The Living History of Influential Kitchen Design Trends
The kitchen is one of the most vital parts of a home, and it has been that way for several centuries now. According to the ArchDaily, early versions of kitchens can be traced back to ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Thanks to several factors, these versions have evolved into our modern kitchens. Below is a look at the top influential kitchen design trends we have today and how they have changed over the years.
The Progression of Kitchen Layouts
Kitchen designs have changed drastically over time. Some top trends in kitchen layouts in the early ages included open hearths (used in ancient civilizations) and dark, smoky, and often small cooking rooms (in medieval times). As cooking became more complex, cooking areas started being designed in separate rooms, but most remained small, inefficient, and dark. However, in some homes, especially Victorian homes in England and Colonial houses in America, kitchens were large spaces and often a hub of activity.
It wasn’t until the 20th century that modern kitchen design came into the picture, thanks partly to technological advancement. Some of the top design trends during this era included the galley kitchen and the L and U-shaped layouts. Small kitchen designs were also popular, especially among working families who lived in small homes or tiny apartments.
Some of history’s most influential kitchen design trends are still used today. According to the 2018 Kitchen Trends Study by Houzz, L and U-shaped layouts are the most popular in today’s kitchens. Other top designs include the Galey, G-shaped, Single wall, and farmhouse kitchens. Additionally, the open layout is trendy, with the Houzz study finding that over 56% of homeowners opted for an open design when renovating.
Essential Cooking Equipment Over Time
Cooking equipment is another area where kitchen design has changed drastically over time. According to the Pettaquamscutt Historical Society, early cooking equipment usually consisted of pots, mostly made of clay and later metal. However, kitchen equipment has evolved significantly due to cooking techniques, industrialization, and technological advancements. However, despite changing times, some essential equipment has survived several centuries.
One of the most influential kitchen design trends is the chimney. The earliest designs of chimneys were small holes in the roof or tubes embedded in the wall, where smoke escaped. Modern chimneys were then invented around the 11th and 12th centuries. And as chimneys became increasingly popular, so did the practice of chimney sweeping, which helped keep the kitchens clean and safe.
Today, many homes still spot a chimney. However, over time, electrical chimney hoods have replaced the traditional brick chimneys that were especially popular from around the 16th century to the 20th century. However, chimney sweeping and cleaning is still as popular as ever for homes with traditional and modern chimneys.
Managing Pests in the Kitchen
According to PestWorld, the kitchen is one of the most popular spots for bugs to hide due to the presence of food, water, and shelter. Unfortunately, this problem is not unique to modern kitchens; pets have been a homeowners’ issue since ancient times. Likewise, there have been several bug control techniques, which have evolved drastically over time.
According to Pennsylvania State University, ancient civilizations such as Sumerians used sulfur to kill pests, while other communities such as Egyptians and Chinese used natural methods (herbs, citrus, and oils). The pest control methods evolved to the use of arsenic, nicotine, bug traps, and chemical pesticides. Some of these techniques, especially chemicals used in the 20th century, were often very toxic.
Today, homeowners control pests by keeping the kitchen clean and adequately sealing and storing food products that attract bugs. In addition, you can hire pest control services to eradicate pests in your kitchen. Professionals offering these services use vacuuming, traps, natural or organic pesticides, and other tactics to kill.
Building Materials for Kitchens
Building materials are another top area where kitchen design trends have evolved significantly. In ancient times, most cooking areas, especially the hearths, used clay (bricks) were made of clay (bricks). Natural stone was another top material, especially for making countertops and shelves. However, the building materials evolved, leading to more functional and luxurious kitchens.
Timber is one of the most influential kitchen design trends of all time, which has been used as a building material in kitchens for several centuries. According to Homedit, wood was used in Victorian-era kitchens for surfaces such as flooring, countertops, and sinks. In addition, it was popular in other kitchen designs, such as early American and French colonial houses.
Today, lumber is still one of the most popular building materials in the kitchen. It’s used for various functions, from floors to walls, cabinets, countertops, and shelves. Besides wood, other popular materials in the kitchen include tiles (ceramic and porcelain), vinyl, metal (steel), marble, granite, quartz, brick, plastic, natural stone, laminate, slate, and cement.
Windows in the Kitchen
Windows are one of the most prominent features of many kitchens, and their use goes back several centuries. Before electricity was used to light homes, windows provided natural light for food preparation and other activities around the house. In the modern kitchen, windows are still used to improve lighting. However, they also serve several different functions, such as ventilation, insulation, and enhancing the aesthetic appeal of a kitchen.
One of the most influential kitchen design trends concerning windows is the window-over-the-sink. It’s a style that goes back several centuries and is still popular today. This is because of the natural light it offers when doing dishes and preparing food. Additionally, it can serve as a backsplash and provide amazing views when doing kitchen work.
Besides the kitchen sink window, several other modern styles dominate the kitchen window design trend. These include sliding, double-hung, picture, casement, and bay windows. Other trendy designs to consider when planning a window installation include large windows (for more lighting) or even ceiling-to-floor windows that offer magnificent views of the outdoors.
