Back in the nineties wooden kitchens were all the rage – with black granite-topped maple and beech riding high on the list of favourites. As fashions changed, more exotic, darker woods, including elegant walnut and the fabulously grained Zebrano appeared as the advent of quality kitchens veneers meant that striking bookmatched finishes were employed to add drama. Then colourful painted finishes took over and the wooden kitchen found itself on the back burner for a while.
But in the spirit of what goes around comes around, it was always bound to make a re-appearance and while our passion for all-wood designs might have waned for the time being, there are ever more inventive ways to incorporate timber into a kitchen design. Using wood tones is a fabulous way to warm up clinical white and add interest to painted schemes. Here are our favourite ways to add wood accents:
Show Off: Accessorise a plain white-painted scheme with beautiful wooden features such as pull-out trays, open wine stores, inset drawers and dish racks. Oak is a good choice as it’s a versatile timber with a mellow hue that suits most schemes and ages well.
Top it: While granite and quartz composite seem to be the worksurfaces of choice mainly for their durability and colour options, a wooden worktop will help to give warmth to a modern scheme and create a real country-kitchen feel in a more traditional kitchen. While it’s not as durable as stone in high-traffic areas, such as by ovens and sinks, careful and regular treating and the addition of metal trivets will keep it looking good for longer. If you’re worried about marking, then use a timber worktop as a feature in areas where it’s less likely to be splashed or marked by hot pans. An island is a great place to show off wood – oak is a perennial favourite but why not try a hardwearing iroko or walnut for a richer, darker appearance.
Inside Story: Dressing up cupboard interiors is an effective way to add timber without it becoming too overbearing. Painted larders look beautiful with wooden spice racks on the doors, timber shelving for baking ingredients and neat drawers for anything from dried goods to cutlery.
Mix It Up: Larger schemes can really benefit from mixing and matching colours and materials to add interest and to create zones. Consider a 50/50 split with timber wall cupboards and painted base cupboards, or adding a chic timber panel to back an island. If you’re feeling a bit bolder then consider incorporating a large bank of oak cupboards to house appliances. Of course, when mixing materials it’s as well to keep the cabinet look the same so there’s a level of continuity in the room, for instance Shaker or flat-fronted cabinets throughout in a variety of finishes.
Echo fabulous features: A room with beautiful beams, original floorboards or an exposed timber vaulted ceiling can really benefit from elements of timber that complement its architectural features. While a kitchen entirely in oak or walnut could be wood overload if the room is on the smaller side, a beautiful bank holding modern appliances works well when countered by painted cupboards elsewhere.
Looking for some more inspiration? Our showrooms are full of inspiring examples of our furniture and our designers are on-hand to offer helpful advice for your project!