spanish flag

german flg

italian flag

french flag



A darker shade of pale

29 Jan 2013

Grahame Morrison


As those of you who tap into the kbbForum from time to time may be aware, there is something of a debate, occasionally heated, going on about whether kitchen (or bathroom) design is a self-contained discipline or part of the broader church of interior design.

While that debate will in all probability run and run, what is becoming clearer all the time is the growing association between the design of furniture throughout the home, and it is easy to see why.

Gone are the days when the kitchen was a room in splendid isolation from the rest of the home. A high percentage of the property being built today has one living space that includes living, dining and kitchen areas. On the continent, where a higher proportion of people live in apartments, they are ahead of the game compared with the UK. Quality German-made appliances for example, run quietly so that the dishwasher going into its main wash programme doesn’t drown out the after supper banter.


Skovby brings together wanut and white gloss to make a striking contrast

But as my recent visit to INTERIORS UK confirmed, the design of kitchen furniture is a major influence on the design and features of living and dining room furniture. Soft-close drawers and doors, once an exclusive feature of upscale kitchens, is now to be found on living and dining room furniture across a wide range of price points.

One of the strongest trends to emerge from the influential Living Kitchen show in Cologne the week before INTERIORS UK was the demise of the screw-on handle, with door or drawer frontal including a pull designed into an edge of the unit. This was a feature found throughout the contemporary furniture area (Hall 2) at INTERIORS UK. In fact, you would have been hard-pressed to find a ‘proper’ handle on any stand there!


Aleal shows how well white gloss finishes can work outside of the kitchen

In terms of kitchen furniture, high gloss white lacquer is still one of the most popular finishes and having started out as an exclusive feature on high end ranges is now very much part of the mainstream. It is a finish that is finding its way into living room furniture where it will complement many modern kitchens.


Cutouts replace handles on this bedroom range from Ercol

However, where living and dining room furniture is leading the way is with the use of walnut finishes that make a striking contrast when used with white high gloss furniture. Not the burnished walnut of old that would warm the cockles of the heart of Thomas Chippendale and his ilk, but contemporary styles that pointing the way to a renaissance of minimal Scandinavian design.

Walnut, or rather walnut effects, did surface at Living Kitchen 2013, mostly as contrast pieces in pale wood or gloss kitchens and furniture designer Mark Wilkinson has used walnut recently as well, but in an English classical style that is his signature.

INTERIORS UK suggests that a very modern future lies ahead for this wood, and as many of the exhibitors demonstrated, it will be increasingly used throughout the home.

More Blogs

Opening Times for 2015

Sun 17 May 09:00 - 18:00           
Mon 18 May 09:00 - 20:00
Tues 19 May 09:00 -17:00

May Design Series 2015
will take place at ExCeL,

Contact the team

For general enquiries, please email or to get in touch with a team member view our full contact list

Organised by