Category Archives: Kitchen

Influencer Interview – Will Higham, Consumer and Behavioural Futurist


Will Higham is one of the world’s most respected behavioural futurists.  He has informed 1000’s of business leaders via his talks, consultancy, articles and book ‘The Next Big Thing’. He’s spent almost 30,000 hours over the last 15 years analysing consumer trends and their implications for business.

In this interview, we talk to Will about the consumer trends he thinks will have the greatest influence on the way we use our homes in the future. 

Interview by Emma Hedges

TM. How has the trend for multi-generational living come about?

WH. One of the big trends we’ve seen over the past few years has been towards one-person homes, however, while the drive towards the single home is still happening among older people, we’re now starting to see a reaction against it towards larger households.

For financial reasons, and also for social and emotional reasons, young people are not leaving the family as early as previous generations did, and they are content to stay at home. There are broadly closer ties between parents and children now, and they are typically doing more together – more family holidays, more evening and weekend meals. In the same way that businesses have flatter hierarchies, so do families – more and more the parents and children are making joint decisions.

Millennials and post-millennials have grown up in a risk-averse society, with lots of people telling them they’re in danger all the time, so they have this sense of friends and family being an important community. There’s three times as many 25 to 34 year olds living with their parents as living on their own right now.

The other thing is that while some elderly people are living on their own, more of them are starting to move back to their children’s homes, for financial reasons and because of health issues. People are living longer so there’s a longer period of care required, and for a lot of them, their savings aren’t going as far as they thought they would.
Next year we’re going to have the most three-generation households ever seen in this country - Will Higham, Behavioural Futurist @NextBigThingCo Click To Tweet

TM. What impact do you think this trend will have on kitchens and bathrooms?

WH. This has huge potential impact on kitchens and bathrooms. You need to have more bathrooms if you’ve got more people in a home, but also the bathroom needs to be functional for all three generations. They need to be safe, with more rails, as well as offer an escape for people to get away from the big household.

This trend is also going to accelerate the kitchen diner and kitchen as a social place. There’ll be things in the kitchen that people won’t use as much as they become less well, and things such as microwaves that they may use more. Kitchens may become even bigger.

And one thing that bathroom and kitchen manufacturers need to focus on is the fact that we will see a huge growth in care homes. That’s a major market for them to bear in mind.
The three-generation household will accelerate the kitchen as a social place - Will Higham, Behavioural Futurist @NextBigThingCo Click To Tweet

TM. How is ‘Generation Rent’ impacting the way people use their homes?

WH. The younger generation can’t afford to buy houses at the moment, and they’re having to rent, but one of the biggest rises we’ve seen in rental is amongst older consumers – a 500% increase in thirty-to-forty-something renters over the past five years.

The sense of the importance of ownership itself is starting ease away. This is a generation that grew up with constantly upgrading their mobile phone, and now you can rent things, download things, subscribe to them – I can access a car but I don’t need to own one. So when it comes to our homes, are we going to go back to this idea of renting our furniture and our TVs, and are manufacturers and retailers going to offer us opportunities to rent and upgrade things? Or are we going to be able to get a basic fridge, but then get a smart device we can plug into it?

One of the biggest rises we’ve seen in the rental market is amongst older consumers – a 500% increase in thirty-to-forty-something home renters over the past five years - Will Higham, Behavioural Futurist @NextBigThingCo Click To Tweet

TM. How do you see technology impacting on kitchens and bathrooms?

WH. We’re on the cusp of huge changes with the technology side of kitchens and bathrooms, and if manufacturers get it right, I see people adopting it very quickly. I think the smart home will really start to take off in the next five years. The trouble with the smart home is that the technology has been a little bit behind the ideas.

I think we’ll see more intuitive and ‘calm’ technology, that isn’t in your face and will do things without us asking it to. It’s interesting to see the incredible rise of voice assistants like Alexa, which is easy to operate and feels human. We will definitely see more voice control in kitchens and bathrooms, partly for convenience and also for safety. They’re places where it’s difficult to use traditional personal technology.

And the smart mirror in the bathroom is the equivalent of the smart surface in the kitchen for me. Being able to weigh things on the kitchen surface is one thing, but the smart mirror will be able to tell you about your BMI, your health, and so on.
We’re on the cusp of huge changes with the technology side of kitchens and bathrooms, and if manufacturers get it right, I see people adopting it very quickly - Will Higham, Behavioural Futurist @NextBigThingCo Click To Tweet

TM. How is hybrid living affecting the home?

