Finally, 2022 is the year of the holiday. We have lugged the monstrous portmanteau of “staycationing” around for too long, and are investing instead in international trips of a lifetime to scratch the travel itch we’ve been nursing since March 2020.
However, forays afar are having knock-on effects on the design industry. These days, the toss-up between a new kitchen and a bucket-list holiday is determined by a biased coin with a taste for mai tais and white sandy beaches. But this doesn’t need to prohibit a little home improvement along the way.
Traditionally, June and July are the busiest months for kitchen renovations (why, Christmas is only just around the corner…), meaning homeowners are juggling budgets for both cabinets and the Caribbean. With a few budget-friendly hacks, you can have your mai tai and drink it too (at your upgraded kitchen island).
Kitchen islands and other worktops serve as impactful platforms for refreshing your kitchen’s design scheme. It is relatively easy to change worktops, and replacing tired laminate or rotten wooden countertops with something more durable will give your kitchen a fresh, design-led feel. The worktop is one of the hardest-working parts of the kitchen, so investing in better-quality materials sooner rather than later is economical.
Mor Krisher, the chief designer at Caesarstone, a worktop company known for its high-quality quartz surfaces, says: “Kitchen surfaces require a sense of robustness and longevity, and, simultaneously, should be a timeless addition to their environments.” He adds: “The focus on the worktop in any kitchen is central.”
The company has been at the forefront of the surfaces industry for 35 years, and has just launched its first collection of porcelain worktops, offering bolder, larger designs in new colours.
So, too, can a new splashback breathe new life into your kitchen without requiring a full renovation. Phil Robinson, founder of the eco-paint and decorating company Paint the Town Green, believes that the color of your cabinets and even the shade of your worktops can be elevated with the right kind of tiles. “Bringing a different style of tiles into the kitchen with a new splashback can completely transform the space,” he says.
When it comes to repainting cupboards, Robinson suggests “giving pre-painted cabinets a good rubdown with sandpaper before starting”. Finding out what type of paint was used previously can also help you achieve a professional, finished look if you’re attempting to DIY. “If it was a water-based product,” he says, “then you’ll be fine to paint over it with another water-based paint. However, if it was oil-based or a two-part spray, it’s a good idea to use a primer sealer first to ensure the paint adheres properly and doesn’t flake or peel.”
Updating your kitchen hardware, such as handles and taps, can also bring a fresh feel to a pre-existing design. Croft, a 150-year-old English designer and manufacturer of architectural hardware, has a great range of door, cabinet and even window hardware in solid brass and bronze, which acts almost like jewelery for the home, adding delicate metallic accents. Quooker, the world’s first boiling-water tap, is arguably one of the most sought-after taps on the market. Not only has it been a game-changer in the kitchen in terms of its functionality, but it also comes in a range of great finishes, including gold, the ever-popular stainless steel, and even a super trend-led matt black.
Finally, lighting can absolutely transform a kitchen: with a statement shade or two, you can very easily add more personality to the space. Scarlett Hampton, a co-founder of lightsandlamps.com, is a pioneer of lighting the kitchen in the same way you would a living room, believing that the kitchen deserves the same attention to detail as any other space. She says: “Choose decorative pendants for the seating areas or over an island, floor lamps for the room corner, and even table lamps on the worktops. This will all make the space feel more homely and less utilitarian.”