an object to replicate across their cabinetry.