WH. Britons are now spending 90% of our lives indoors, whether it’s at home or in the office. More and more of us are working for ourselves, and the number of entrepreneurs is going up, particularly among slightly older women. Increasingly we want to run our own thing, so the two growth areas are the shared office and the home work-space.

The hybrid home is interesting as we’re seeing a general hybridisation of the home. We have a kitchen diner that looks increasingly like another living room, and furniture and technology that can be moved from room to room. As our lives flow through the house we can make the house whatever we want, whenever we want it.
We’re seeing a general hybridisation of the home. We have a kitchen diner that looks increasingly like another living room, and furniture and technology that can be moved from room to room. As our lives flow through the house we can make… Click To Tweet 

TM. Tell us about the trend for pet ownership?

WH. The idea of family, neighbours, work colleagues, people we share a hobby or an interest with – the one thing that’s increasingly added to these small trust groups is a pet. A lot of people who aren’t having families are having pets – ‘fur babies’ – and the amount of money we’re spending on them is phenomenal. We’re spending more in terms of the type of food we’re buying for them, the type of habitats we’re creating for them. It certainly affects the kind of holidays we can have – there are now more pet-friendly hotels and restaurants.  And in the same way that people think about a child when they’re fitting their bathroom and their kitchen, they will be thinking about their pets when they’re doing that.
In the same way that people think about a child when they’re fitting their bathroom and their kitchen, they will be thinking about their pets when they’re doing that - Will Higham, Behavioural Futurist @NextBigThingCo Click To Tweet

TM. Are there any behaviours that will affect how we buy big-ticket items in the future?

WH. We’re seeing the idea of the ‘signature’ piece across so many industries. The small specialist artisanal producers at one end and the mass on the other – those are the areas that are working, and the area in the middle isn’t working so well. I think this will happen more within homeware – there will be a few statement pieces, and there will be a higher turnover of the little items we only have for a short time, like stools or tables.

Generally, I think we’ll have more sustainable furniture, as consumers are starting to be willing to pay a little bit more for something that’s sustainable. In terms of technology-led items like cookers, fridges and showers, it may be that we buy ‘dumb’ products that we can upgrade the software on, like the little stick we have that we can put in the side of the TV. We will definitely see big-ticket items becoming smarter.
The three-generational household will impact the sorts of big-ticket items we buy. Instead of two people deciding on it, there will be half a dozen - Will Higham, Behavioural Futurist @NextBigThingCo Click To Tweet

Find out more about Will Higham at


Trend-Monitor Report

Understanding The Kitchen and Bathroom Consumer in 2019

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How the Kitchen Industry is Tackling Food Waste


With food waste and saving the pennies high on the consumer agenda, kitchen appliance giants are helping householders understand their actions and change their attitude to throwing away food.  

Every year across the globe, 1.3 billion tonnes of edible food is thrown away according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.  In the UK alone, we throw away more than 7 million tonnes of food every year and a typical family wastes £60 a month, or £720 a year.

In the UK alone, we throw away more than 7 million tonnes of food every year and a typical family wastes £60 a month, or £720 a year. Click To Tweet

This waste in turn amounts to a major squandering of resources, including water, land, energy, labour and capital, and needlessly produces greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to global warming and climate change.

According to research carried out for Whirlpool EMEA, in the UK we have a tendency to buy and cook too much, and then forget about our actions, letting food linger in the fridge or cupboard until it becomes inedible. In fact, the research reveals that about a third of all food produced is either lost or wasted through poor planning.

Hotpoint – Fresh Thinking for Forgotten Food 2018 – Food waste infographic

These stark figures are behind a campaign by Jamie Oliver and Whirlpool brand Hotpoint – ‘Fresh Thinking for Forgotten Food’.

Food waste is an everyday problem all of us face, and we’re often not aware that with just a little bit of know-how, a huge volume of the food we throw away can be transformed into delicious, tasty things,” says Oliver.

Along with sharing Oliver’s tips and recipes, in October Hotpoint also unveiled its Fresh Thinking Pop-Up Café in East London to help spread the word.



But behind all this is a message to consumers to harness the brand’s refrigeration technology. According to Hotpoint, maximising its precision temperature control, and Active Oxygen technology, and storing food correctly using the innovative 3-in-1 Zone, ensures ‘day one food freshness’ and helps keep food fresher for longer.

