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2016 Liberated from old-fashioned customs like colour-coordinated appliances and the sacred single work triangle, designers are thinking about kitchens in new and exciting ways. 2016’s biggest kitchen trends, not to mention the very latest state-of-the-art kitchen products and appliances, will be on show at this year’s edition of Decorex SA, the country’s three-part exhibition showcase of South Africa’s foremost décor and design talent. Here, the kitchen design experts participating in the show share their predictions for creating an on-trend kitchen in 2016:

Colour redefined “A base of neutral and soft colour palettes are a very popular choice this year as they allow the homeowner to experiment with his or her own individual expression of complementary colour.” This according to Clinton Soutter, National Sales Manager for Franke South Africa, the world-leading kitchen-systems supplier sponsoring the much anticipated Franke ‘Heart of the Home’ Kitchen Design Project at Decorex 2016.

“There is still a focus on natural looks, colours and materials, but with a move away from the high-gloss finishes of the recent past to a more eggshell look with masculine undertones,” adds Stephanie Forbes, National Manager for the Kitchen Specialists Association (KSA), which, for the first time in 2016, will partner exclusively with Decorex SA in a nationwide collaboration that will benefit both exhibitors and visitors to the show.

Finding flow “I cannot remember when I last saw a kitchen that was not part of the greater open-plan living space. The table is life,” says Trevor King, Marketing Director at Caesarstone, the expert in kitchens and surfaces, which is co-headline sponsor of Decorex SA for the second year running. According to King, “a greater level of collaboration between designer and home owner” is driving the desire for better integration between kitchen and living areas. And, says Forbes, “The kitchen is no longer a pokey little room where the hostess hides from her guests. The kitchen of today is an integral part of the home’s living space, adapted to be both a food preparation area, a family room, a dining space and an entertainment area.” Soutter concurs: “Open-plan kitchens that allow for seamless interaction between living and prep areas will remain key, as will the need to maximise cupboard usage to increase storage through functional design, without compromising organisation and access.”

Materials matter “Combining materials is still popular, especially when it comes to countertop materials, as are sleek lines, with integrated profile door handles and work surfaces becoming slimmer to enhance this clean linearity,” says Soutter. “Look out for authentic materials, with a greater emphasis on texture, as well as thinner countertops and lots of natural lighting. And steampunk, a style that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery, will be huge,” adds King. According to Forbes, “Diversity is key to current kitchen design, with elements being created in such a way as to make them resemble crafted furniture and not just functional storage.”

Mindful tech “And, of course, technology in hardware and appliances continues to be a huge focus,” says Forbes. “An increased awareness of technology in the kitchen will see kitchen designers incorporate a tech perspective in the kitchen cabinet,” adds Soutter, who says we can expect to see Jetson-like add-ons such as built-in charging stations, hands-free functionality and tablet holders. According to King, “the multifunctional kitchen island will be standard in the kitchens of the near future”. And we’re not just talking islands that incorporate sinks and seating. Instead, think designs that feature touchscreen control panels, heating membranes, sound activators, aromatic scent dispensors and LED lights along with multimedia entertainment systems. If the Starship Enterprise had a kitchen, surely this would take centre-stage.

Kitchens big and small, traditional and coolly modern, stylish and inviting, all the ultimate designs for the most loved room in the house will be on display at this year’s trio of Decorex exhibitions, which kick off on 18 March in Durban.

For more information, visit Decorex SA details:

Decorex Durban: 18 – 21 March 2016 Time: 18 – 20 March, 10am to 8pm; 21 March, 10am to 6pm Trade days: 18 and 19 March Ticket prices: R75 for adults; R65 for trade, pensioners and students; R20 for kids under 12 Venue: Durban Exhibition Centre

Decorex Cape Town: 29 April – 2 May 2016 Time: 10am to 7pm daily (6pm Monday) Trade Day: 29 April Ticket prices: R85 for adults; R75 for trade, pensioners and students; R20 for kids under 12 Venue: CTICC

Decorex Joburg: 5 – 9 August 2016 Time: 10am to 6pm daily Trade day: 5 August Ticket prices: R110 for adults; R90 for pensioners and students; R80 for trade; R20 for kids under 12 Venue: Gallagher Convention Centre

For more information, e-mail Visit: Facebook: Decorex SA Twitter: @decorexSA