Modern Kitchen Ideas

8 essential ingredients for a stylish kitchen that won’t date

Timeless kitchen design ideas and clever future-proofing tips.
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Designing a kitchen in your forever home can be daunting. After all, trends come and go, and you don’t want to be left with an outdated kitchen just a few years after installation. 

Luckily, some kitchen design elements will never go out of fashion, but the most important consideration is to stay true to your own style to make it truly endure.

Here are eight examples of timeless kitchen design and clever future-proofing tips to get you started.

1. A white or neutral colour scheme

White and neutral tones are popular choices in the kitchen for one reason: they don’t date. Before you start to worry about it being boring, remember the more bold your design choices in the kitchen are, the bigger chance there is of you changing your mind down the track.

Classic is the goal here and, if you’re looking to make a statement with must-have trends, more personality can be brought in with accessories.

Coastal style white kitchen
An all-white base forms a blank canvas for decorative details in a casual Nordic-style kitchen. (Credit: Photography: Alex Reinders | Styling: Sarah Elshaug)

2. Shaker style cabinets

Once an essential ingredient for the farmhouse kitchen style, now the perfect choice for Hamptons-style kitchens, shaker-style cabinets are a popular choice because of their simplicity and ability to complement most styles.

Pick up details by using a darker paint colour on lower cabinetry or your kitchen island for added interest, or stick to all-white for a clean and classic look. 

White and marble kitchen with shaker-style cabinet doors
A classic country farmhouse look inspired the design of this kitchen in the Gold Coast hinterland. (Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

3. Appliances that complement your lifestyle

Do you like to entertain? Or perhaps you want to enjoy a cafe-quality coffee in the morning as soon as you wake up? Whatever your wish, there is an appliance to meet all of your kitchen needs.

When it comes to choosing appliances like a coffee machine or double oven, and French door fridges, factoring them in at the design stage of your kitchen can help you make the right choice to suit your space and lifestyle.

Galley style kitchen with a black and white colour scheme
Generous benchtop space and integrated cabinetry allow for all of life’s conveniences in this coastal Hamptons kitchen. (Credit: Photography: Helen Ward | Styling: Alix Helps)

4. Natural accents

The kitchen is the hub of any home and your choice of benchtop material matters. Choose materials that give off a natural vibe, and you can be confident that your kitchen will never go out of style.

For an ageless appeal, look to timber-look veneer in cabinetry and engineered stone benchtops, both of which are practical and low-maintenance choices.

White and timber kitchen with open shelving
Plytec ‘Legato’ cabinetry in Crisp White is a subtle backdrop to an island bench topped in Quantam Quartz ‘Michaelangelo’, (Credit: Photography: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

5. Subway tiles

The popularity of subway tiles continues to feature in kitchens of all shapes, sizes and styles. Simple and sophisticated, their size makes them a versatile choice and that they come in different shades means they can be matched to any colour palette.

For the ultimate in timelessness, however, white would be an excellent choice, with options to add a textured finish or coloured grout.

Hamptons style kitchen with subway tile splashback
Textured white subway tiles form the perfect backsplash for this Hamptons style kitchen. (Credit: Photography: Ryan Linnegar | Styling: Fiona Gould)

6. Cabinet hardware

Probably the most underrated design element in any kitchen, handles (or the lack thereof) can have a massive impact on the overall look of your kitchen.

When choosing kitchen handles, consider the look and feel of your kitchen design as well as the size and material needed to open and close your cupboards and drawers with ease.

Hamptons style kitchen with two island benches
A combination of knobs and handles have been used to complete this classic, Hamptons style kitchen. (Credit: Photography: Nicki Dobrzynski | Styling: Kerrie-Ann Jones)

7. A kitchen island

An island bench is a beautiful addition to any kitchen for many reasons. It works for most layouts, is perfect for entertaining guests on those less formal occasions and for having a quick meal with family. Plus, the extra storage makes it do double duty in this busy zone.

Minimalist black and white marble kitchen
Sleek surfaces allow the kitchen island (in Dulux Domino) to be the hero of this renovated Queenslander. (Credit: Photography: Elouise Van Riet-Gray)

8. A large sink

Particularly in an entertainer’s kitchen, when it comes to your sink, the bigger the better.

Whether a feature ceramic sink or an underbench stainless steel style, the benefits of a large sink go beyond the generous bowl size to include the ability to hide clutter and dirty dishes at peak times.

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