Hotpoint Active Oxygen Technology

Hotpoint isn’t the only brand raising food waste awareness in tandem with promoting its advancing refrigeration capabilities. Earlier this year, Grundig partnered with three-Michelin-star chef Massimo Bottura for its Respect Food programme. While not as high-profile as Oliver, Bottura’s restaurant in Modena, Osteria Francescana, was voted World’s No.1 Restaurant this year for the second time in William Reed Business Media’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.   And Bottura is already an established campaigner in this area having founded non-profit organisation Food For Soul, which helps raise awareness of food waste and social isolation.

“Our Respect Food programme spans both product development and working with partners to reduce waste and use surplus food for good causes,” says Grundig.  Its latest GQN21220WX fridge-freezer features a Full Fresh+ crisper drawer that controls humidity levels, which the brand says keeps fruit and vegetables fresh for up to 30 days, as well as a Vitamin Care Zone that preserves the vitamin C content in fruit and vegetables by simulating natural light.

Full Fresh by Grundig

As far as appliance manufacturers are concerned, food waste is the big story and things are advancing fast. At IFA this year, Sharp launched its VacPac Pro Four-Door fridge-freezer that enables consumers to pack and store food without air by placing it a vacuum sealer bag, and then using the automative vacuum sealer on the front of the appliance to suck out the air. The brand says that this preserves food for up to eight times longer.

Also at IFA, Haier revealed its combination fridge-freezers with technology that reduces oxygen in the storage compartment to slow down food ageing.

However, appliance manufacturers aren’t the only ones with an eye on food waste as an area where they can deliver solutions. A prototype of the Mimica Touch food freshness indicator, which enables consumers to avoid throwing food away unnecessarily, was showcased at this year’s 100% Design.

Meanwhile, connected home company Smarter has adopted a more direct approach and is tackling the wasteful purchasing behaviour itself. Its FridgeCam wireless camera takes a photo of the fridge contents every time the door is closed, and has a ‘best before’ tracker to show which items are about to expire. It can be remotely accessed via an app so the user can check the fridge contents when they’re out and about, and avoid buying items they don’t need.

According to Smarter, this simple – but effective – strategy can help reduce food waste by up to 50%.


Influencer Interview – Helen Lord, Founder of the Used Kitchen Exchange


Trend-Monitor’s Kitchen Purchasing Trends Consumer Insight 2018 found that one in five new kitchen installations are replacing kitchens under four years old and we asked Helen Lord, founder and director of the Used Kitchen Exchange, how this trend is helping to drive her business

Interview by Emma Hedges


TM. Is the trend that was established by Trend-Monitor in the recent report something that you have direct experience of?

HL. Absolutely!  Around 30% of the kitchens we sell are under four years old. Sellers cite many reasons for replacing a relatively new kitchen, the most common reasons being extending their current property or moving house. Kitchens are such a large, considered purchase for most homeowners that they only really start to think replacing the kitchen after a life-changing event – a growing family, downsizing, or retirement.

Interestingly, when we speak to these sellers, the general feeling is that they are relieved that their outgoing kitchen doesn’t have to go into the skip.  This thought makes them feel very uncomfortable, often leading to general inertia or delays in decision making –  the fact that we can re-sell it for them gives them the validation they need to make this important decision.

TM. Is this trend helping to drive your business?

HL. Yes, for sure! The trend for people to extend their homes and the desire to have the kitchen of their dreams when money and time allows keeps us very busy!  What is important to mention here is the desire to ‘do the right thing’ and re-sell their outgoing kitchen is not just about money. Very often we hear people say that they want someone else to have the benefit of it, or their conscience is pricked by the desire to avoid adding to environmental landfill.  All this makes UKE a genuinely sustainable business that meets a genuine need.

TM. What impact do you think this trend is having on the kitchen market as a whole?

HL. I think it is safe to say that people are more empowered these days to change their kitchen to meet their lifestyle needs. In the past when the kitchen has been a separate, functional room in the house, the priority to change has just not been there – sticking with the notion ‘it will do’.

We have become far more house proud and the way we use our kitchens has completely changed. Now they are a status symbol, something to be proud of and as much part of home décor as the soft furnishings and furniture. The kitchen is much more than a living space in today’s home. It is a place to entertain, relax and enjoy family life. Therefore the desire to have the perfect kitchen is much higher on people’s priority list.

I think it is safe to say that people are more empowered these days to change their kitchen to meet their lifestyle needs - Helen Lord, Founder and Director of the Used Kitchen Exchange @usedkitchenex Click To Tweet

TM.  When did you set up the Used Kitchen Exchange and why?

