31 May 2012

The Kitchen: more than a room where we cook and eat


The kitchen has long been the back room boy of the home, but now it’s become a really stylish and modern space. Helen Carson reports

The scullery of Victorian times was a place associated with drudgery and household chores, rather than the hub of the home it is today.

While drawing rooms are elegant and bedrooms have become boudoirs, the kitchen was very much ‘downstairs’ as opposed to the ‘upstairs’ living space.

However, the 21st century kitchen is now a place full of European cool — from the trendy gloss units of fashionable city centre apartments to handmade Provence-style units in suburban family abodes.

The kitchen has evolved into one of the most-used rooms with island units, stylish splashbacks, trendy tiled floors, and is awash with all manner of stainless steel appliances while must-have gadgets are de rigeur.

We now spend a staggering 752 hours in our kitchen every year, or 5.2 entire years during a 60-year lifetime, according to a survey of 3,000 people by leading kitchen manufacturer Magnet.

Householders not only spend more time in their kitchen than ever before but they are also happy to splash more cash in order to make sure their kitchen is state-of-the art and, in many cases, as comfortable as the traditional living room.

For 16% of the population a spend of between £10,000 — £25,000 on their kitchen is routine, according to the study — up to four times the national average.

Customers are happy to spend hundreds of pounds on the latest kitchen worktops, cookers, dishwashers, kitchen cabinets, extractor hoods, fridges, flooring, wine coolers and HD televisions for their kitchen because they spend so much time in the room.

The 21st Century kitchen has become the modern ‘family room’, where family members are most likely to gather, chat and spend quality time together, according to the study.

A quarter of home-owners admits it just can’t help itself and has to buy the latest kitchen gadgets as soon as they come out or at least once a year. And for almost four out of 10 of us (40%) say their kitchen is now the most expensive room in the house.

We spend an average of 752 hours in their kitchens every year and the majority (52%) of us admits it now spends far more time in the kitchen than any other room.

A Magnet spokesperson said: “Our research shows that the kitchen has become the family room of choice in 2012. It’s no longer the utility room of old. Families gather there, watch their largescreen TV in the kitchen, discuss family issues and eat together.”

Meanwhile, new design influences mean we now favour an open-plan kitchen with lots of living room for the family, a wall-mounted plasma screen TV, coffee machine and comfy sofa alongside a dining room table and chairs.

Related Articles