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Kitchen Design Ideas: Combine Functionality and Style

The kitchen is the heart of every Australian home. From family meals to dinners with friends, the kitchen is a social hub, a room that encompasses relaxation as well as the art of cooking.

So that you can create a space that is attractive, welcoming and friendly, as well as providing all the functionality you need, we’ve gathered insights and advice on what’s trending with help and advice from seven of Australia's leading kitchen designers.

Unique Design Kitchens and Bathrooms

Who they are: As the name suggests, Unique Design Kitchens and Bathrooms offer a complete bespoke home design service, working closely with clients to create rooms that fulfil every need and preference.

The skilled team of interior designers have been operating from their showroom in Brisbane for over 10 years. They take care of your project from start to finish, installing all elements of your kitchen and coordinating tradespeople to ensure everything works to the highest standards.

What's hot in the kitchen: There are two main styles dominating the kitchen market right now, according to Unique Design Kitchens and Bathrooms; the sleek modern look and the traditional Shaker-style ‘Hamptons’ look.

With great weather year round in Australia, some people are also currently opting for complete outdoor kitchens. Marble-look benchtops are hugely popular to achieve the desired look, with LED strip lighting for accentuation.

Get the look: For a sleek modern look, the team recommends going handle-less; this look is rapidly rising in popularity. Follow Europe’s trend in using top-of-the-range soft-close drawers and hinges; not only will it look sleek, but you also won’t have to worry about slamming drawers.

For a marble-look bench top, Quartz stone is the best choice. Unique Design Kitchens and Bathrooms stocks a wide variety, including Silestone, Caesarstone, Smartstone and Quantum Quartz.

Meredith Lee Interior Design

Who they are: Meredith Lee believes interior design should reflect your personality, which is why she offers a bespoke service to create the perfect kitchen for you. Based in Melbourne, she has extensive experience in designing kitchens for the residential, retail and small-scale commercial sectors.

What's hot in the kitchen: According to Meredith Lee, the contemporary look is especially popular right now with all mod cons essential.

‘Kitchens are the centre of the home these days, so they need to be beautiful as well as functional,says Meredith.

As the kitchen is the centre of the home, there needs be somewhere for everyone to gather, such as a wide bench with plenty of stools. To make the space liveable, storage space is also a must, as is effective lighting.

Get the look: Meredith always like to incorporate plenty of drawers and pantry space so your kitchen can fulfil its main function. But the aesthetics are important too.

For a contemporary, natural look, she recommends a mixture of timber and natural stone, with task, ambient and accent lighting for a beautiful, highly functional kitchen.

Kitchen Craftsmen

Who they are: Based in Perth, Kitchen Craftsmen have transformed thousands of kitchens with their bespoke designs, taking care of the whole process from initial concept right through to installation. They are a family owned and run business, who take ‘pride in ensuring your journey with us is as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.’

What's hot in the kitchen: According to the Kitchen Craftsmen, one of the hottest trends for modern kitchens is the urban industrial style. The appeal lies in edgy statement pieces with a free-flowing simplicity.

Think engineered stone benchtops, concrete textures and minimalist, fully integrated appliances. Commercial-style tapware is hugely popular, which tends to incorporate user-friendly features like pull-out hoses, making cleaning the sink area a breeze.

Get the look: For an urban industrial kitchen, the Kitchen Craftsmen recommend utilising dark statement colours, grain wood for texture and black accents. Open shelving increases functionality, while signature light fittings create ambiance for a space that’s great for gathering with friends and family while you cook.

Blue Tea

Who they are: Operating from their studios in both Sydney and Brisbane, Blue Tea has a simple ethos: create beautiful, affordable, personalised kitchens to suit your lifestyle. No detail is too small for the design team who will oversee your entire project from start to finish. Senior designers Marianne and Judy have won awards for their designs.

What's hot in the kitchen: ‘Our current favourite kitchen styling is Scandinavian inspired,’ say the design duo.

This minimalist and uncluttered space is an ideal social space that inspires a calm mood. Attention is on texture rather than colour, and often does not use wall cabinets, which opens up the available space.

Get the look: Use monochrome colour schemes to create this look, such as white cabinetry with black appliances and tapware. Team with Scandinavian-style, simply designed timber furniture, and accessories with pendant lighting, plants and perhaps a sheepskin throw.

Harrison Kitchens and Cabinets

Who they are: Harrison Kitchens and Cabinets are a family owned and run kitchen manufacturer based in Adelaide. Leveraging many years of experience in cabinet making and design, they understand the importance of getting to know what you need from your space.

Their custom-made, high-quality fixtures are designed to not only look amazing but also endure the rigours of life.

What's hot in the kitchen: Harrison Kitchens love to take on all sorts of innovative designs, but they say that the classic contemporary look never goes out of fashion. It celebrates the history of your home while incorporating all the conveniences essential for modern living.

An open-plan layout increases versatility and sociability, with seating arranged around an island bench or lower table.

Get the Look: Acrylic or Quartz benchtops are popular for this look, combined with timber cabinets and stainless steel appliances. Neutral colour schemes often feature in this style of kitchen. ‘Accessories are the best way to add in your personal flair,’ say the kitchen makers.

Stools, especially Bentwood style, are a great contemporary alternative to chairs, and colour trends can easily be incorporated by adding cushions.

Paradise Kitchens

Who they are: Based in Sydney, Paradise Kitchens are a family owned business with over 30 years' experience of kitchen design and renovation.

They oversee the whole project from start to finish, including manufacturing the cabinetry from Australian-made raw materials. If you want to get involved, they also have a great range of DIY products and options available.

What's hot in the kitchen: The modern look is Paradise Kitchens’ favourite style for creating an inviting social hub in your home. This features frameless cabinets, with wall cabinetry usually extending right up to the ceiling for a streamlined appearance.

Handles are usually chrome or stainless steel, although gold, brass or copper can also be used for a warmer look. Clever storage solutions are incorporated to facilitate decluttering.

Get the look: The design experts at Paradise Kitchens recommend keeping accessories to a minimum here, with aesthetic emphasis being placed on the materials used instead. An open-plan layout with island units helps to make the most of the available space.

Sleek, clean countertops are a must, usually in marble, but increasingly seen in stainless steel, glass, concrete or wood. Under-cabinet lighting adds ambiance, with stone- or timber-effect vinyl floor tiles completing the look.

Imperial Kitchens

Who they are: Imperial Kitchens is a family-owned business that has operated for twenty years, successfully undertaking more than 25,000 new kitchens and kitchen remodelling projects.

Following an initial consultation, the design team at Imperial Kitchen will discuss finishes and colours before sending through a 3D drawing of the final look, so you know exactly how the finished product will look before construction commences.

What's hot in the kitchen: Contemporary kitchens are favoured by the majority of our clients, say Imperial Kitchens. U-shaped or galley kitchens maximise space, particularly in smaller homes, maintaining an open-plan design.

This look utilises sleek, modern lines, often incorporating integrated appliances and light-coloured stone benchtops.

Get the look: They recommend bright lighting to make the kitchen a more practical space, you still need to see what you’re chopping after all! A combination of LED ceiling lights and under-bench neon lighting offers white light that is especially useful in kitchens.

Accessories on open shelves and benches add a splash of colour, which can be changed with the season. Think about investing in beautiful coloured crockery to display.

No matter what your personal style, follow these tips from the experts to create a functional, beautiful kitchen that will be the heart of your home for many years to come.