HL. Used Kitchen Exchange began from my kitchen table, literally, with my own search for a new kitchen. I was looking for an affordable luxury kitchen and after lots of fruitless trips to kitchen showrooms I began looking on eBay. We were lucky – after a long search we found our perfect pre-loved kitchen at an amazing price, however, it was challenging as many sellers didn’t give the information I needed to make an informed choice. I soon realised that there was a sustainable business opportunity here – to help people buy and sell approved used kitchens without the hassle and risk associated with buying online.

Over the last six years, our business model has developed, focusing on providing a safe and hassle-free marketplace.Our website has grown exponentially and now receives over 80,000 buyer visits a month, resulting in kitchen sales of around 1,300 each year.

The growth of our business has been fully supported by the kitchen industry. The industry has welcomed us with open arms, appreciating that we offer a valuable service for their customers in providing an ethical and profitable solution for a used kitchen – a form of ‘trade-in’ similar to the car industry. We also offer the industry a solution to selling ex-display kitchens quickly and easily. We are very proud to say that we partner hundreds of UK kitchen showrooms and feel very much part of this dynamic and forward-thinking industry.

TM. Which kitchens are currently most sought after from the Used Kitchen Exchange?

HL. Our buyers look for value, often coming to us for one style of kitchen and then buying something completely different. Buying a pre-installed kitchen obviously comes with some level of compromise and our persona group is all about ‘the deal’! Likewise our buyers look for quality and longevity, so wooden kitchens are a clear favourite.

TM. Do you think that consumers are becoming more aware of changing trends in kitchens?

HL. Open-plan living means that it is no longer a room you can shut the door on when guests come over! To a large degree I believe that the availability of ‘ideal home’ imagery through social media and glossy magazines has brought a previous non-existent awareness to the public of the wide variety of kitchen styles and fashions available – put it this way, 10 years ago I didn’t have a clue what a Shaker kitchen was!

With Pintrest, Houzz and Instagram, homeowners can easily visualise their own space and develop a very clear understanding of the look they want – this has only been possible in the past few years.  This has led to a change in the way people buy – people now do their research before they walk into a showroom.

With Pintrest, Houzz and Instagram, homeowners can easily visualise their own space and develop a very clear understanding of the look they want- Helen Lord, Founder and Director of the Used Kitchen Exchange @usedkitchenex Click To Tweet

Fashion and trends do affect our business but we do tend to be a few years behind the kitchen industry for obvious reasons. For instance, five years ago almost every other used kitchen seller was seeking to replace their 1990’s Cathedral Arch kitchen for a high-gloss one! Likewise, the trend for certain styles of kitchen really help us to target our marketing through key words and sort mechanisms on our website.



Recent consumer research by Trend-Monitor looks at kitchen purchasing trends 

find out more

The Psychology Behind the Popularity of the Hexagon


When it comes to wall and floor tiles, the hexagon has been having a moment, and according to Sam Waxman, managing director of Waxman Ceramics, this trend is “showing no signs of slowing down”.

We’ve seen an increase in demand for geometric shapes over the past few years with hexagonal patterns coming out on top, year on year,” Sam says. “They’re a firm favourite for a multitude of projects due to their ability to create both classic and contemporary looks with ease.”

Our current and enduring love of the hexagonal shape is beyond question. But could it be that it may stem from something far deeper and more instinctive than just our natural appreciation of pattern? After all, when you think of turtle shells and beehives, it’s a design that nature has favoured since time began.

Could the trend for the hexagon shape in interiors stem from something far deeper and more instinctive than just our natural appreciation of pattern? Click To Tweet

From honeycombs to pineapple skin, to the basal columns called the Giant’s Causeway, this naturally forming geometric shape is all around us,” says Justin Lashley, specification sales at Waxman Ceramics Architectural Tiles.

Giants Causeway, a natural hexagonal-shaped rock formation in Northern Ireland

In fact, the more you think about it, the more you realise that we’ve incorporated the six-sided polygon everywhere – we’ve added it to footballs, to bolts, to pencils. Are we hardwired to love the hexagon in spite of ourselves? And has the fact that we’re accustomed to being surrounded by it imbued us with an affinity that we can’t resist?

Lashley believes so.

There’s a simple reason this trend won’t go away – nature and science won’t allow it,” he says. “As tessellating shapes go, it’s supreme as it can circumscribe the largest area for a given perimeter. So from the gigantic hexagonal cloud storm on Saturn, to the microscopic heart of a snowflake, hexagons are here to stay.”

