WORKTOP TRENDS FOR 2016

Ruby Kiernan from leading laminate worktop manufacturer Wilsonart:

As the most functional element of the kitchen, the work surface also offers the greatest flexibility and freedom in design. With recent advancements in technology, both practical and aesthetic choices for the kitchen designer have never been more exciting than they are now.

Colours

When it comes to overall colour schemes for kitchens, neutrals and shades of grey/white continue strongly, with work surfaces blending tonally or contrasting with these griege themes. Vibrant colours are making cameo appearances too – but used sparingly to add accent impact or highlights with the likes of open shelving which can be tailored from surfacing material. The key colour trends this year are hues of blue and blush and of course metallic like copper and rose gold already appearing in splash-backs and worktops.

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Shapes

Having seen work surfaces get chunkier and chunkier over recent years from 28mm to 40mm to 50mm, super-slim is now the hottest trend. This must-have new look is being used throughout whole kitchen designs or together with thicker tops for a striking contrast effect.

Wilsonart’s new ultra-thin Zenith range is perfect for this.  Launching early 2016, Zenith is a cutting edge work surface choice that’s just 12.5mm thick, double-sided and 100% waterproof – offering limitless applications. The trend for uninterrupted flows of surfacing material from the horizontal into the vertical will continue through 2016. The seamless, ‘one-piece’ look works well from work surface to upstands and splash backs and to cabinet ends and breakfast bar waterfall sides.

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Textures

A combination of raw, rustic and engineered finishes is continuing to emerge as favourites depending on the kitchen design. Advances in laminate decor production technology have enabled precision engineered surface images and textures to reach new levels of realism. Replicated surface textures of wood and stone are so convincing they have to be felt to be believed. With this comes innovation in performance too, with the introduction of scratch and scuff-resistant premium laminates and anti-bacterial surfaces.

Materials

Real wood and solid stone will always be high on the kitchen designer’s wish list for work surfaces from an aesthetics point of view but neither are practical or cost-effective for every kitchen design.

The great news is that it’s getting easier and cheaper to achieve the same look with alternative materials such as Wilsonart’s Earthstone and Gemstone. This year we expect to see a growth in the specification of multiple surface materials within a kitchen design – helped by the trend to mix surface thicknesses.