Kitchen Style Ideas: Designing Your Dream Space

The kitchen is where meals are prepared, memories are made, and laughter fills the air.  But with so many design options available, choosing the right kitchen style can feel overwhelming.  This guide from Plus Rooms, London’s leading design & build company, explores some of the most popular kitchen styles, along with classic styles that will never go out of fashion.

Trending Kitchen Styles

The kitchen isn’t just a room for cooking anymore; it’s the heart of the home, a place for gathering, entertaining, and creating culinary masterpieces.  As our lifestyles evolve, so too do our kitchen designs. The following are four of the most popular kitchen trends currently transforming kitchens into functional and stylish havens.

Biophilic Design: Nature’s Embrace

A kitchen embracing biophilic design.

Imagine stepping into a kitchen bathed in natural light, with lush greenery adding a touch of life.  Biophilic design, a concept that emphasises connecting with nature indoors, is a major trend in kitchen design. This approach aims to create a sense of well-being and tranquillity within the cooking space.

Here’s how you can incorporate biophilic design into your kitchen:

  • Natural Light: Maximise natural light by incorporating large windows or skylights as seen in this Southwark kitchen extension. If natural light is limited, strategically placed task lighting can mimic the warm glow of sunlight.
  • Houseplants: Live plants not only add a touch of freshness but also improve air quality. Choose low-maintenance varieties that thrive in kitchens, such as snake plants, spider plants, or herbs.
  • Earthy Colour Palette: Embrace nature’s calming hues by incorporating earthy tones like green, brown, and beige into your colour scheme. These colours can be used for cabinets, countertops, or even backsplashes.
  • Natural Materials: Wood, stone, and other natural materials bring a sense of the outdoors into your kitchen. Consider wood cabinetry, natural stone countertops like granite or soapstone, or exposed brick walls for a rustic touch.

Two-Tone Cabinets: A Playful Departure

A kitchen with two-tone cabinets.

Gone are the days of monotonous single-colour cabinets. Two-tone kitchens are a trending look that adds visual interest and allows for creative expression. This approach involves using two different cabinet colours to create a dynamic and stylish space.

Here are some ideas to explore when implementing two-tone cabinets:

  • Classic Contrast: For a timeless look, pair a crisp white with a darker shade like charcoal grey, forest green, or navy blue. This combination creates a sense of balance and allows the white cabinets to stand out as seen in this kitchen extension in East Dulwich.
  • Warm and Cool Duo: Combine a warm wood tone like maple or cherry with a cool colour like mint green or light blue. This creates a unique and inviting atmosphere.
  • Island Statement: For a bolder approach, use a contrasting colour for your kitchen island as seen in this Richmond kitchen extension, letting it become the focal point of the space. This works well with open-plan kitchens where the island takes centre stage.

Smart Kitchens: Technology at Your Fingertips

Technology is no longer confined to our living rooms; it’s making its way into the kitchen in a big way. Smart kitchens are all about integrating technology seamlessly into the cooking experience, increasing efficiency and convenience.

Here are some exciting smart kitchen features to consider:

  • Smart Appliances: From ovens and refrigerators to dishwashers and coffee makers, a wide range of smart appliances are now available. These appliances can be controlled remotely using your smartphone or voice-activated assistants, making it easier to preheat the oven or start the dishwasher even when you’re not in the kitchen.
  • Voice-Activated Controls: Imagine asking your kitchen to preheat the oven or brew coffee – voice-activated controls are making this a reality. These hands-free systems allow you to control various appliances with simple voice commands, perfect for when your hands are full.
  • Touchless Faucets: Promote hygiene and convenience with touchless faucets that automatically turn on and off when you place your hand near them. This is a great feature for busy kitchens and helps in maintaining cleanliness.

Maximised Storage: Making Every Inch Count

Modern kitchens, especially those in smaller spaces, demand smart and efficient storage solutions.  Maximised storage goes beyond adding more cabinets; it’s about utilising every inch of space available and incorporating clever design elements to keep your kitchen clutter-free.