There’s a simple reason the Hexagon trend won’t go away – nature and science won’t allow it - Justin Lashley, Waxman Ceramics @WaxmanCeramicHQ Click To Tweet

It’s this surge in popularity that has led the Waxman Ceramics to introduce two exclusive new tile ranges – the Hudson and the Marseille. Both of these collections capitalise on the trend for textures in tiles, seen over the past few years, and also the current passion for all things hexagonal – and this combination is proving a hit with consumers.

Waxman Hudson Range
Trend-Monitor-Tile Trends-Hexagon
Waxman Marseille Range

Sarsen Stone brand Ca’ Pietra has also caught the hexagonal wave. Its patterned Lily Pad tile has become an Instagrammer’s icon, to the extent that as well as having the original cement encaustic version, the company has recently launched a porcelain version at a lower price point to capitalise on demand.

Ca’Pietra Lily Pad


Ca’ Pietra LilyPad Eucalyptus

“The Lily Pad pattern tile has earned its popularity thanks to its versatility,” says Hamish Smith, creative director of Ca’ Pietra. This versatility is purely down to its hexagonal shape. It’s possible to create up to three entirely different, striking patterns and effects by rotating the tile. “You can use it to make a shower area stand out or give floors the ultimate visual feast,” says Smith. “It can make a small bathroom feel larger than the space it occupies. It’s ideal for adding a splash of colour to any room, while making a design statement in modern and traditional interiors.”


Influencer Interview – Sian Parsons, Senior Lighting Designer, John Cullen Lighting


Recent Trend-Monitor research into kitchen purchasing trends highlighted a growing popularity for zoned kitchen lighting over the past two years, indicating that kitchen lighting has become a key trend in kitchen design.  We talked to Sian Parsons, Senior Lighting Designer at John Cullen Lighting, to find out how consumers are increasingly engaging with this trend.

Interview by Emma Hedges

TM. According to Trend-Monitor’s research into consumer purchasing trends, kitchen lighting has grown in popularity over the past two years. Why do you think that is?

SP. The emergence of LED technology with its miniaturisation of light fittings has helped lighting become much more accessible to the average home. Ceiling-recessed downlights regularly don’t exceed 70mm in diameter and require far less ceiling recess depth than their halogen counterpart, while under-cupboard lights have become smaller and cooler in temperature, making them easier to integrate into wall units.

With the huge technological changes in modern LED lighting, the benefits of a well-designed lighting scheme have made their way into the average consumer’s awareness, and the kitchen is an obvious place to start to experience the advantages.

TM. How has the trend for open-plan living affected the way in which lighting is used in the kitchen?

SP. Open-plan living has definitely led to changes in the way kitchen lighting is designed. In a space used for evening relaxation, it is possible to create a softer light in the kitchen to be left on when that space isn’t being used. Dimming under-cupboard lighting, or illuminating open shelving or glass-fronted units is a great way for consumers to achieve this, as well as low-level floor washing.

There is a strong trend for pendants over an island, which can also be used to create an intermediate warmth to the kitchen zone, while brighter lighting illuminates the living area. Zoning – circuiting – the different lighting layers allows for maximum flexibility.

Open Plan Living Room Light and Dark by John Cullen Lighting

TM. Are there any other factors that have affected the way in which lighting is used in the kitchen?

SP. Nowadays, dining tables aren’t necessarily just used for intimate evening dining. They can double up as a work space for adults and children alike, so ensuring it is possible to maintain a bright level of light over this surface has become important. This is often achieved by using downlights over the table to achieve a brighter uniform light.

Dimmers have become extremely popular, and can be used to soften a bright light over a work space so it can be transformed into an intimate dining area. Decorative wall lights or lamps are also being used to help boost light levels. If a desk is being introduced to a space as a designated work area, it is possible to give it its own task light, locally switched for maximum control.

Kitchen tables can double up as a work space for adults and children alike, so ensuring a bright level of light over this surface has become important - Sian Parsons, John Cullen Lighting @johncullenlight Click To Tweet

TM. What are the different types of lighting required in a contemporary open-plan kitchen design?

SP. Layering of lighting is key to open-plan kitchens. Now it’s possible to separate the kitchen working lights, such as downlights, from the dining table, and keep these separate to the more task-like under-cupboard lighting. A mid-level light source is often used, such as wall lights or lamps for a softer evening glow – again, making sure all lighting circuits are on dimmers makes an open-plan space more versatile, as the mood can be brightened or softened as required.

Kitchen in different moods by John Cullen Lighting

TM. Have you noticed any particular trends emerging in kitchen lighting?

