Embrace the dark kitchens trend and add drama to your client's home

KitchensFeatures Tue 9th Jul 2024 by Lisa Hibberd

Embrace the dark kitchens trend and add drama to your client's home

Embrace the dark kitchens trend and add drama to your client's home

Feature by Lisa Hibberd | Tue 9th Jul 2024

Lisa has a background in working on consumer titles, and as the former associate editor of Your Home magazine, over 15 years' experience writing about kitchens and bathrooms. She now works as a freelance, contributing to both consumer and B2B platforms. More

From soot black cabinets to slate-inspired surfaces, dark tones are proving an increasingly popular choice – Lisa Hibberd speaks to those in the know to shed some light on the surge in demand for dark kitchens.

“The recent surge in the popularity of dark kitchens can be attributed to their sleek, sophisticated aesthetic, which provides a bold and contemporary look,” suggests Ross Stewart, UK senior sales manager for Neolith. “The rise of open-plan living spaces also plays a role, as dark kitchens can serve as a striking focal point within larger, more cohesive home designs. An effective dark room really depends on contrast in order to work well and often in a kitchen setting this can involve something as simple as cleverly positioned plants and foliage, furniture in bright accent colours or something boldly different like an exposed brick wall.”

Inspired by slate and based on volcanic stone, Neolith’s Krater surface from the Fusion collection perfectly represents this natural surface with the advantages of the technical properties of sintered stone

VP of marketing for Caesarstone, Jonathan Stanley, reveals that the move towards dark tones in the kitchen extends to surfaces too. “We have all become much more design conscious and as our knowledge grows, and the places in which we find inspiration expand, so we become bolder with our choices. Design publications and social media are fuelling this education and it’s simply easier to see a broader array of options and ideas. While there will always be trends, we don’t necessarily all want the same. Plain white or speckled and mirror chip worktops are becoming old hat. Marble motifs remain the primary trend, but design savvy consumers are moving towards dark greys and blacks in matt finishes with bold textures and organic patterns.” 

Caesarstone’s 302 Metallio Black surface is an ideal choice for designers to combine with concrete, exposed brick, and metals. The metallic highlights on a dark surface add layers of dimension to this industrial-style kitchen

Hardwick cabinetry from Masterclass is a narrow-framed solid Ash shaker door, shown here in its striking Onyx colourway. The primed and painted doors have a subtle wood grain that’s visible through their painted surface

“Although dark colours can make a stylish statement in the kitchen, there are a few things to watch out for,” says Simon Boocock, MD at CRL Stone. “They can make small spaces feel even smaller, so it’s often best to use dark colours strategically and add complementary accents to enhance the overall look and feel of the space, and avoid a gloomy vibe. Dark tones can be combined with lighter elements and materials to create a balanced and visually appealing atmosphere, and keep the space from feeling too heavy or overwhelming. Dark surfaces can also show smudges and dust more easily, meaning more frequent cleaning.” 

Cristallo Gris is a beautiful, marble-inspired surface from CRL Stone, characterised by a sultry grey base, combined with a stone-effect patterning and subtle copper-like effects that capture the light

This modern, spacious kitchen features U999 TM28, part of EGGER’s PerfectSense Lacquered Chipboard range. A velvety matt surface, on a sustainable chipboard core, it also boasts anti-fingerprint properties

Retailers and designers should focus on a few key aspects when working with dark kitchens, recommends Sinead Trainor, kitchen category manager at LochAnna Kitchens. “Lighting is paramount – both natural and artificial light sources need to be strategically placed to prevent the space from feeling too dark. It's also possible to balance dark cabinetry and surfaces with contrasting elements such as lighter countertops, backsplashes, or flooring to create visual interest and prevent monotony. Additionally, selecting high-quality materials that reflect light, such as glossy finishes or metallic accents, can enhance the overall ambience. Functionality shouldn't be overlooked; practical considerations like easy-to-clean surfaces and durable finishes are just as important in dark kitchens as in any other design.

"Retailers should create displays that highlight the versatility and elegance of a dark-coloured kitchen. It's beneficial to set up vignettes with ample lighting to demonstrate how well dark kitchens can look under various lighting conditions. Incorporating a mix of textures and finishes, such as matte and glossy surfaces or wood and metal elements, can show potential customers the range of possibilities within a dark kitchen design. Additionally, pairing dark cabinetry with striking hardware, like brass or chrome handles, can add a touch of luxury and draw attention to the details. Retailers should also use high-quality photography and visual storytelling in their marketing materials to capture the full impact of dark kitchen designs.”

Rich and atmospheric, LochAnna’s Hutton kitchen is shown here in Soot – a true black that is perfect for clients looking to make a bold statement. Skirting plinths, tongue-and-groove panelling, and the use of mid-height wall units to add extra height all contribute to the impact

Allison Lynch, senior designer at Roundhouse and head of the Cambridge showroom, suggests the importance of retailers showcasing dark kitchens to maximum effect. “They photograph well so anything put into the kitchen will elevate it and look smart, luxurious, pristine styling and any feature walls will stand out – wallpaper, brick and wooden beams. It’s all about personality and character which people love, so this helps to ease a client into choosing a darker colour. They feel confident to take the plunge, having seen it in a display or kitchen editorials. I believe it’s best to showcase dark kitchens of different styles too. – that way it’s not just seen as a modern trend and it also works extremely well in Shaker-style kitchens making it look timeless. It also invites the client to look at all the other parts of the room, from lighting to handles, to appliances and stools/chairs and soft furnishings, because all those things pull the look together and they feel they have confidence in purchasing pieces that will help bring it to life and use inherited pieces too. Not everything needs to be shiny and new!”

A bespoke kitchen by Roundhouse is showcased in bookmatched veneer with antique brass accents and African fusion quartzite worktops, creating a look that is dark and dramatic without overwhelming the space

The bespoke cabinetry shown here takes its inspiration from Martin Moore’s Architectural Collection, featuring clean lines and minimal detailing. It is hand painted in a bespoke dark grey-blue from Martin Moore, while the ‘cooking capsule’ at the far end of the room has a contemporary, letter box design in a natural oak finished with a bespoke dark stain. A tall table with solid block legs and a large composite top forms the central, social feature

Available at The Myers Touch, Eggersmann’s black-steel + black-walnut kitchen offers maximum impact as well as complete individuality, with no two kitchens the same. Every colour gradient of black steel is individual, every cut is unique, and this is down to the production method – the material is rolled red-hot and forms the characteristic dark grey shimmering surface when it reacts with oxygen. Photograph @joachimgrothusfotografie

Tags: kitchens, features, dark kitchens, neolith, caesarstone

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