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Milan Design Week 2018: Top Five Kitchen Trends

10th May 2018

To the last of the trends pieces that I shall be posting about Milan. This week it’s kitchens. Now I didn’t have time to visit the kitchen section in my all-too-brief visit to the fair but this report was put together by Hølte Kitchens, who spent days walking round all four halls dedicated to kitchen design and came up with the following. It’s a bit like my post on furniture which was led by DFS – the designers simply reported what they saw.

Now how long before it filters through to our own homes is another matter. But’s let see what you think.


The Mulberry kitchen in earthy tones by Witlof

The Mulberry kitchen in earthy tones by Witlof

Everyone has been talking about how much pink there was at Milan this year and the team at Hølte found there was plenty of it to be found in kitchens as well. Shades of pink, brown and beige were popular all round with many brands referencing the earthy shades found in nature. If you’re nervous about using these colours on your cabinets then try the wall – or the accessories. This kitchen island above (by sister brand Witlof) in an deep orange contrasts perfectly with the lighter, brighter mint of the cabinets.

navy blue kitchen by witlof

navy blue kitchen by witlof

Dark kitchens is a colour that is beginning to filter through – we have seen lots of navy and dark green but over the next couple of years we will see more dark purples and chocolates as well as terracotta, sand and clay shades. Do you dare?


mixed materials in this kitchen by Holte

mixed materials in this kitchen by Hølte

There was lots of wood mixed with marble or stainless steel proving that you don’t have to have a uniform or matching look throughout your kitchen. This idea has been around for a while but perhaps has yet to percolate through to the mainstream. Hølte saw lots of stainless steel – this is supremely practical in a kitchen as it’s so tough and doesn’t make a fuss about hot or cold or wet or wine or turmeric etc. You can do what you like and it won’t complain. The only damage mine has sustained is a small dent where I dropped a Le Creuset pan lid one day. And even that’s fairly invisible.

Companies are also mixing wood or ply cabinets with painted ones as well as choosing worktops for different zones in the kitchen, so stainless steel by the sink and cooker but wood or marble on a breakfast bar. Gone are the days when it was a standard fit throughout – now it’s about thinking what you are doing and when you are doing it (sound familiar?) so you can work out what you need in a particular zone.


gold tones by witlof

gold tones by witlof

Now brace yourself for this one. We’ve seen the brass taps and, when we could afford them, we have bought them. But this year at Milan it went one step further. Holte reported marble worktops (at high end places like Fendi) with a yellower tinge rather than the classic white or grey carrara marble. And I would add that magazines such as Elle Decoration have been talking about marble in strong colours so these warmer tones will filter through in time. Even if you think you hate them now you are going to see a lot more of them and often it’s about seeing something often enough to just get used to the idea.


open shelving by Hølte kitchens

open shelving by Hølte kitchens

Anyone who knows my kitchen at all will know that this is a look I have been championing for the last eight years. I did it for looks and practicality – it’s easier to reach everything – but the Holte designers detected a more social reason. More kitchens had islands with integrated appliances and large dining areas and the open shelf is a continuation of that social feel. Basically it’s about putting books and pretty things on display making it more of a room that you cook and socialise in rather than a sleek cooking space with everything hidden away. It is, they felt, a reflection of the kitchen as the heart of the home and as a space for everyone to gather and chat.

kitchen by witlof

open shelving kitchen by witlof

It’s also – they suggested – about showing off your lovely kitchen items. They saw lots of beautiful pans hanging on hooks for example as well as shelves providing space for lots of plants – an element which featured strongly at the show this year.


black and white wood and stainless steel kitchen by Hølte

black and white wood and stainless steel kitchen by Hølte

It wouldn’t be a high end kitchen show without a whole lot of smart tech and this year was no exception. There is an increasing number of functions you can carry out from your phone and this will only grow over the next few years. There is an app that will monitor the humidity in your home and tell you if the washing machine has sprung a leak, there are smoke alarms that check in via monthly email and Bosch and Siemens have various appliances that you can monitor when you are out and about. Hølte were most taken with IFTT (If This Then That) which some people use to connect their twitter to their instagram, for example, but has now widened its remit to include appliances so you can get your Phillps Hue lights to turn on when the Uber arrives, or get Alexa to sync with your To Do list and remind you. If you have a GE Appliances Dishwasher you can get it to text you when you need to add rinseaid. That sort of thing.

And we can all scoff and say we don’t need that but the truth of the matter is that as it all becomes more commonplace we will all start using it. After all ten years ago didn’t we just wait for the ad break to nip to the loo rather than pausing it when we wanted then fast-forwarding the ads?

kitchen by witlof

kitchen by witlof

So there you have it – the top five trends from Milan this year. Personally I’m all over the earthy tones – what do you think?

Hølte was established in May 2017 by Hackney-based designers Tom and Fi Ginnett. They already made bespoke kitchens at Witlof but wanted a company to cater for lower budgets so from there you can buy high quality wooden doors in three designs to fit IKEA cabinets. Choose from doors, handles and worktops in three styles and a wide range of colours. That way you can have a bespoke look for about a third of the bespoke price. 

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  • Susan Lopez 11th May 2018 at 9:12 am

    Thank you for the great post! Looking to replace my kitchen after 15 years and found some great ideas here.

    I think I’ll end up going for the mixed materials as my kitchen is open to the main room and it blends quite well without seeming either oppressive with too much wood or too sleek with too much smooth surface and no texture or warmth.

  • Nicola 10th May 2018 at 9:23 am

    I think it’s like the bathrooms the other day – I remember these looks from my childhood so I’m cringing at them. But the millennial won’t be similarly scarred and will probably embrace. The kitchen with the gold tones reminds me of my granny- except of course her patterned worktop was Formica. I expect Formica was big in Milan once too…

  • Jane 10th May 2018 at 9:19 am

    I’m sure Mandy is right about the quickly revolving trends – all the better to part us from our cash – but it does have the benefit of favouring procrastination: wait long enough… I’ve recently moved into an old, dilapidated flat and am enjoying the makeovers, but have been dithering over the kitchen. It has a rather naff orange and cream tiled floor and a supremely practical worksurface in a granite that looks like something the cat brought up (very popular with builders here in Portugal at one time). I had decided reluctantly to live with both, but – hey! – the trend is turning and the burnt orange floor is a-coming in, and the cat could well have been influenced by the latest Milan marbles.

  • Gina 10th May 2018 at 8:56 am

    I’ve set my heart in having a dark green kitchen… but reading about how it’s a current (passing) trend makes me want to do something else! Perhaps I should dare go for purple? I adore that mint and dark orange combo!

  • Mandy 10th May 2018 at 8:11 am

    I do like earthy tones and I love all the greenery but I don’t think I could do terracotta. I had terracotta and gold curtains in my first house and by the time I felt I could replace them I absolutely loathed them. Lesson learned – don’t spend so much on soft furnishings you feel guilty getting rid of them!

    These trends do seem to repeat themselves too quickly (or maybe it’s a sign of my age:/)

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