SP. The main trend in kitchen lighting has been the introduction of more decorative light fittings. More usually found in living and dining rooms, lamps and pendants that create a softer lighting effect are increasingly being found alongside the more usual task lighting elements found in kitchens.

There is a wealth of different styles now available to the consumer, which helps link these items to the overall decorative scheme of the space. There is also an emerging trend for linear LEDs, which can be incorporated into open shelving, set on top of tall/wall units for a boost of light or at low level to create a floor wash effect. The miniature size of these strips helps their integration into joinery, and as a low-maintenance option with very little heat, they are a joy to design with.

Recent Trend-Monitor research into kitchen purchasing trends highlighted a growing popularity for zoned kitchen lighting over the past two years, indicating that kitchen lighting has become a key trend in kitchen design Click To Tweet



Recent consumer research by Trend-Monitor looks at kitchen purchasing trends 

Find out more

Influencer Interview – Carina Buhlert, Senior Design Manager Brand Environments at Grohe


At the Sleep + Eat event, which took place on 20 – 21 November 2018 at Olympia in London, Emma Hedges caught up with Carina Buhlert, Grohe’s Senior Design Manager Brand Environments, to hear about the trends that Grohe is tapping into, and how the brand is connecting with today’s consumer

Interview by Emma Hedges


TM. Do you think that consumers are starting to embrace technology in the bathroom more?

CB. Yes – technology is a big topic because it’s connected to the megatrend of health. If you think about the way we’re always trying to quantify ourselves and enumerate our height and weight and so on, it is not only about constantly improving ourselves but about us starting to have an understanding of our own self-care. This is something that people are more attentive to, and it’s going to be more relevant in both bathrooms and kitchens. Technology also has everything to do with sensorial experience and being able to customise a bathroom, to fit the users’ individual needs. This will also be more important in the future with multi-generational housing and adapting products to suit different needs at the same time.

TM. What are the key trends at the moment in bathroom design?

CB. Wellness is a key trend. The bathroom used to be a place where you just went to clean yourself. But now, when you look at all the digital products that we have surrounding us constantly in everyday life, the bathroom has become somewhere you go to find sanctuary and have a digital detox, and where you can engage in rituals and experience wellness in your home environment.

The bathroom has become somewhere you go to find sanctuary and have a digital detox - Carina Buhlert, Grohe Click To Tweet

TM. Is water efficiency an important factor?

CB. At Grohe we design products with sustainability and water management in mind – our SmartControl technology is one example of more dynamic control of water usage and water consumption. And our Sense & Sense guard product ensures water security by detecting micro leakage and ensuring whole home water efficiency.

TM. As Senior Design Manager Brand Environments, how do you set about connecting with today’s consumer?

CB. At Grohe, we design for people – and we don’t just design products, but engaging design experiences as well. We think about what consumers really desire when they visit a Grohe showroom and we want to inspire them. First of all we create a multi-sensorial experience for them with our AquaSymphony water installation, in order for them to have an emotional experience with our products. Then we welcome them individually with a glass of water with Grohe Blue and provide them with a beverage experience. And then as well as that, we give them lifestyle inspiration, and explain to them how our technology works. At the end of the process – at the moment when the customer actually commits to the brand – we supply a service that provides everything they need, from deliveries to planning their bathroom or kitchen.

TM. You’re expanding the number of finishes you have, and here at the show you’re exhibiting shower trays for the first time – what’s the thinking behind that?

CB. The number of products that we cover is expanding because we’re trying to give the consumer a full bathroom solution. We provide everything from the most spa-like showering experience to the most functional one, so we have to consider every little need the customer might have and react to that.

Grohe Bau Ceramics with Shower Tray

Even bathroom furnishings are changing – they actually make the bathroom look more like a living room than a bathroom, and we have to think about what this means for our colour finishes when we’re designing. Colours are a big trend as they’re connected to the whole trend of individualisation – we need to provide the consumer with the ability to create what they want without having to search for it because they’ve found everything they need at Grohe. When we think about the end of our journey with the customer in our showrooms, by then we want them to have a very good relationship with our brand so they feel right at home. And I think we’re doing pretty well with that.

Colours are a big trend as they’re connected to the whole trend of individualisation – we need to provide the consumer with the ability to create what they want without having to search for it - Carina Buhlert, Grohe Click To Tweet


The Return of the Kitchen Handle


At the start of 2018 interiors magazines hailed the ‘maximalist’ trend as the big design story of the year – but where does this leave minimalism in the kitchen?

