Building Your Home | 16 July 2015

Integrated open-plan kitchens and other kitchen trends

by Carlisle Homes

Our love affair with open living is here to stay! Gone are the days of mazes of hallways and separate dining rooms, making way for the seamless combination of kitchen, living and meals areas to create light-filled family hubs in the home. So now, more than ever, the kitchen is becoming the centrepiece in new home style, setting the scene for the rest of the home. Tamara Spencer, Spectra Manager, shares her insight into kitchen trending and style.

Integrated style
Perfectly marrying form and function, an emerging trend we are seeing is the integrated kitchen, where the kitchen area blends into the other rooms, creating a furniture-style look and a clear, streamlined and uncluttered space.

Achieve this look by incorporating appliances with the same colours or finishes as the cabinetry, so they effectively become invisible to the eye for a contemporary sleek style. Dishwashers are a common item to integrate although increasingly we are seeing this trend with the largest kitchen appliance, the fridge.

In addition to the benefits of an uninterrupted style theme flowing through this area, these appliances may be easier to clean with a move away from stainless steel. But of course with any customisation comes a price tag, so expect to pay a premium to achieve this designer style. Have a look at this video from E&S Trading for a tour through some integrated fridge ideas. 

Other options in line with the integrated look are:

  • built in wall ovens, steamers and coffee machines
  • side by side ovens
  • concealed rangehoods
  • handleless cabinetry
  • undermounted sink.

Of course, for the ultimate in disappearing clutter and evidence of messy meal preparation, the butler’s pantry comes to the rescue. Simply close the door and pretend it doesn’t exist!


Sorrento on display at Berwick Waters, Clyde North and Vaucluse on display at Somerfield Estate, Keysborough

Storage trends
Keeping with the theme of minimising clutter for clean lines, storage is a must on your kitchen design wish list. Features such as built-in twin bin options, tea towel racks, corner cupboard space savers and pull out storage solutions provide a place for everything off your benchtops. In addition, banks of wide pot drawers, rather than cupboards, create a sleek style with consistent horizontal lines giving a sense of openness and space. Partner these drawers and your cupboards with soft closers to harmonise the hustle and bustle of the kitchen in your living hub.


Hafele integrated twin bin system and corner storage.

Lighting trends
Living with an open plan design can mean creating a kitchen space that is adaptable and flexible to cater for the diverse range of activities it will house. Think the basics like cooking and preparation but also consider kids’ homework, entertaining guests, dining and home management duties. This multi-functional space calls for multi-purpose lighting options, layers with different illumination levels and positions. While downlights are ideal for general duties, pendant lights can be effective in directing light onto a work space to minimise shadowing and provide an opportunity to create a feature centre piece in your kitchen. Check out our Trend Alert – Pendant Lighting blog as well as Josh and Jenna’s Beacon Lighting Collection for some lighting design inspiration. LED strip lighting is the new kid on the block when it comes to kitchen lighting design. Used under overhead cupboards and along kickers, it creates an ambient feel and softer look perfect for relaxing after the busyness of meal time has ended.


 Canterbury on display at Somerfield Estate, Keysborough

Create a feature
A trend for this year is definitely the use of textured finishes throughout the home, and the kitchen doesn’t need to miss out on the action! Textured laminate finishes giving the look of timber veneer but with a more affordable price tag, provide a stylish inclusion for an on-trend kitchen look. Timber look materials and finishes continue to be a popular choice and a great way to balance a neutral kitchen palette.

Another emerging style gaining momentum is the inclusion of a feature finish to the kitchen island bench. Contrasting a feature Caesarstone to the island and a more subtle tone to the rear cooktop surface establishes a design centrepiece in the large open plan space, creating a natural focal and family gathering point.


Matisse on display at Warralily Coast Estate, Armstrong Creek

Top off your new kitchen design with some well-planned accessories to really cement your signature style, consider:

  • black tapware for a strong and sleek design statement
  • coloured co-ordinated small appliances like toasters, kettles, coffee machines
  • elements of nature with indoor plants, flowers and foliage.


Indiana on display at Featherbrook Estate, Point Cook.

To experiment with themes and find your perfect signature interior style make sure you check out our new Inspire by Carlisle.  Be prepared to lose track of your time while you customise your home by choosing paint colours, bench tops, tiles and much more AND see it change in front of your eyes with Visualiser!  Explore the Carlisle Collections to get the low down on feature items for each of our unique display home themes, and build your own Moodboard to create a visual diary of all the ‘must haves’ for your new place.  And, because we promise you, you will be coming back for more, you can save all your favourites in your own Inspiration Book to share with friends and continue to refine, over and over again!

 For a behind the scenes experience and to get the scoop direct from the design team, be sure to follow us on Instagram, @Carlislehomes.

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