Are modern kitchens too clinical?

At least twice a week a client will walk into the studio, take a look at our German Pronorm range and say something like “I love these kitchens but modern kitchens are too clinical for me”.

Many designers in modern studios will lose interest at this stage but the comment deserves a little further investigation.

20 or even 15 years ago this comment might have been very accurate. Back then, the choice seemed to be either very traditional with more pilasters, cathedral arches and castellated cornice than you could shake a stick at or if you wanted something less twee then you would fit a maple shaker, almost certainly with a shiny black granite but if you were really brave and wanted something totally leading edge then it was all about stainless steel. The closer the designer could get to a commercial canteen kitchen the better.

That was fine back then. A kitchen was a room on its own where the lady of the house was expected to lock herself away while she prepared the evening meal but thankfully things have moved on. A kitchen is no longer a separate room to be closed off so that the cooking smells won’t invade other parts of the house. The modern kitchen is the hub of the house. It’s almost always an open plan space with an eating area and more often than not there will be a soft area with a sofa. The cold clinical look is simply no longer appropriate. Yes, it’s practical and if you want a space purely for preparing and cooking food then a stainless steel commercial kitchen is the perfect answer but aesthetically it is cold and the word that clients now use when describing their dream kitchen is warm.

This changes the way we now use the kitchen and the space surrounding it has dictated a change in the way we must approach the design of a new kitchen.

Cold and clinical is already dated and becoming more so. Minimise the metal in a kitchen by using a handle less style and possibly appliances with a black or white facia rather than stainless steel. White, either mat or gloss is fine for the door front but try to soften it with a worktop in a more organic colour such as one of the excellent Caesarstone range of composite worktops.

In this way we can create a totally modern and timeless kitchen design that will be not only be ergonomically efficient, easy to keep looking good and a pleasure to live with but will also integrate with the living areas in the house and end up being the area that everyone chooses to spend their time in.