Minimalism helped drive the soaring popularity of kitchen products from German and Italian manufacturers that pioneered the handleless trend. The pared-back aesthetic has dominated kitchen design for years – handleless designs with pocket doors and concealed larders have been about keeping the kitchen space as sparse as possible.

So the question is this: does maximalism spell the end for the handleless kitchen?

Massimo Minale, founder and director of hardware producer Buster + Punch, believes there has been a turnaround in favour of kitchen handles and that this has actually been on the cards for about five years, around the same time that people became hooked on more utilitarian and Shaker-style kitchens.

“Overnight, kitchens went from hiding everything away to putting it all on show, and this is the main reason that the kitchen handle has made a huge comeback,” Minale says.


Buster + Punch T-Bar in Smoked Bronze


Buster + Punch T-Bar in Steel


Buster + Punch Furniture Knobs in, from left to right, Steel, Brass and Smoked Bronze


Minale believes the other reason is quite simply mechanics.

Handles are a lot more practical and satisfying to use, as opposed to hidden mechanisms that continually break down,” he says.

Our Furniture Knobs and T-bars, both with plates, are proving most popular for the simple fact that they are both unique and extremely flexible in the way you can use them throughout your kitchen.”

The company, which also produces lighting, furniture and home accessories, has seen steady growth year-on-year.

PWS is another company that is looking forward to the return of the kitchen handle.

The recent trend for handleless kitchens and the clean, streamlined aesthetic has seen handles fall out of popularity in recent years, but the need for added interest and embellishment has seen them come back on the agenda,” says Graeme Smith, head of design at PWS-owned 1909 Kitchens.

The company launched four new kitchens in July, none of which are handleless, and the door that might lend itself most to a handleless option – the Slab door – actually places a knurled knob handle front and centre of the design.

1909 Slab Kitchen door in Dry Rose with Knurled Matt Black Knob

Feature handles in both the traditional and contemporary arena are popular with consumers,” explains Smith. “Heritage finishes such as chrome, antique brass and bright nickel work perfectly in classic schemes, with matt black and antique brass adding an industrial vibe to a contemporary scheme.”

The company also has a dedicated handles section on its website.

1909 Slab Kitchen in Dry Rose and Graphite with Knurled Matt Black Knob


Smith believes that the power of the kitchen handle should not be underestimated.

“Handles can make or break a kitchen design,” he says. “The position of the handle can also make a big difference to the look of the kitchen, whether it be in line as part of the Shaker style or centred to give a more heritage feel.”

However, he feels that to say this is the end of the minimalist kitchen door may be overstating it, and that the “extra practicality” of the handle can work in conjunction with a pared-back look. “I think they can work hand in hand,” he says.

“By using discreet styles such as trim handles, you can keep the minimalist appearance, while adding a design edge to the kitchen.”



The Size of an Average Kitchen in the UK


At Trend-Monitor we are often asked the size of an average kitchen in the UK.  We had an idea, but no concrete evidence, which is why we were really pleased to find this interesting piece of research by LABC Warranties which documents the changing average kitchen sizes across the decades.


The data experts at LABC Warranty wanted to settle an argument once and for all – are Britain’s houses really getting smaller?  To do this they turned to property sites such as Rightmove and Zoopla and analysed data on 10,000 houses built in each decade going all the way back to the 1930s.

And according their analysis – Britain’s houses really are getting smaller.

Why did they start in the 1930s?  Well, unfortunately there just isn’t enough data for houses built in the decades before 1930. Whether they have been knocked down to make way for new housing developments or turned into student accommodation, there simply weren’t 10,000 houses available to analyse.

So what did their analysis tell us about kitchen sizes?

Houses built in the 1930s had the smallest kitchens of any decade, with the average measuring just 12.27m2.

Average house built in the 1930s


In the 1940’s the average kitchen size grew by nearly 1.5m2   across the decade

Trend-Monitor-Average-Kitchen-Size 1940s
Average house built in the 1940s


In the 1950s, the average kitchen size grew by another 0.30m2

Average house build in the 1950s


In the 1960s, the average kitchen size grew again, this time by another 1.32m2

Average house built in the 1960s


Overall, Britain built the largest houses during the 1970s, however the average kitchen size within these houses started to shrink

Average house built in the 1970s


In the 1980s the average house size started to shrink and the kitchen size shrank even further

Average house built in the 1980s


In the 1990s Britain’s houses continued to get smaller and the kitchens lost another 0.25m2

Average house built in the 1990s


Again in the 2000s, Britain’s houses got even smaller, along with the average kitchen size

Average house built in the 2000s


Today, Britain’s new-build houses have never been so small. The LABC Warranty analysis of the first seven years of this decade shows continued regression.  Compared to the previous decade, homes built from 2010 onwards are over 4m2 smaller, and our kitchens are not much bigger than they were in the 1930’s – the decade of the smallest kitchen.

