However, with more new homes, or indeed renovations, incorporating open-plan kitchen, dining and living spaces, not only do surfaces need to be hardwearing but also design-conscious and able to help visually blend the different zones. The ever-growing rise and reach of social media in addition to traditional channels such as interior magazines and TV shows have made today’s homeowners more design-conscious than ever. The challenge for designers within high-end residential developments continues to be demonstrating an understanding of trends whilst still delivering timeless, neutral spaces to attract a wide range of buyers.
Whites and greys continue to dominate in terms of popularity for kitchen colour palettes, and this is reflected in the surfaces chosen. Crisp white quartz worktops deliver a premium, quality feel whilst letting accessories, textiles and on-trend brassware do the talking. In high-end developments, we are seeing a steady trend for striking marble-look kitchen islands, which offer the luxe look of natural stone with added practical benefits for the homeowner. The incorporation of a drop edge, giving a monolithic look to the island, is another bold and luxurious statement favoured by high-end, one-off projects. We don’t anticipate the demand for surfaces within these neutral colour palettes to change in the near future, as developers are seeking classic choices that will stand the test of time, offering a contemporary blank canvas for potential buyers to work from.
In terms of thicknesses, 20mm continues to be a popular choice for kitchen worktops, delivering a solid, premium feel. Additionally, a 20mm thickness ensures the slabs are lighter and easier to get up to different floors – a key consideration in today’s high-rise residential developments. In premium, one-off developments, we are seeing the trend for designers specifying large-scale single-slab splashbacks to add a wow-factor design statement, whilst matching upstands continue to be a popular choice in the majority of high-quality residential new builds. Upstands can help to add a bespoke finishing touch to a kitchen, appealing to detail-conscious homeowners.
We recently published our second Global Kitchens study, a research project undertaken by our insights platform, The Silestone Institute, which confirmed that modern attitudes towards kitchen usage in the UK are driving demand for hardwearing, versatile surfaces in residential homes. The study, titled ‘The Domestic Kitchen in the Globalisation Era’ looked into the function of the kitchen around the world, involving undertaking surveys in eight different countries. The results showed that more and more UK homeowners see the kitchen as a truly multi-functional space at the heart of the home, with 34% of UK participants stating they use the kitchen for activities other than cooking and eating, above the global average of 17.4%.
Therefore, in addition to style points, potential homeowners in the premium market expect quality fixtures and fittings from names they can recognise and rely on, providing peace of mind and easy maintenance that reflects their busy lifestyles. Longevity of products continues to be key – developers and designers are looking for surfacing products that will withstand years of use, and want the peace of mind that comes with branded products that offers warranties.
In high-end residential developments, a portfolio of recognised and coveted brands is a must. This can provide a strong pull to viewers and prospective buyers, with a growing trend for homeowners demanding greater choice when it comes to fixtures and fittings. As such, show homes in these premium developments must demonstrate a considered approach to the interiors and more than ever, showcase a lifestyle, not just a home, to be desired. Surfaces can play a vital role in the delivery of this, adding a quiet touch of quality and demonstrating high standards to discerning potential buyers.