Kitchen innovations are something that anyone creating a new kitchen from scratch or updating an existing room is likely to be interested in to ensure their new space is kitted out with the very latest technology.
While the process of designing a kitchen is largely based around layouts and units, making sure that you are aware of the latest new products and developments is key to creating a kitchen that meets all your everyday requirements, will boost the value of your home and, with any luck, won't require updating any time in the near future.
Here, we take a look at some of the latest innovations to be launched and explain what to be on the lookout for if you want life in your kitchen to run a little smoother.
Are kitchen innovations worth investing in?
Before getting too swept up in the enticing world of high-tech appliances and super stylish gadgets, it is really important to take some time to pinpoint what it is exactly that your individual household needs from a kitchen.
When developing your modern kitchen ideas have a think about your lifestyle and the kinds of activities (other than preparing and cooking food) that will be taking place in your kitchen — you should also think about your regular cooking and eating habits, as well as your storage needs.
If you rarely cook from scratch, for example, then an oven or cooker packed with the hottest technology on the block could well be a waste of money, while those who work from home and are rarely away might find appliances that can be operated via an app are rarely used.
1. Invisible extraction
Cooker hoods can be a tricky thing to get right in kitchens of all styles. Modern designs can sometimes jar with classic styles of kitchen, while chunky models or those that match the cooker can look a little out-of-place in contemporary settings.
Step forward the invisible cooker hood. Whether you decide to opt for a downdraught model or one that is integrated seamlessly into the ceiling directly above your home, the options for those wanting to keep their extraction method hidden away are really opening up.
This clear glass downdraught hood from Neff is not only near-invisible, even when in use, but also comes with a host of other handy features, including 25 million colour illumination options, and an easy-access filter.
2. Customisable appliances
Bespoke kitchens are nothing new and it often seems that pretty much everything can be made-to-order these days. However, the concept of bespoke kitchen appliances is relatively new to the scene.
Liebherr have come up with a brilliant way to ensure your fridge freezer offers exactly what you need. Their MyStyle Fridge allows you to choose any colour or pattern your heart desires, while you also get to configure the interior of the appliance, from the amount and positioning of storage to any special features such as the EasyTwist-Ice.
3. Next level wine storage
Wine coolers are relatively new fixtures in domestic kitchens, but their popularity is definitely on the rise.
Gone are the days when you used your regular fridge to store your wine, these days more and more people want additional control over how they store their wine at the perfect temperature.
Liebherr's multi-temperature wine cabinets feature several independently controlled wine safes that are capable of storing red wine, white wine and champagne all at their optimal temperature.
4. Extraction units with storage
Appliances that fulfil more than one function are on the rise, saving space and cutting down on clutter — and the best kitchen extractor fans are getting in on the act.
The Shelf from Falmec is a clever combination of appliance plus unit, which incorporates an extractor and a handy shelf above. While at first glance all you see is a smart black shelf, take a closer look and you will notice that the Shelf incorporates a very thin suction element. At only 10cm deep, this slimline model can be extended by adding modules measuring 60 and 90 cm wide to customise and enhance the overall design. Made of black-painted steel with a black satin aluminium profile, the underside of the Shelf offers an integrated LED strip with dynamic light and the front panel can be matched to adjacent units for total design harmony in the kitchen.
5. Taps that do it all
While boiling water taps have been around for some time now, the very latest models offer all kinds of additional functions designed to make life run just a little smoother.
Quooker's new CUBE is designed to be fitted under the sink in the kitchen unit, next to the Quooker tank. It includes one or two filters that make the water as pure as the bottled water you buy in the shop. The CUBE is connected to a CO2 cylinder that can provide 60 litres of sparkling water. In addition, you can get boiling water at the touch of a button too.
6. Cooker hoods that improve air quality
Another innovation in the world of cooker hoods and kitchen extraction. While all types of cooker hood should aim to suck away odours and steam, the latest models come with additional benefits that could even improve homeowners' wellbeing.