Here are some tips for maximising storage in your kitchen:

  • Hidden Gems: Consider built-in cabinets that reach all the way to the ceiling to maximise vertical space. Utilise pull-out drawers in cabinets to make accessing items in the back easier.
  • Corner Solutions: Don’t let those awkward corner spaces go to waste. Install carousels or L-shaped drawers that make use of these often-neglected areas.
  • Vertical Organisers: Make the most of your wall space with hanging shelves, utensil racks, or pot rails. These offer additional storage while keeping frequently used items within easy reach.
  • Appliance Garages: Reduce countertop clutter by incorporating built-in appliance garages specifically designed to hide away toasters, blenders, or coffee makers when not in use.

Modern Kitchen Styles

A modern style kitchen with pendant lights.

Modern kitchens are all about clean lines, sleek finishes, and functionality. Here are some key features:

  • Flat-panel cabinetry:  Sleek and uncluttered, flat-panel cabinets create a minimalist look.
  • Quartz countertops:  Durable, non-porous, and available in a wide range of colours and patterns, quartz countertops are a popular choice in modern kitchens.
  • Integrated appliances:  For a seamless look, appliances are built-in and hidden behind cabinet doors or tucked away in kitchen islands.
  • Statement lighting:  Modern kitchens often feature bold pendant lights with minimalist, hidden track lighting to make a bold and artistic style statement.

Shaker Style Kitchen

A kitchen with shaker style cabinets.

Shaker style kitchens are a timeless classic, offering a clean and elegant look that blends seamlessly with various design styles. Here’s what defines them:

Country Style Kitchen

A country style kitchen with a deep farmhouse sink.

Country style kitchens evoke a sense of warmth, comfort, and nostalgia. Here are some key elements:

  • Painted cabinets:  Often featuring distressed finishes, painted cabinets in shades like white, cream, deep blue, or sage green are a hallmark of country kitchens.
  • Butcher block countertops:  Warm and inviting, butcher block countertops add a touch of rustic charm.
  • Farmhouse sink:  A large, deep farmhouse sink adds functionality and a touch of vintage style.
  • Open shelving:  Display plates, mugs, and other decorative items on open shelves for a cosy and personal touch.
  • Textiles:  Country kitchens often incorporate textiles like woven rugs, curtains with floral patterns, and tea towels displayed on hooks.

Industrial Style Kitchen

An industrial style kitchen with Crittall-style doors.

Industrial style kitchens have a raw and edgy aesthetic, often incorporating elements found in warehouses or factories. Here’s what defines them:

  • Exposed brick:  Exposed brick walls add texture and a touch of industrial history to the space.
  • Stainless steel countertops:  Durable and easy to clean, stainless steel countertops are a perfect choice for an industrial kitchen.
  • Metal accents:  Metal chairs, pendant lights with exposed bulbs, industrial-style hardware, and steel Crittall-style doors create a rugged look.
  • Concrete floors: Polished concrete floors add a sense of coolness and durability to an industrial kitchen.
  • Minimalist décor:  Industrial kitchens prioritise clean lines and functionality, with minimal decorative elements.

Cottage Style Kitchen

A cottage style kitchen with painted cabinets.

Cottage style kitchens are charming and inviting, perfect for creating a cosy and comfortable atmosphere. Here are some characteristics:

  • Painted cabinets:  Similar to country style, cottage kitchens often utilise painted cabinets, but in a wider range of colours, including pastel shades and blues.
  • Natural stone or wood countertops:  Granite, marble, wooden, or soapstone countertops add a touch of luxury to a cottage kitchen.
  • Butler’s pantry:  For extra storage and a touch of vintage charm, consider incorporating a butler’s pantry.
  • Vintage details: Vintage and thrift store finds like antique fixtures, mismatched chairs, and decorative plates on display add personality to a cottage kitchen.
  • Patterned floors:  Black and white chequered floors, floral tiles, wide reclaimed wood floors, and clay tiles can add a touch of whimsy to a cottage kitchen.

