We often refer to the kitchen as the heart of the home, and it will continue to be a hub of activity and a gathering place. Indeed, the kitchen of the future will increasingly become more social and multi-functional, as a space for family and friends to spend time together, a place to cook and eat, and as a place to work.
As the kitchen becomes ever more multi-functional and social, it will continue to be open and integrated with living and dining areas, rather than closed off as an independent room.
The popularity of butler’s pantries will depend on available space and the density of housing. We may not see them being commonplace in every household, as you would require a great deal of space, but incorporating an appliance niche for those that don’t have space may be the next best option.
Technological changes will undoubtedly affect kitchen design and use. Australians’ high priorities are faster and more efficient methods of cooking, appliances that save energy, and taps that reduce water consumption. Kitchens are going to need to have the ability to help us live more sustainably, for people to separate their waste and recycling more efficiently, and to reduce food and water waste.
Efficiency and sustainability will be aided by incorporating techniques and appliances normally found in professional kitchens. We already have combi-steam ovens or combination ovens that offer pressure-free steam, convected heat, and a combination of both to cook food in a healthier and more efficient way. Magnetic induction stovetops have become more popular; they cook faster and lose less heat in the process.
We also have tapware that helps to save water with aerators that mix in air and can reduce water consumption by 30 percent. But this is only the beginning, with both trends forecast to become priorities in kitchen design.
As we slowly become a world of scarcity, the kitchen will need to be more efficient in terms of energy, food wastage and water usage. Inroads have been made with water-saving devices, greater standards for electrical devices and increasing awareness among consumers of where our food comes from and where wastage ends up. Achieving greater efficiency will ultimately come down to technological improvements and furthering our awareness of these problems.
Lighting will be important in creating a space for relaxing and supporting our wellbeing. Intelligent lighting will be variable to match the time of day, mood or even type of food being cooked.
Benchtops are one area people are prepared to spend on, and manufacturers have been investing efforts into producing new benchtop materials designed for durability, safety and hygiene.
Ikea, likewise, is developing new products that are more sustainable and less resource-intense. The company recently launched its Kungsbacka range of kitchen doors and drawer fronts, which are made from both recycled wood and plastic from recycled PET bottles.
As the internet becomes crucial to many activities in our lives, it will also play a role in the kitchen. Smart appliances will be internet-connected and manageable from mobile and wearable devices. In the kitchen of the future, we’ll be able to check recipes on the refrigerator door (in fact the Samsung Family Hub already has shopping, recipe and organisational apps on a screen on the front door).
It won’t be just appliances that are smart, but benchtops too. They will have functions and properties that mean you can cook directly on the surface without the need for a specific panel, control appliances and, of course, connect to the internet. Tomorrow’s benchtops will be self-cleaning too.
Australian kitchens are already well on the way, with open-plan and integrated spaces serving as multi-functional hubs that support our leisure, health and wellbeing.