These clever design ideas will create a multifunctional kitchen you’ll love spending time in
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Photo 1 of 2 The Nuura Anoli pendant lights from Danish Design feature glass shades in a delicate golden hue
Photo 2 of 2 Brass handles and the Shaker-style cabinetry add a vintage touch to this modern kitchen designed by Liquid Interiors

1. Style: Refreshed Rustic

“Mixing contemporary and classic features in a kitchen is a great way to get longevity from the design,” says Rowena Gonzales, principal designer at Hong Kong-based firm Liquid Interiors. To achieve this old-meets-new aesthetic, Gonzales suggests updating Shaker-style cabinetry with modern handles. If the hardware is made of wood, consider repainting it in a trending shade, such as Classic Blue, the Pantone Colour of the Year.

“Use materials such as enamel, stainless steel, solid brass and copper finishes that are commonly found in heritage kitchens,” says Lim Wee Li, CEO of Kitchen Culture. To avoid an antiquated look, pair these vintage elements with modern Scandinavian accents such as the Anoli pendant lights by Danish brand Nuura.

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Above This kitchen, crafted by Humbert & Poyet, proves to be a shining example with its opulent touches.

2. Style: Brass Accents That Create A New Opulence

Go all out with brass elements to make a glamorous statement in your culinary space. This kitchen (pictured above), crafted by Humbert & Poyet, proves to be a shining example with its opulent touches. Designed for a chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland, this culinary space combines rustic elements with modern details that include a bespoke extractor crafted in hammered brass which is paired with a brass-finished cooktop from La Cornue and blue cabinetry with similarly gilded handles. “The mix of wood panels with matte and brass finishes creates a warm ambience with a sense of modernity in a traditional chalet,” explain Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet, the co-founders of the design firm.

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Photo 1 of 2 This kitchen designed by E&A Interiors combines light wood, white marble and blue cabinetry to create an elegant space
Photo 2 of 2 Moooi Emperor lamp by Neri & Hu, from Space Furniture

3. Style: Go For Tropical Chic

Give your kitchen a resort-style vibe by featuring natural materials such as rattan, bamboo and light wood. “With travel bans in place, now more than ever, everyone wants a holiday atmosphere in their home,” says Chloe Elkerton, founder of E&A Interiors. “Rather than bland white and beige schemes, a tropical-style kitchen allows us to be more playful and eclectic with our colour and material choices.”

Elkerton suggests designing an open-plan, two-toned kitchen with an island or cabinetry that’s in a contrasting colour to the rest of the space. “Add details like panelled cabinet doors, rattan furniture, or open wood shelving where you can display crockery and plants,” advises the designer. “Use vibrant colours like ocean blue and incorporate patterned tiles on the floors and backsplash.”

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Above A project by Summerhaus D’zign, this minimalist kitchen features features a variety of open shelves

4. Feature: Opt For Open Shelves

Cast-iron crockery and designer dinnerware are among some of the most prized items in our kitchens, so why not display them on elegant open shelves? Daniel Magg, general manager of W. Atelier’s furniture division, suggests using open shelves to create a loft-like aesthetic in your kitchen; place them in the middle of a row of built-in cabinetry to break up the monotony of a line of uniform shelves.

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Above Available at W. Atelier, the Next125 Frame kitchen system features open wall shelves

“Open shelves are a great way to customise, differentiate and add visual interest to even the simplest of kitchens,” says Larry Lim, managing partner at Summerhaus D’zign. “Shelves with angled or alternate vertical dividers are a great way to add character to your kitchen while hiding the items that you’d rather your guests didn’t see.” A good choice is Frame, a system by German brand Next125, which has six organisational elements that can be combined with LED lighting to create illuminated shelves on your kitchen counter.

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Above Available at Cosentino, the Dekton Feroe collection features a verdant colour inspired by nature

5. Colour: Trending Green

Among the hottest colours for kitchens at the moment are verdant shades that take cues from lush foliage. “It’s fresh and relaxing, and brings the outdoors in,” says Elkerton. “Dark green is a very versatile colour, but do consider the lighting in your space when choosing the shade as this will affect how it ends up looking.” For kitchens that are very bright, she suggests avoiding greens with yellow overtones; for darker kitchens, rather than using large amounts of green, she suggests splashes of olive, emerald or forest green on the cabinetry.

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Photo 1 of 2 This vibrant kitchen designed by E&A Interiors employs a bold emerald hue on the cabinetry and the island
Photo 2 of 2 When using green, opt for lighting pieces with brass detailing such as the Homefield pendant lamp from Astro Lighting

“Dark green hues are popular choices for kitchens now because they have a calming and restorative effect,” says Maria Fernandez, the Asia marketing manager of Cosentino. According to Fernandez, a dark green kitchen works well in combination with lighter, creamy, neutral shades and soft copper and brass lighting fixtures or hardware, which can help balance out the denseness of the green. If an all-green kitchen feels like too big a change, consider using the colour only on lower cabinetry or on the backsplash. 