Current new built housing


Average Kitchen Sizes in Square Metres


All statistics that feature in this article have been collated using open data from property sites Rightmove and Zoopla. The study looked at 10,000 houses built in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and the current decade. Data was taken on individual rooms within a home. All statistics are calculated on average. 


Source:  Research by LABC Warranty

Mimica Touch Freshness Indicator


The average UK household loses an estimated £470 a year because of avoidable food waste, and 34% of this household waste is due to the food going past it’s ‘use by’ or ‘best before’ date, when in reality the discarded food is still edible.

If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world, after China and the US.  In the UK, 60% of all wasted food is perfectly edible.  The reason for this is cautious expiry dates which are kept short by the food industry to be on the safe side.

With this in mind, the Mimica Touch is being developed.  Spotted at 100% Design this year, this freshness indicator degrades at the same rate as the food it carries, meaning generic expiry date labels can be replaced with packet-specific labels, thereby helping to prevent the premature rejection of food and drink.

Mimica Touch is a patented tactile label that tells you exactly when food spoils, accurate to a few hours.  The label is activated as soon as it is attached to the packaging and contains a gel that is calibrated to spoil at the exact same rate as the target food.  The gel is made from waste materials from the food industry, meaning that it is actually experiencing decay, adjusting to conditions along the way and is accurate to one hour.





Interior Design Trends spotted at 100% Design 2018


100% Design is the cornerstone event of The London Design Festival. Held at the Olympia exhibition centre between 19th and 22nd September 2018, this trade event is a vast showcase for more than 400 architects, product designers and interiors specialists.

Dividing the exhibition centre into areas for the workplace, interiors, emerging brands and for those working in the construction and architectural industries, the fair hosts product launches for decorative lighting, furniture and fittings as well as providing a platform for newcomers.

Trend-Monitor went along to find out how the key trends in interiors are looking as we head towards 2019

Interior Design Trend #1. Plywood

The material of the moment at this year’s 100% Design was definitely Plywood.  It featured everywhere from kitchens to bathrooms, from furniture to screens, as the main feature or as detailing.

X-Ply Desk



Stacked Coffee Table by Studio Hemal Patel


Odd Dot


Interior Design Trend #2. Laser Cut Detailing

Another key trend which crosses the different areas of the home, laser cut detailing was seen at 100% Design this year in both interior and exterior applications.

‘Airflake’ deadens noise whilst letting in the light


Handcrafted lighting by Neb Abbot


Laser cut panels by Stark + Greensmith


Interior Design Trend #3. Curvy Concrete

Concrete is revealing another side to its nature; the softer, curvaceous and sometimes colourful side.  As the trend for concrete in interiors develops, the use of natural fibre concrete is moving this increasing popular material into thinner, more elegant shapes.  And the addition of colour extends its appeal to a wider interior audience.

Natural fibre concrete ‘Seater’ by Tina Rugelj at Concrete Garden


Waxed concrete based decorative surface by Design-Concrete

Interior Design Trend #4. Bamboo

As a beautiful, tactile and sustainable alternative to wood, bamboo is growing in popularity and at 100% Design the focus was on it’s suitability as a kitchen application.


Moso bamboo surfaces


Real Green is the UK’s first fully sustainable and accredited kitchen furniture range and it’s manufactured entirely from solid bamboo.  Real Green also carries globally recognised certifications for its use of sustainable materials and manufacturing processes.

Real Green’s bamboo kitchen


Interior Design Trend #5. Natural Embossing

Here we see two key interior design trends combined, the use of natural elements such as leaves and flowers to create detailing in the form of embossing.

Botanical Glass Casting by McGuire Glass


Lichen Carpet Collection by the Mohawk Group


‘Frozen Leaves’ metal finish by Metall-FX


And finally …

We couldn’t leave 100% Design without mentioning Pluck and Hug by guineapig.  These soft, tactile oversized bulbs are ‘huggable’ and the harder you hug the more they light up and glow.

And lets face it, who couldn’t do with a hug every now and again.


Pluck & Hug by guineapig


Pluck & Hug by guineapig