Plus Rooms: Bespoke Kitchen Extensions for Discerning Homeowners

Now that you’ve explored a range of popular kitchen styles, it’s time to consider how to bring your dream kitchen to life.  

Plus Rooms boasts decades of experience in crafting stunning kitchen extensions.  This extensive experience translates into a deep understanding of the entire process, from initial design concepts to meticulous construction.

Investing in a Plus Rooms extension guarantees the highest calibre of craftsmanship, utilising premium materials and meticulous attention to detail. Our team of experienced builders takes pride in their work, ensuring your kitchen is constructed to the highest standards and built to last.
If you’re ready to create your dream kitchen, Plus Rooms is the perfect partner. Our experience, expertise, and dedication to quality will ensure a successful project that exceeds your expectations. Contact Plus Rooms today to schedule a consultation and embark on the journey to your dream kitchen or try out our extension cost calculator.

Our Guide to Design and Build Contracts in the UK

Design and build contracts are commonly used in the construction industry in the UK. This guide provides an overview of design and build contracts, their advantages, the roles of the contractor and architect, a comparison with traditional contracts, and the different types of design and build contracts available. This is especially important for anyone considering a home extension in the UK, so let’s take a look.

What is a Design and Build Contract?

This is when the contractor is responsible for both the design and construction of a project. Instead of separate contracts for design and construction that include multiple parties like architects and builders, the client enters into a single agreement with the contractor – that is, the design and build company – streamlining the process.

Advantages of a Design and Build Contract

  • Single point of responsibility: With a design and build contract, the contractor assumes full responsibility for the entire project, including design, construction, and coordination. This reduces the client’s administrative burden and ensures clear accountability.
  • Faster project delivery: Since design and construction are integrated, there is no need for time-consuming bid processes between the architect and contractors. This can lead to faster project delivery and reduced construction time.
  • Control of costs and reduced project costs: Design and build contracts often provide cost certainty to clients since the contractor is responsible for managing and controlling the project’s budget. This can help avoid cost overruns and change orders, as well as make your project more affordable.
  • Better collaboration: Design and build contracts utilise a team that has always worked together rather than people who are strangers from different organisations that have their own separate goals and values. This means they already work well as a team, which creates effective communication, problem-solving, and innovation.

Role of the Contractor in a Design and Build Contract

Here, the contractor takes on a more prominent role compared to traditional contracts. Their responsibilities include:

  • Design development: The contractor works closely with the client to develop the project’s design, ensuring it meets the client’s requirements and adheres to relevant regulations and standards.
  • Construction: The contractor is responsible for executing the construction phase, managing subcontractors, procuring materials, and ensuring the project is completed within the agreed-upon timeframe and budget.
  • Project management: The contractor oversees the entire project, including scheduling, budgeting, quality control, and coordination of various stakeholders.

Architect’s Role in a Design and Build Contract

For most residential extensions, you don’t need an architect if you work with a design and build company, which is one of the biggest cost-saving benefits. However, there will be an experienced specialist who takes on this role. The design specialist or architect in a design and build company has more of a team role in the project when it’s a design and build contract, working directly with the contractor and client to develop the building or extension’s design. Their responsibilities typically include:

  • Developing the initial design concept: The design specialist or architect collaborates with the client to establish the project’s design objectives, vision, and requirements. They develop an initial concept, which the contractor refines during the design development phase.
  • Technical support: They will also provide technical expertise and guidance to the contractor during the design phase, ensuring compliance with building codes, rules for extensions, regulations, and industry standards.
  • Construction administration: During the building process, they assist the contractor in overseeing the construction phase, reviewing shop drawings, conducting site inspections, and addressing any design-related issues that may arise.

