The heart of the home is usually a fluid space, designed to adapt regularly to its users while remaining practical yet beautiful.
Where customary trends such as French Country or Vintage Style are no longer strictly followed, there is now room for movement toward more personalised kitchens and decor.
Bespoke kitchen designer Rencraft in the UK has released a trend report forecasting what 2016 will bring for kitchens.
"Clever storage solutions will always be a crucial part of any kitchen and open shelving is set to become more and more popular over the next year," the Rencraft report says. "This practical solution for kitchen spaces is an ideal alternative to traditional cabinets. By displaying items on open shelves, you not only make them easier to access but completely personalise the whole look of your kitchen."
According to Rencraft, open shelving continues the trend toward creating a warm environment, something other designers have also noted.
"We are seeing a trend toward using open shelving as a practical solution for the kitchen space, rather than simply for display," Sydney-based kitchen designer Kesha Pillay of Art of Kitchens told Forbes earlier this year. “Open shelving personalises the space, making it feel lived in and warm, while keeping the kitchen functional and easy to use.”
Cleverly concealed storage is also a growing trend thanks to residential dwellings becoming progressively smaller. Hanging culinary equipment remains popular, as do pull out drawers, chalkboards and other space-saving concepts.
2. Marble Mealtimes
Marble is everywhere, from stoneware to kitchen tables, countertops and walls.
"Marble worktops or dramatic splashbacks, there are plenty of opportunities to incorporate this material into your design," said Rencraft.
"Everyone wants white marble,” Tim Farr, owner of StoneWorks, told Stone World Magazine earlier this year. “It’s just really popular. We see some quartz, but for the most part, it’s everything light and white. People are moving away from the staple colours to the whites.”
While white marble was a popular choice in 2015, black marble is set to reign in 2016, keeping in line with moody colour forecasts.
"Why not consider black marble as a nod to the growing dark and dramatic kitchen trend? Sleek and intriguing, this look brings a new level of glamour to the heart of the home," Rencraft suggested.
"Combining textures and materials is a trend which doesn’t seem to be going anywhere in the coming year," Rencraft said. "Combining fashionable high shine finishes with matt consoles and splashbacks creates a real sense of contrast in the kitchen, adding interest and urging people to come in and explore.
"One increasingly popular way to achieve this is including a distinct island unit in the centre, heralding back to the days when separate pastry consoles and modular furniture was all the rage."
Another trend - one not covered in the Rencraft report - seems to be a given next year.
4. Smart Kitchens
Kitchens are already seeing a rise in digital cooktops, kitchen design that incorporates smart mobile technology, charging stations and connectivity.
There are fridges with televisions and wireless connectivity which that can advise on the temperature inside.
Smart appliances - such as the TMIO Intelligent Oven - offer the convenience of refrigerating foods for cooking later then connect remotely via phone or the internet.
Last year, Whirlpool unveiled its Interactive Cooktop at the Consumer Electronics Show. It is a marble countertop with an embedded display that allows it to work as an interactive touchscreen.
Users can cook on an automatic sensor-equipped cooktop while logging into email, accessing social media or accessing their recipes.
Cover image courtesy of Rencraft