Here in New Zealand we are very fortunate – not only do we have access to the emerging kitchen design and colour trends from Europe, but we have excellent local designers who are extremely capable of not only interpreting those trends, but who also have the ability to add their very own “New Zealand” touch to their designs.


While a neutral kitchen palette still tends to form the basis for most looks, we are constantly seeing this look revived with spots of colour – be it the very bright hues, from the citrus orange and yellows, the turquoise and vibrant sea blues – to the pastel trends of soft egg-shell blues, sage greens and baby pinks, all of which were apparent at the London Design Week recently.

Accent colours can be added to a neutral kitchen in several ways. You can use colourful accessories and bar stools to feature panels and open shelving, or by having items that can be changed in the future if you tire of the colour, or it doesn’t appeal to a new owner.

“Remember – this is your kitchen, your project – be informed, get some great style and planning advice from trained professionals and you’ll be thrilled with the outcome.”


Sitting comfortably in that neutral palette are a myriad of colours ranging from the whites, through to whitish creams and the soft taupes and certainly we are seeing a lot of soft/fog type greys coming through which, when matched with a concrete look alike benchtop, give a very smart, urbane look.

Some of the whites appearing now have more of a blue hue to them, many with a slight translucent or shiny effect. Hi-gloss board is grabbing attention at the moment if a very “avant-garde” sleek effect is what you are after however, the matt and satin finish boards always remain on trend and will deliver a more enduring look.


Timber is still being seen in many kitchens either as an accent or as a total look. Consider timber accents used as floating shelves, detailed panels or overlaying timber onto a stone or laminate top. Remember – a myriad of materials can be used nowadays within the same space – it’s about getting the right balance in both texture and colour that counts and a skilled designer will be more than happy to guide you through this.

Design trends

More than ever before, the kitchen is now the central core of the household with many containing computer, study, television and Skype areas. In Europe, many are predicting the demise of the traditional dining room in favour of eating in the kitchen area with lower, layered tables emerging from the main bench.

For New Zealanders, the “galley” kitchen – or variations of – is still a favourite for its ease of use which suits our casual relaxed lifestyle. Overall looks range from the glossy and sleek to modern country, retro, industrial and everything in between.

With so much to think about for your new project, it’s essential you get the right advice before you embark. Many joinery and kitchen companies have in-house kitchen designers who work exclusively for that company, while there are also some excellent and highly skilled independent designers in New Zealand.

Many, in both these categories, are members of the National Kitchen and Bathroom Association (NKBA) – a New Zealand wide professional group of designers, manufacturers and suppliers. All members of the NKBA will have their membership certificate displayed in their premises.

So do some ground work, know what you like and what you don’t like, have an idea of your budget and what you’d like to achieve and keep some photographs of any kitchens which instantly appeal to you – even if it’s just one feature.

Remember – this is your kitchen, your project – be informed, get some great style and planning advice from trained professionals and you’ll be thrilled with the outcome.


Article by Trish Frankland, chairperson of the Canterbury Chapter National Kitchen and Bathroom Association

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