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Photo 1 of 2 The Pure collection by SieMatic from W. Atelier features a slender 2cm frame that formsa graphic edge
Photo 2 of 2 The Loto kitchen system by Miton in black, available at W. Atelier

6. Colour: Cool Black

Summerhaus D’zign managing partner Larry Lim has seen an increase in requests for black kitchens and believes such dark schemes are a practical choice if you want a low-maintenance option. According to Nikki Hunt, principal of Design Intervention, black kitchens can be streamlined and masculine when combined with sharp profiles and minimalist details or sexy and glamorous when matched with mirrors, glossy tiles and gold trimmings.

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Above A kitchen crafted by Design Intervention, which features mirrored doors and chevron-patterned flooring

“Black kitchens work particularly well when the room has little natural light. Adding reflective elements such as mirrors and gold details amplifies the available light and brings a glamorous edge to the space,” she says. Magg, however, cautions that black furnishings absorb light; so it’s wise to ensure you include good ceiling and task lights when designing such a dark kitchen.

(Related : How To Create The Kitchen Of Your Dreams

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Above London-based architecture and design practice DH Liberty utilised black granite as an accent backsplash to deliver impact in a minimalist kitchen.

7. Material: Granite Dream

In this lakeside home in Italy, London-based architecture and design practice DH Liberty utilised black granite as an accent backsplash to deliver impact in a minimalist kitchen. The use of light wood cabinetry, with its understated look, adds sophistication to this space.DH Liberty founder Dara Huang worked with Luxury Cave founder Darren Miller to create this kitchen; they selected black granite for its robust quality and rugged presence. “The most successful schemes strike a perfect balance, using the materials with the strongest character sparingly,” says Miller.

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Photo 1 of 2 Project designed by Liquid Interiors
Photo 2 of 2 Project designed by Sujonohun.

8. Style: Drink It Up At A Home Bar

Bring home elements of the bar experience with a cocktail zone in your kitchen, as seen in these projects designed by Liquid Interiors and Sujonohun. A bar counter can also double as a breakfast nook or an informal workspace when you’re holding Zoom catch-ups with your team or sending emails on your laptop. Create a counter where you can include fun bar stools such as SP01’s sling-shaped Jeanette by Tom Fereday. 

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Above A summer home designed by Jasmine Lam Interior Design + Architecture

9. Style: A Clean Slate

An off-white kitchen is a timeless choice. In a summer home designed by Jasmine Lam Interior Design + Architecture, the firm created a bespoke island and connecting dining table crafted with Calacatta marble. “It was important for us to find slabs that had long veins so that we could continue the marble veining from the island to the dining table,” says Lam. While marble islands are beautiful to behold, Lam cautions that they are nonetheless high-maintenance.

“Seal it once or twice a year with a silicone impregnator and keep lemons and red wine away from the marble; stains from these will be very difficult to repair or remove.” She recommends countertops made with quartz stone or Corian (a solid-surface brand) instead for an easy-care option. Miller adds that despite stain-protection treatment, most marble types are prone to blemishes. Understand how intensely the kitchen space will be used to select the most appropriate material; maintenance can range from regular cleaning with a mild detergent to annual visits by stone masons to apply a fresh protective coating to marble surfaces.

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Above The Lumière House by Studio Avana features a lush indoor garden next to the kitchen

10. Style: Natural Elements

Indonesia-based firm Studio Avana took the indoors-out concept to another level with its design for Lumière House, capitalising on the client’s love for cooking and the outdoors. “With the size limitation of the site area, we wanted the interiors to feel spacious,” says principal architect Rayner Tulus.

“We felt that a good solution was to place the kitchen next to a garden, not only to improve the dining ambience but also to add good natural light to make the area feel more open.” The kitchen and the vertical garden area are covered with a glass roof to protect the interior from rain, and an integrated irrigation system makes the vertical garden easy to maintain. “When the irrigation system activates, you can hear the water droplets fall, enhancing the feeling of being outdoors,” adds Tulus.

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Above V-Zug ovens and induction cooktop pictured with light wood cabinetry

11. Hardware: Top-Tier

A careful edit of culinary gadgets can also help to limit clutter in the kitchen. Tulus suggests buying only appliances that are necessary. “Nowadays, there are many appliances that come with multiple functions, so choose these to cut down on the overall number of gadgets needed.” Appliances with easy-to-clean features will also help with the upkeep of your culinary space. Take, for example, the Combair XSLP ovens from V-Zug (on the right), which feature a pyrolytic cleaning process that burns all the dirt deposits in the oven to ash, which can be easily removed with a damp cloth.

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Above The Molteni&C | Dada Tivali kitchen system from P5 incorporates sliding doors that hide your shelves and countertop when the space is not in use

12. Storage: Hidden Cabinetry

Create additional storage for your appliances, if you prefer to keep your kitchen counter or island free of clutter. “It is important to consider all the appliances that you will use in your new kitchen,” says Lam of Jasmine Lam Interior Design + Architecture. “Figure out storage for countertop appliances such as a toaster, coffee maker, blender, food processor; having these appliances stored away is important when going for a clean aesthetic.” 

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