Dark materials: The rising popularity of dramatic kitchen surfaces

KitchensFeatures Wed 23rd Jun 2021 by Lisa Hibberd

Dark materials: The rising popularity of dramatic kitchen surfaces

Dark materials: The rising popularity of dramatic kitchen surfaces

Feature by Lisa Hibberd | Wed 23rd Jun 2021

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

No longer regarded as accents to be added sparingly to a subtle backdrop, black, anthracite and other moody tones have become popular choices for consumers looking to make a bold yet sophisticated style statement in the kitchen. Lisa Hibberd takes a look at some of the latest launches and talks to the experts about how to ensure dark elements don't overwhelm a design.

“Darker, concrete-inspired colours have stemmed from the popularity of industrial interiors – a trend that's here to stay,” says Cosentino UK’s marketing manager, Laura Davie. She believes that the increase in demand for darker tones is in part due to the ever-present hint of industrial that homeowners are surrounded by in their homes. “When first moving into a new place, consumers are often keen to reveal the building’s original architectural features, and this subtle industrialism is an extension of that,” she explains.

Highly durable, granite is heat and stain resistant, and some brands such as Sensa by Cosentino – shown here in Graphite Grey – boast built-in stain protection

In addition to creating an industrial vibe, dark-coloured surfaces are also popular with those looking to achieve a more natural look, inspired by stone and marble materials. Caroline Elliott, head of product – worktops, for Bushboard, Wilsonart UK, comments: “The trend for biophilic design with people wanting to bring elements of nature into their homes and disconnect from the everyday digital world, has created yet more demand for surfaces that replicate the effect of these natural materials." The broad range of dark-coloured laminates from brands such as Bushboard prove that there is no need for budget-conscious consumers to sacrifice on style.

One of a selection of designs in Bushboard’s Omega range, Brasilia Roche has been inspired by the trend for urban minimalism. Added antibacterial protection is a great selling point

Egger's 16mm-thick, square-edge Black Pietra Grigia with a high-end marble effect is PEFC certified and made using 83% renewable material – perfect for today’s environmentally-aware homeowners

And it’s not just consumers who are taking note of this impactful trend. “We’re noticing housebuilders becoming braver with their choices; steering away from traditional whites, woods and greys and experimenting with bolder options, such as as deep colours and much darker greys,” reveals Jonathan Stanley, VP marketing at Caesarstone UK & EMEA.

The inky black base of Oxidian, part of Caesarstone’s Dark collection, is veiled by a rust-like effect to give the impression of an oxidised surface

Simon Boocock, MD for CRL Stone, believes that dark colours are not just a passing fad but instead represent a timeless choice. “Shades such as black and dark grey, when used on surfaces such as worktops, floors and splashbacks, can be used to make a room feel very inviting, particularly when combined with textured woods to add a rustic, homely charm,” he says. CRL Stone’s Ceralsio collection is made from sintered stone, and offers a selection of dark tones including Black, Croma Black, Nero, Umbria and Marquina.

Available in 6mm, 12mm and 16mm thicknesses, Ceralsio Umbria, by CRL Stone features rich, dark tones offset by a lighter fleck running throughout

At just 12mm thick, Black Diamond SapienStone from Cullifords is ideal for a sleek, streamlined look. As the patterns on this ceramic surface collection are made using photographs, the designs can be varied easily to suit market demand

With a wealth of dark surface materials, textures and finishes on the market, is there anything that kitchen designers need to be aware of when using these dramatic hues? “Unless a client is looking for a tonally matched kitchen, it's best to balance your shades,” says PWS’ head of strategic design, Lizzie Beesley. “So when using a very dark worktop a designer needs to consider the finishes in the rest of the kitchen. Balancing with colour and pattern will harmonise the design.”

Silestone Quartz in Charcoal Soapstone, available from PWS, comes in 12mm, 20mm and 30mm thicknesses, and either Polished or Suede finishes

Lundhs Emerald, from Lundhs Real Stone, has a striking dark background with lustrous blue crystals, and makes for an effective choice with light or dark cabinetry

Ben Bryden, head of sales at RAK Ceramics UK, recommends that designers avoid the overuse of dark surfaces. “This applies to any size space, although the larger the space, the more dark shades it will be able to comfortably carry,” he adds. “Remember to consider how much natural light the room enjoys and incorporate materials and finishes that help reflect this so that the dark tones of the worksurfaces do not appear too imposing.“

Maximus porcelain tiles from RAK Ceramics are available in three thicknesses and a range of sizes up to mega slabs measuring 135 x 305cm. Pictured on the island here is Marble, complemented by Circle Wood on the floor

Tags: kitchens, features, dark surfaces, worktops, silestone

In other news