Next time you flick the kettle on for a cuppa, grab meat out of the freezer, look up a dessert recipe on your phone or unpack the dishwasher, just take a moment to think about all the modern conveniences in the kitchen that make your life easier. From the microwave to the tiled floor, there is so much we take for granted that saves us time, effort and space. But, ask your mum or your grandma – this hasn’t always been the case! Let’s take a moment to look at kitchens through time…
The kitchen, perhaps more than any other room in the house, has always been subject to constant change and innovation. New ideas, better functionality, space saving designs and colours have evolved over the years to produce today’s modern and beautiful kitchens.
Food preparation areas, what we know as today’s kitchens, have been part of human living since shelters first came into existence, but let’s just concentrate on the last 100 years.
The 1920’s – 1930’s was a time of innovation, yet financial hardship for many people. With the Great Depression at its height, the kitchen was a central hub for most families and design centred on practicality, functionality and space saving. With the entrance of appliances into the homes of those who could afford these luxuries, kitchens started to take on a level of sophistication. The gas stove, refrigerator and icebox opened up a whole new world of storing and cooking food – the domestic kitchen was on the eve of a revolution…
During the years of WW2, home design took place in the sacrifice for survival and cost saving was paramount. It was the age of the consumer and every spare cent went towards the global war effort. Despite hardship on the home front, bright colours such as apple green, pink, orange and yellow added the much needed cheer in the kitchen, while designs were plain and simple. Cupboards often included built-in steps to assist housewives with reaching high shelves and the introduction of linoleum floors was practical and timesaving.
Post war kitchens began pushing the boundaries both in colour and design. The war had opened up the channels of communication and travel and European appliances began filtering into many homes around the world. New materials such as plastics and vinyl made way for new kitchen designs and, combined with bold floral wallpapers, the kitchen became quite a centerpiece.
As the swinging sixties arrived, pop artists had their influence over interior design and kitchens took up the tune of minimalism and funky colours. Curved corners and stainless appliances, copper, stone and timber all took their place of pride. The 1970s saw the introduction of dishwashers and microwaves into most homes. It was the age of the breakfast bar, the wall mounted oven and the island bench.
The 1980s and 1990s was the age of decadence. Welcome the mansion, the internet and mobile phone. Modern kitchens incorporated blonde timber, granite benchtops, stainless steel, downlights and colour palettes of white and pastels. Cabinetry evolved to make way for the latest and greatest in appliances. Brighter. Bigger. More expensive and more showy.
That brings us to the last stage of our kitchen journey. Today’s kitchens are a culmination of designs from every corner of the globe – from Provincial Kitchens to Modern Kitchens. Instant internet access allows us to get inspiration from any culture and design feature across the ages. There are no boundaries – we have access to nearly any building material we fancy and appliances are affordable to most households. The wheels of change have us seeing new kitchen designs all the time, incorporating retro styles with the best of today’s modern conveniences.