Should I use timber in my kitchen and if so, how much and where?
The use of timber in kitchen design has changed with the trends over the last few years. Unless it lends specifically with the style of the home (i.e. mountain lodge or rustic farm house) we seldom see complete timber kitchens designed these days. However, timber can be used in clever and beautiful ways even in the most contemporary of kitchens, combined with other surface finishes to create a dramatic, warm and timeless affect.
One consideration in using timber is getting the balance right; how much is too much? Obviously it depends on the space and client preferences, but it is important to remember that timber can be dominant. It contains many elements in the one board – colour contrasts, line and shape – so if that is not the goal to make it dominate, keep it as a feature. Applications like the base to an island bench, cupboard trim, random shelving, or a nest of stand-alone overhead cupboards can feature a timber effectively without making the kitchen scheme too heavy. A well-maintained timber benchtop can be a stunning feature. These ideas can also draw in a bit of warmth and earthiness to a plain or cool kitchen, creating an interesting tonal contrast. If the kitchen space is small with minimal light, apply timber surface low, below the bench height.
Another concern some people have is how to mix different timbers in a kitchen space without causing a clash of grains and colours. For example, many homes have timber floors, so working with a timber element in the kitchen can be tricky. The truth is it is almost impossible to match an existing timber floor (or even a new floating floor finish) with a timber-look laminate, veneer, or even genuine stained timber. The effect would be a “close, but not quite” look, which will spoil the overall appearance. It’s best in this case to contrast the timbers, staying within the same colour tones. Choosing a lighter colour than the floor for the island bench, for example, can create a blended effect where the timbers work together in the scheme, creating an interesting and effective contrast. The differing timbers, instead of competing for attention in the scheme, will work together.
While each kitchen space is as individual as personal taste, there is always a clever and beautiful way timbers can be used to create a warm and inviting kitchen design, a pleasant place to live, create and entertain.