A new kitchen feature has been added to the homeowner’s list of must-haves since we have all stayed home.
And “lightness” has everything to do with it: easy-to-clean kitchens that are just as easy to care for have gained new respect.
Twenty years ago kitchens were beautiful and took a lot of maintenance – think of immaculate marble countertops that were prone to stains and scratches, or stainless steel surfaces that showed every fingerprint.
But new products and materials combine beauty and performance with minimal maintenance. There are five to note here:
1. Quartz countertops. The artificial stone consists of stone chips, pigments and resins that together form a surface that is impermeable to spilled wine, oven-hot dishes and sharp knives – without the need for regular sealing. Quartz also comes in a number of beautiful designs, including engineered stone patterns, so you can get the look of marble (or granite or soapstone or concrete) without any maintenance whatsoever.
2. Black stainless steel. Traditional stainless steel appliances endure because they are the perfect neutral backdrop for so many kitchen designs. The downside is the constant wiping of fingerprints and water stains – and that drives consumer interest in black stainless steel, especially among younger homeowners with busy families.
The material’s matte finish makes it virtually smudge-proof, and its soft, warm sheen works well with a range of kitchen styles, from transitional to mid-century.
3. Porcelain bottom. The preferred natural wood floors are very prone to scratches, dents, and fading. But no porcelain tiles, a durable material that is also moisture-proof – a bonus for kitchen installations.
There is also porcelain in very convincing synthetic wood patterns, from weathered oak to the richest mahogany.
4th Colored cupboards. More and more homeowners are discovering how much elbow fat goes into maintaining the all-white look. As a result, more people are putting paint on their cabinets. The hug slowly started with beige and gray, but we are now seeing deeper blues and greens making their way into the kitchen.
Raised panels and delicate moldings have also been found to trap grease and dirt and are painful to clean. Now homeowners are opting for simple, flat-fronted designs embodied in shaker cabinets, also because they are so easy to wipe clean.
5. Low-maintenance matt surfaces in kitchen fittings, cabinet fittings and lights are also becoming increasingly popular. Smudge-proof brushed nickel is particularly common on faucets.