To celebrate the New Year, we have an article from the team over at SimplyPlastics on kitchen trends for 2016. Enjoy!
It’s time to put green issues at the heart of your home in 2016. Kitchens are going green for 2016, as designers and architects come together to design beautiful, functional and environmentally friendly kitchens. From savvy appliances and outdoorsy kitchens to recyclable materials and energy-efficient lighting, kitchens just got smarter.
A kitchen flooded with light (and LED)
Having a kitchen that utilises natural light to the best of its ability is a great way to save energy. Pull back the curtains and let the light in, and don’t always reach for the switch when you enter the room. In 2016 your kitchen will be a haven with light walls, offset with gorgeously green fresh herbs growing on the windowsill. Natural light will lend your kitchen a warm and friendly feel. When you do need lights, switch to energy efficient LED lightbulbs to make your lights more environmentally friendly and cost-effective. Translucent materials such as these acrylic tubes can help to transport and reflect light around the room and give it that minimalist feel.
Recycling is sexy…and stylish
Ensure that your kitchen is optimised for recycling and proper waste sorting by having enough space for different bins. Whether you choose to tuck them away under the sink, or be loud and proud with your bins, there are many great ways to do your bit for the environment. Stop seeing recycling bins as merely functional plastic boxes and unleash your creativity. Upcycle an old laundry basket or use chic enamel pails for your recycling and compost.
Sustainable materials that are beautiful & trendy
There are many sustainable materials to choose from for your kitchen surfaces. Hardwood tops and drawers with dovetail joints are beautiful, bespoke and incredibly durable. Just make sure you are clued up on the origins and that you’re buying certified timber. Cheaper, sustainable plywood has also been tipped as a big kitchen trend for 2016 and it’s a great eco- (and purse) friendly choice. With some clever finishing touches (using eco-friendly lacquer and paints of course) plywood can look incredibly chic and elegant.
Though marble and stone tops may look nice, if they are coming from far away then they have accumulated a lot of costly air-miles on the way. We recommend sticking to local materials in your kitchen, and with so many gorgeous materials on your doorstep, you won’t have to compromise on style. If you want a high-shine surface with a sheen, what about polished concrete or recycled glass? There are loads of sustainable choices out there.
Do you know your kitchen appliances?
It is worth investing in ethical and durable appliances, and though no appliance is 100% green, some are definitely better than others. Here are some facts about common kitchen appliances that may surprise you:
Fridges and freezers: These are your energy guzzlers: fridges account for 17% of UK domestic energy consumption. Coolants used in fridges and freezers are an unpleasant cocktail of dangerous chemicals, and you should never dispose of an old fridge without following local council guidelines. Small wine or drinks freezers are a waste of energy and are to be avoided; as are water and icemakers- just make your ice the traditional way and keep a glass jug of water in the fridge. In terms of energy, if you really need more space then have one bigger fridge, not two. In general, newer fridge-freezer models are safer and more energy-efficient than older ones.
Eco kettle: Brits drink a staggering 229 million cups of tea and coffee every day- so our kettles have to work hard to keep up. The main issue is that people overfill their kettles and needlessly boil water, leading to a huge amount of wasted energy. New eco kettles can help you estimate how much water you really need and waste less. You can also get a hot water tap, which could save you a lot of money and energy in the long run.
Induction cookers: Induction hobs are very energy efficient. Induction technology means that only the cooking vessel is heated, cutting out the wasteful heating up of other surfaces. Definitely invest in induction technology in 2016 if you have the chance.
Ovens and microwaves: Gas hobs are more energy efficient than electric hobs, but they do release harmful chemicals and should always be well ventilated. Energy wise, you are actually better off using the microwave for small heating up tasks, saving the oven for larger meals or baking.
Dishwashers: Surprisingly, new dishwashers with their shorter eco-cycles are less wasteful than washing up by hand.
Appliance care 101
How you operate an appliance can be just as important as the type of appliance you own. A few things: don’t leave things running or unnecessarily plugged in and clean out your appliances to increase their lifetime. Often a cup of water mixed with lemon juice, baking soda and a dash of vinegar is all you need to dissolve dirt and lime scale away (and no nasty chemicals needed!)
Houseplants are hot
Big, bold and beautiful house plants are all the rage for 2016- whether hanging down or glinting in their trays- these green plants will make your kitchen literally breathe better. Incorporate some useful herbs trays into your kitchen design to take your cooking to the next level.
My kitchen extension is my garden
In 2016 your garden will increasingly become an extension of your kitchen, and we are not just talking about planting the odd sprig of mint. Eating seasonal is great for the environment, so what could be better than investing in a greenhouse and having a go at growing your own veg? Invest in a greenhouse made of durable materials to start living your very own ‘simple life’.
Though the kitchen does call for ready-made appliances, there’s no reason why upcycling can’t also work in this part of the house. Have a look around and open your eyes to the possibilities of your kitchen space. Whether it’s old furniture from around the house, or stuff you salvaged at a local junk sale- give things a new lease of life in your kitchen. A metal shelf from the garage could be perfect for your pots or pans, a set of drawers could be re-purposed into a kitchen island, or maybe broken tiles could be seamlessly incorporated into a rustic splash-back?
What green touches do you plan to bring to your kitchen in 2016? Tell us in the comments below.