So, in 2020 South Africa is it better to renovate than relocate? Here are some key design directions the FOCUS feature will discuss:

At the Core

An established global design trend is that the lifestyle of modern homeowners, and the 2020 family dynamic, has established the kitchen firmly at the heart of the home. Interior architects favour a fluid sequence of spaces emanating from this central point in an open floor plan. This will ideally include an aesthetically appealing and well-planned kitchen, stylish dining and a comfortable living area for multidimensional activities.  All as an intelligent configuration.

Such a format requires the décor to be unburdened from unnecessary design elements, rather offering functional, appealing yet minimalist applications. So, designers and suppliers aim for agile, movable and tidy furniture elements to equip this core of the home, without making it too dominant within its surrounding. The principle ‘hide-it-if-you-can’ becomes evident.

Palette & Tonalities

Pastel greens, from blue-green and teal to grey-green are evident in this season’s kitchen palette, and in the US and Europe green cabinetry is trending. This can be balanced and spiced up with metallic accents, also on-trend, plus tinted glass and creamy latte detailing. These plant nuances – darker hues such as moss green, sage and hunter green – introduce visual freshness. All are being used very effectively.

Dark blue interacts well with green tones, but is also a stand-alone choice; navy offering a more intense presence. It combines harmoniously with many other shades, especially greys. As does black and white in graphic juxtaposition with stylish wooden accents; black is also being seen as a discreet metal frame and appliance accent.

Engineered stone surfaces replicating natural stone, granite and marble remain popular. Combined with wood and laminate in a monochrome colour selection, they evoke a clean and stylish emanation.  2020 may illustrate a more modern-classic look with muted and matt surfaces and darker worktops, such as veined granite and marble to provide dramatic layering and slight differences in hues. This to create a ‘dark sophistication’; especially when paired up with clean, modern profiles.

Today’s designers seem unafraid to experiment with these moody, dramatic darker tones in the kitchen, in particular when paired with organic materials. Embracing such a colour palette can include black accents, contrasting rich coffee browns and darker natural woods accented with shades of grey, taupe or biscuit beige. The result? A trendy yet warm and welcoming kitchen ambiance.

Tactile Textures

Lighter, earthy tonalities are also up there as a notable trend in kitchen design. Variations from mushroom to pale terracotta and soft beige are colour choices that combine effortlessly with wooden accents and metal fixtures. Metals – not only as accents, and cladding for lamps, appliances and fittings but as a constructive part of kitchen furnishings – are being seen in new season kitchen design projects. These vary from industrial aesthetics to the warm rusticity of weathered and worn-looking metal structures.

Using suspended metal frames as shelves, or internally in illuminated glass cabinets, today’s designers give visual spaciousness to the top row of kitchen cabinets. It’s a creative alternative to the classic arrangement of lower and upper kitchen cabinetry. Vive la difference!


Wetland Wish List

As with any other interior space, bathrooms are sensitive towards fashion and design trends, yet investment in their redecoration can be substantial. Reconstruction of this space can be a 15 – 20 years cycle and requires a thorough update and research in its approach. In 2020, there’s plenty of variety insofar as minimalist bathroom design for smaller urban dwellings; or for larger homes with bathtub, spa bath and walk in shower.

Ideally, the concept of bathroom design is linked to the design signature of the entire living space i.e. the full visual identity. Happily, renowned names in international design continue their R&D of bathroom collections, inventing, developing and collaborating with manufacturers in the creation of a wide variety of hardware and bathroom appliances. Trends in bathroom design are robust and are influenced by global developments, as are other aspects of interior design and architecture.

An increase in the introduction of technology has spawned new materials and directions for the creation of innovative and expressive bathroom decor. Simplified shapes and more use of natural wood as a material can evoke a serene emanation for the open bathroom concept; surely a prerequisite.

Integrated with the balance of the home, and no longer hidden in the darkest corner, means that modern bathroom design can benefit from a multiplicity of creative solutions.

Take a Tub

As a freestanding ornament, the bathtub is no longer only a functional element. It continues to make a statement on the international design scene and its creative forms vary from traditionally inspired to imaginatively modern. The textures, materials, and expressions of this bathroom icon are rich and diverse because it remains an integral piece of modern bathroom design that invites aesthetic pleasure.

Tub-wise, there are strong design tendencies, which have led to a significant diversity of models. Apart from classic white, tubs can be textural, of light or dark shade and even two-tone finishes; and in a variety of organic, sculpted or rectangular shapes.

In the past decade designers have embraced the integration of the bathroom into the bedroom space; en suite quite literally. This unification, without visual borders, can result in a private oasis for relaxation, health, and pleasure. An artistic bathtub creates a strong visual accent in such an individual premise.

Mood & Colour

With the bathroom colour palette ideally in synch to some extent with the rest of the homes’ decor, it can become an essential component of the whole. So what’s trending tile and texture-wise when it comes to its design?

The cement look is still popular and for textural expression, there’s a full versatility of sizes and shapes: hexagons, mosaics and herringbone patterns to provide a dynamic signature for bathroom décor in trendy grey hues. Another could be matt or gloss black applied in classic designs or innovative combinations to create an expressive individual statement.

The graphic patterns and 3D expressions for tiles are becoming lighter, with contours kept delicate and in the same tones as the main tile body. There’s also a visible play of shapes, prints and geometric forms and options between matt and gloss surfaces.  Colour-wise, denim blue and ever-popular earth tones are popular in these new collections.

Kitchens & Bathrooms FOCUS will appear in Habitat March / April 2020 – issue No. 276


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