"Wellbeing-led design in the home is gaining popularity and indoor air quality is becoming ever more important to consumers," explains Jo Sargent, sales and marketing director at Franke UK. "There’s increasing awareness and concern about pollutants, allergens, and harmful chemicals such as VOCs found in household products such as paints and adhesives that is fuelling a desire for cleaner indoor air.
“The cooker hoods market is evolving to meet this demand and there are new models available that come with advanced filters and air purification technology that keeps air in the home cleaner and more comfortable," continues Jo. "Within the Franke range we offer several models with technology built-in to ensure the air in the home is clean and free of pollutants, allergens and VOCs, while at the same time offering high performance, energy efficient extraction.”
Franke’s Mythos Vertical Air Hub incorporates a high-performance extractor with a state-of-the-art air sanitisation system. As well as eliminating vapours and cooking odours, it utilises completely unique technology in the hoods market to abate up to 99.99% of bacteria and viruses through a separate air stream and two dedicated UV-C lamps, providing clean, hygienic and odourless air in the home.
7. Appliances that communicate with each other
Appliances that can be controlled via apps on mobile devices might have been around for some time now, but how about appliances that can actually communicate with each other?
Miele's new KM 7897-2 Diamond Induction Hob, not only features its latest DiamondFinish coating innovation, which makes ceramic glass twice as hard as its conventional counterparts to reduce scratches from cooking grit and debris by 95% and abrasive sponges by 70%, but it also comes with other benefits.
By using the Con@ctivity function, the hob can actually be paired with a Miele cooker hood for automatic and efficient extraction — basically, the cooker hood detects when it is required and what kind of suction power is needed based on hob activity.
And, finally, a special printing underneath the ceramic glass prevents the pans from being too noisy when moved.
8. Cookers with built-in airfryers
You'd really have to not have been paying attention if you missed out on the huge surge in popularity of the air fryer in recent years — hands up how many people took the plunge and purchased one.
However, while their benefits are undeniable, for many people struggling with crowded worktops or gadget cupboards already bursting at the seams, the addition of an air fryer meant adding to the problem.
Thankfully, it is now possible to buy types of cookers and ovens with integrated air fryers. As from February 2024 you will be able to get your hands on Miele's Ovens with AirFryer Function. Unlike standalone air fryers which have limited capacity, Miele's ovens offer more space and versatility. The AirFry mode combines Fan Plus and Top Heat for perfectly crispy results, making favourites like chicken nuggets, fish fingers, and spring rolls a breeze to prepare. The perforated Gourmet baking and AirFry tray ensures even browning, and it's ideal for baking crispy bread, pizza and more. Cleaning is also easy thanks to Miele's patented PerfectClean finish.
9. Kitchen islands on legs
Perhaps more of a kitchen trend as opposed to a technological innovation, kitchen islands have not missed out on an update this year and look set to continue to be a strong trend going forwards too.
When designing a kitchen island it is obviously crucial to make a list of what you want from this item of furniture but it doesn't hurt to pay attention to latest design developments too.
"For 2024 the 'furniture' look is taking over from the heavy fitted look in many aspects including the kitchen island," says William Durrant, owner of Herringbone Kitchens. "Butcher-style islands, islands on legs and those in-between are real statement pieces of furniture that give an extra detail to the kitchen space and allows for movement too."
10. Splashbacks made simple
Thought you couldn't use wallpaper in the kitchen? Wrong. There are now ranges of beautiful wallpapers out there that are just as suitable for use as kitchen splashback ideas as tiles or purpose-made panels.
Designer Kitchen Splashback Wallpaper from Lime Lace is a new and revolutionary wallpaper which is very easy to apply and is completely water and fireproof — meaning it can even be used behind your hob.
Just cut the paper to size and apply using the enclosed glue. The wallpaper is also very easy to remove making it a great option for renters too.
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Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Content Editor and has been a member of the team for over two decades. An experienced journalist and renovation expert, she has written for a number of homes titles. Over the years Natasha has renovated and carried out a side extension to a Victorian terrace. She is currently living in the rural Edwardian cottage she renovated and extended on a largely DIY basis, living on site for the duration of the project. She is now looking for her next project — something which is proving far harder than she thought it would be.