Traditional Building Contracts vs. Design and Build Contracts

Traditional contracts involve separate agreements with architects and all the different contractors, where the architect’s design is completed and signed off on by the client before the contractor is engaged. The architect here is completely separated from the construction process – if you finish with their services and then need changes made to your design, you will have to go and renegotiate with them. 

In contrast, design and build contracts are all-in-one services. They integrate both design and construction under a single contract, where the architect or design specialist and the contractor, as well as any other specialists, work as a single team. This means that they are involved in the process from concept and design through construction until the project is completed.

Key differences include:

  • Responsibility: In a traditional contract, the client assumes greater responsibility for coordinating between the architect and contractor. Design and build contracts transfer this responsibility to the contractor.
  • Collaboration: Design and build contracts promote collaboration with and early involvement of the contractor as well as other professionals on the team. Because all the relevant parties, including the client, are involved, it’s easier to work together or make changes throughout the process. Traditional contracts involve sequential processes where each process is signed off before the next can occur. This can hinder collaboration because parties work independently. For example, if the architect’s plans are signed off but the client decides they actually want a larger or another window, the process has to essentially start over. 
  • Risk allocation: Traditional contracts often allocate more risk to the client, while design and build contracts transfer some risk to the contractor, who is responsible for both design and construction.

Types of Design and Build Contracts in the UK

  • Novation design and build contract: Here, the client enters into a contract with the architect initially. Once the design is sufficiently developed, the architect’s contract is novated (transferred) to the contractor, who takes on responsibility for the design and construction.
  • Two-stage design and build contract: In the first stage, the client engages a contractor based on preliminary information. The contractor will work with the client and architect to develop the design further. Once the design is sufficiently developed, the contract is finalised, and construction commences.
  • Negotiated design and build contract: This is a contract type that’s recommended when the client or contractor wants specific or non-traditional terms and responsibilities. The client and contractor will then negotiate the terms of the contract, including design and construction. This type of contract offers flexibility and allows for more direct involvement of the client in the decision-making process.
  • Turnkey design and build contract: In this contract, the contractor takes full responsibility for the design, construction, and delivery of a fully operational project. The client typically has minimal involvement in the design process and receives the completed project at the end. This is typically used in residential housing projects rather than an individual’s home.
  • Management contract: This can be included as part of a design and build contract. Here, the client appoints a design and build contractor as a manager to oversee and coordinate the project. The contractor manages the design and construction process, procuring and coordinating subcontractors and suppliers on behalf of the client.
  • Design, build, and operate (DBO) contract: This type of contract is typically used for infrastructure projects rather than private home builds and extensions. It extends beyond design and construction to include the operation and maintenance of the completed project. The contractor is responsible for delivering a fully functional facility and managing its operation for a specified period.
  • Public-private partnership (PPP) contract: PPP contracts involve collaboration between a public entity and a private contractor. The contractor assumes responsibility for the design, construction, financing, and operation of a public infrastructure project, such as roads or hospitals.
  • Framework design and build contract: This type of contract is established between the client and the contractor to facilitate the delivery of multiple projects over a specified period. It’s typically used for large-scale development, such as building several schools in an area. The contractor is engaged on a long-term basis and provides design and construction services for individual projects as they arise.

It’s important to note that specific terms and conditions can vary within each type of design and build contract, so they need to be read carefully regardless. At Plus Rooms, London’s leading design and build company, we typically use a negotiated design and build contract that can include project management if needed, as this gives our clients the most flexibility and works well within our team’s capabilities, leading to the best possible results.

Read more about building regulations in the UK.

Work with London’s Leading Design and Build Company for Your Dream Home

Plus Rooms is a full-service provider for all types of home extensions in the greater London area, including loft, kitchen, and kitchen diner extensions. As a top design and build company, we’ll work with you through the entire process, from designing your extension and managing planning permission to building the project and ensuring it is completed to your satisfaction. Please visit our website to see more of our home extensions, to be inspired by our kitchen extension design ideasto see reviews from past clients, and to start the journey towards your dream home.