The Revolution of Indoor Plumbing
According to the American Council of Energy-Efficient Economy, indoor plumbing arrived in the U.S. in the 1840s, and it wasn’t until the early half of the 20th century that it became more widespread. As a result, homeowners had to fetch water outdoors – from rivers, streams, or storage tanks, and then dump the wastewater outside when done. Therefore, indoor plumbing was a revolutionary technology that made things easier in the kitchen.
One of the most influential kitchen design trends concerning plumbing is the sinks. In the early years, sinks were portable pans, often made from wood or metal. However, this changed with indoor plumbing, as sinks became permanent fixtures mounted directly over the walls. Over time, the sink design evolved and started being integrated into cabinets, surrounded by tiles or other countertop materials.
The materials used to make sinks have also changed over time. Initially, they were made from cast iron and often featured an enamel finish. Later, stainless steel sinks and other materials like porcelain, copper, brass, and nickel popped into the scene. Again, the designs have since evolved, and you can now hire a plumbing company to install sinks made of various materials like natural stone, granite, ceramic, quartz, acrylic resin, etc. However, cast iron and stainless steel are still popular trends.
Advanced Kitchen Plumbing
With the advent of indoor plumbing, most homeowners only installed piped water and a sink. Then, more advanced plumbing fixtures started popping up thanks to technological advancements. These included the water heater, invented in 1889 but became popular in the 1940s, according to Sense Energy Monitor. Besides the water heater, other top fixtures that have transformed the kitchen include the garbage disposal, invented in 1935, and the dishwasher.
Kitchen plumbing technology has evolved drastically thanks to immense technological advancements. Today, one of the most influential kitchen design trends is smart plumbing fixtures. These include smart pipes that can detect leaks and touch or motion-sensitive faucets. Additionally, most kitchens now feature instant tankless heaters instead of the old gas-powered tank water heaters.
The rise of advanced plumbing has also increased the plumbing services that many homeowners require. For example, most homes often need a plumber for leak & faucet repairs, garbage disposal repair, drain cleaning, and grease trap cleaning services. However, technological advancements have also made it easier for plumbers to do their jobs, leading to faster and better plumbing solutions for homeowners.
Kitchen Lighting and Energy
Good lighting is vital in the kitchen; it provides the necessary illumination to work safely. It can also enhance the aesthetic appeal and comfort of your kitchen. As such, it’s another top area where kitchen design trends have evolved drastically over the years.
According to the Science Museum, candles, oil lamps, and gas lamps were used to light homes before the advent of electricity. Then, electricity brought light bulbs, offering a better and more convenient lighting solution. However, in most kitchens over the decades, light fixtures were straightforward — often consisting of a single light bulb and later box lights.
In modern kitchens, lighting has evolved dramatically. For example, one of the most influential kitchen design trends today is multi-functional lighting, with several light fixtures to offer more illumination. Another top trend is using light fixtures as décor items, adding more personality to the kitchen.
Additionally, sustainability is another of the top influential kitchen design trends in most homes today. For example, more and more homeowners are hiring a solar company to install solar energy for lighting their homes and to power their appliances. In addition, energy-efficient light fixtures and appliances are trendy, with many people looking for ways to reduce their energy usage.
The kitchen cannot be complete without the finishings, and this is another top area where design trends have changed over time. For example, according to The Victorian Society, kitchens in the Victorian era were finished by plastering the walls and installing hardwood floors. Other popular finishes in the early ages include concrete and brick walls and concrete floors.
Over time, the finishing materials for the kitchen evolved to include more luxurious and colorful designs. For example, according to the Old House Journal, wallpapers were commonly used to finish kitchen walls in the 20th century. Other influential kitchen designs during this era include pastel paint on walls and cabinets, linoleum, and hardwood flooring.
Many modern kitchens often feature paint finishing, with colors like white, black, grey, blue, and earth tones being trendy. Other top finishing for the walls includes ceramic tiles, natural stone panels, wood, vinyl planks, plywood panels, etc. As for the floors, hardwood and tiles are a classic and timeless option. However, modern flooring materials such as luxury vinyl plank, laminate, and PVC are becoming increasingly popular.
Appliances and the Modern Kitchen
Appliances are another vital aspect of kitchens today, and they have also evolved drastically over the years. However, according to ThoughtCo, most appliances started making their way into the kitchen around the early 19th century, after the advent of electricity. Before that, most people used manual tools or the help of domestic workers when preparing food.
Some of the top appliances that have dominated the kitchens from the 20th century include microwaves, ovens, refrigerators, garbage disposals, and dishwashers. Others included smaller appliances like coffee makers, blenders, food processors, electric kettles, electric mixers, pressure cookers, toasters, etc.
Most of these 20th-century appliances are still present in the modern kitchen. However, they’ve evolved to become more efficient in their operation. In addition, most modern kitchen appliances come with an energy-saving design, which helps homeowners to lower their energy bills. Another of the top influential kitchen design trends in modern times is smart appliances, which can be programmed or controlled via smartphones and digital home assistants.
Another top development in the modern kitchen has to do with appliance repairs. Due to the several types of kitchen appliances in the market, you can find authorized repair shops and technicians that cater to specific brands. A top example includes the Viking appliance repair centers catering to the Viking appliances brand.
Are you wondering about how the modern kitchen came to be? The above are the top influential kitchen design trends in today’s kitchen and how they have evolved. Some of these trends were used several decades ago and are still popular today, having stood the test of time.