Kitchens past, present and future


This month we thought it would be interesting to focus on some kitchen tit-bits that cover the past, present and future with kitchen disasters of the last 100 years, a fantastic new virtual showroom launch and a sneaky peek into what possibly lies ahead.

Magnet reveals the worst kitchen culprits

Tiled worktops have been named as the worst kitchen look of the last 100 years according to research by kitchen retailer Magnet. And while traditional kitchen trends in general are on the rise with walk-in larders and service windows making a comeback, it seems homeowners aren’t embracing every aspect of vintage designs. According to the latest data from Magnet, the worst three kitchen looks of the last 100 years are:

  • Tiled worktops (36%)
  • Dark wood units (27%)
  • Veneer trimmed cabinets (14%)

That being said, traditional kitchens are making a triumphant return, as homeowners look to nostalgic features to bring a sense of comfort and cosiness to the home. To help people decide which retro features should be included in their 2021 kitchen, Magnet has created an online visual quiz.

Over half of homeowners (51%) would choose a country farmhouse or traditional-style kitchen rather than a more modern design and we’re now seeing the return of retro staples. Nigella Lawson’s walk-in larder featured prominently in her recent BBC show Cook, Eat, Repeat, suggesting she agrees with the three-quarters of Brits who said they would like to see a walk-in larder in their kitchen.

However, as in-demand as walk-in larders now are, service windows were voted the most iconic heritage trend with almost a third (27%) of Brits selecting the service hatch as the kitchen feature they remember most, in the survey of 2,000 people. These vintage additions have not only become your average homeowner’s first choice, they have also become increasingly popular in celebrity’s homes too, as cleaning influencer Mrs Hinch has included a service window in her recent kitchen renovation.

With almost three quarters of the nation moving into a house that they considered outdated, the unpopular retro trends such as dark wooden units and tiled worktops aren’t a deal-breaker, as nearly a fifth of Brits redecorate their entire homes within two to five years. Like fashion, kitchen trends can make a comeback, resulting in one in five Brits saying they would keep their kitchen longer than 10 years in the hope that it’ll come back in style, but over a quarter of people buy a new kitchen every five to 10 years.

Benchmarx gives us the virtual experience

Following increased demand for its online design service, Benchmarx Kitchens has launched a new virtual showroom experience, allowing customers to enjoy the benefits of being in branch while in the comfort of their own home. The experience includes an interactive 360° showroom, which features eight of its most popular ranges.

As part of this offering, Benchmarx has also launched a kitchen visualiser, which allows you to experiment with different combinations to create your dream design. The resource enables the user to input their room dimensions and select preferred cabinet layout, kitchen range, worktop colour and appliance type and location, building a visual of what their chosen kitchen would look like.

The customer can then make the finishing touches, selecting additional storage solutions, furniture, handles, accessories and supplementary appliances. It’s also possible to visualise a preferred aesthetic by selecting wall paint and panel colour in addition to flooring and specific worktop finish.

Julia Trendell, design expert at Benchmarx Kitchens, explains: “While the majority of our customers once preferred to visit branches to discuss their kitchen design face-to-face, more people now understandably want the option to explore different design ideas and access advice virtually. Our 360° showroom is the perfect way for customers to get acquainted with our most popular ranges and virtually explore the room sets in the comfort of their own home, accessing inspiration and helpful tips that they may not have previously considered.

“As our kitchen ranges are entirely adaptable, it’s also possible to create designs for the wider home, including an adjacent utility room, a media centre in an open-plan living area, or even a boot room to store muddy wellies after a long walk. Our design tool is adaptable in this way and aims to give you the flexibility to make our ranges work for you.”

Once a customer has created their design, they are invited to meet with one of Benchmarx’s experts to discuss the plan in greater detail, either over the phone or in person by appointment at their local branch. The designer will guide them through the process and create an updated 3D design to suit their specification, as well as providing expert insight and any further recommendations. View the 360° showroom and try out the design visualiser at:

Future predictions for the home

Global homelift company Aritco has joined forces with innovation platform and forecaster Springwise to reveal the top 18 innovations that we can expect to see in our homes in 2021 and beyond. David Schill, Aritco’s marketing director, says, “We see design and innovation as a crucial part of moving forward so we commissioned this deep-dive into the global innovations that will be shaping how we live in our homes safely and comfortably, without sacrificing style or design.”

The emerging trends include:

  • Air purification system disguised as a piece of art
  • Windows that become solar cells when heated
  • Home radiator that uses infrared radiation to save energy
  • A bladeless ceiling fan that kills microorganisms
  • Smart circadian lightbulbs that provide personalised body clock lighting
  • Self-cleaning antibacterial pop-up home office
  • Ceiling panels that use ultraviolet technology to remove infectious air particles
  • A contactless button system to install in existing lifts to reduce bacteria transmission
  • Shelf that disinfects hands and phones
  • A pop-up office kit to recreate office-like virtual presentations from your bedroom
  • Platform that targets ‘Zoom fatigue’ by injecting lift into virtual meetings
  • Data encryption device that protects home-based information systems
  • Home tech that orders your groceries with voice instructions
  • Augmented reality app that helps visualise what art will look like in your home
  • Artificial intelligence sensors that detect if the washing machine needs repairing
  • Bedside device tracks significant heart rate changes to reduce medical appointments
  • App thar allows the home-bound to make incredible journeys in real time
  • Music therapy app which uses artificial intelligence to create a soothing personalised playlist

Springwise’s Justin Sablich, the editor of Future of the Home, says, “Beyond hygiene consumption and physical safety, we have identified creative new ways that businesses are helping us maintain meaningful connections with the outside world, while we continue to spend more time in our homes.”

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About Hayley Gilbert

Hayley Gilbert is a freelance interiors journalist with 20 years’ experience in the industry. Specialising in all things kitchens, Hayley has contributed to a wide range of consumer titles such as Beautiful Kitchens, EKBB, KBB, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and Ideal Home, as well as national newspapers including The Sunday Times.... @HaylGilbert /

  Email:  Hayley Gilbert


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