Kitchen Fashion Trends through the Ages
Since the dawn of humanity, three things, more than any others, have played an essential role in bringing people together; food, safety and warmth.
Today, just the same as all those years ago, we associate these things with home, and if asked to think of a room that most encompasses these three crucial aspects of human wellbeing, then that room might well be the kitchen.
The history of the kitchen and its appliances has both influenced and been influenced by our evolution as individuals and as a society. From the medieval kitchens of long ago to the contemporary, stylish kitchen trends of today, a lot has changed. At the same time, many aspects have also remained constant.
Granite and TREND Transformations take a look at how kitchens have evolved over the years and explore how we arrived at the stylish, multi-functional spaces we have today.
The pre-kitchen era
It is impossible to imagine a home without a room dedicated to preparing and cooking food. Yet, before the 12th century, the vast majority of people would have cooked their food outdoors using simple open fires.
Later, the introduction of chimneys enabled those fires to be brought safely inside with the problematic soot and smoke drawn up, out and away from dwellings. Meals were cooked in simple metalware pots and pans hung above the open fires in a communal indoor space full of warmth, light, safety and food.
The medieval kitchen was born, and it gave us some of the things we still love about our kitchens today.
The history of the modern kitchen
A common theme in the story of the kitchen is the constant need to make things easier by reducing both workloads and time. The history of kitchen appliances is similarly linked to that need to make culinary tasks forever quicker and easier.
Around the 18th century, the widespread availability of stoves, combined with more people having the means and space to use them, created a kind of social revolution that proved to be an early step towards our kitchens of today.
These early stoves, fuelled by wood, then later by coal, were used as much for heating as they were for cooking food and came in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They represented a quantum leap for people accustomed to cooking over fireplaces and gained immediate popularity.
Manufacturers of the time created these stoves in all sizes and decorative shapes. Soon these early kitchen appliances evolved to offer even greater levels of convenience, such as flue pipes for chimneys, dedicated oven holes and even reservoirs for quick and easy hot water; something that was revolutionary in itself at the time.
Ironically, today, almost two hundred years later, wood-burning stoves are once again a desirable feature in many people’s homes.
The gas revolution
As early as the start of the 20th century, there were environmental concerns surrounding the widespread use of wood- and coal-burning stoves. At a time when air pollution levels were the worst in human history, and deforestation began to affect the price of wood, a new way to power our homes and kitchens was needed.
Kitchen trends began to shift towards a fuel that allowed stoves to burn cleanly and more efficiently while allowing ovens to become smaller and lighter. Gas power enabled all those things, and by the 1920’s gas-powered stoves were a commonplace kitchen trend.
Kitchens were still sparse; utilitarian rooms dedicated solely to the preparation and cooking of food; tasks that most people still considered a part of their daily domestic work routine. But the whole process was becoming less labour intensive, giving people more time for socialising or spending time outside of the kitchen.
Electricity and the post-war years
After the difficult years of World War II came a much welcomed social and economic upturn. Every aspect of daily life saw a marked improvement and standards of living rose as people sought to enjoy life after the loss and hardships of war.
The impact this had on kitchen designs and kitchen trends was considerable. Kitchen appliances now used electricity combined with gas. Kitchens themselves suddenly became well-lit, cleaner spaces and sources of considerable pride for those who owned and used them.
The trend for kitchen fashion was born. People had a sense of pride surrounding their new, stylish kitchen, which was a joy to work in, and another chapter in the history of the kitchen emerged. Kitchens became places to show off and spaces where guests could be entertained.
The birth of kitchen fashion
The middle decades of the twentieth century saw a great deal of social change. The world started to grow smaller as people’s horizons broadened, able to travel to other countries and sample different cultures.
Food came to mean something more than merely a thing with which to fill our stomachs. It was something that we could explore and enjoy by creating new tastes and dishes. The kitchen was now a tool to help us entertain friends or a place to indulge our creative adventures.
Suddenly food was in fashion, and the kitchen followed.
No longer thought of as a place to toil over hot pans, the kitchen started to become the social hub of the home. Children were taught the basics of practical cookery within its walls, mums enjoyed their mid-morning coffee at the breakfast bar, and family members came and went as meals were prepared.
Appliances, fixtures and fittings were suddenly shown off with pride.
By the late twentieth century, the kitchen trend was open plan. With storage space that looked great and room to entertain, for possibly the first time in the history of the kitchen, it now truly was where we enjoyed spending quality time.
The kitchen of today
Today, more than at any other point in the history of the kitchen, the different ways in which we use this room have diversified widely. In houses, flats and bungalows of every shape and size, some of us have the time to cook fresh family meals while others arrive home at unusual hours of the day and need to prepare food for one quickly and easily. Many of us now work at home, sometimes from the kitchen worktop. Meanwhile, children play, partners relax with freshly brewed coffee, and families gather to unwind from the day.
We need our kitchen designs to be both versatile and adaptable. We need kitchen appliances that can keep pace with our hectic lifestyles and materials and surfaces that are durable and easy to keep clean. We need intelligent storage solutions to help us stay organised, and we need it all to look fantastic.
Our kitchens are much more than the traditional sense of the word; they’ve become a sustainable, clean space to help us make our lives simpler. They’re a multi-purpose room that can be the heart of our entire living space, one that reflects who we are and the current demands of our lifestyle in a way that no other room will.
The innovations of Granite and TREND Transformations
At Granite and TREND Transformations, we find the evolution of the kitchen and its fashion trends fascinating. This history has led us to where we are today; creating kitchens for people to enjoy, places where they can come together, enjoy food and share happy times.
We’ve taken kitchen innovation one step further with our etherium™ by E-Stone surfaces. Combining granite, quartz or recycled glass with ForeverSeal®, our advanced polymer resin, our surfaces are not only stylish and beautiful, but heat, stain, scratch, mould and mildew resistant, and never need to be resealed.
We prioritise your health too. All of our surfaces are in-built with Microban® product protection. Offering 24/7 safeguarding against bacteria, this antimicrobial technology helps to ensure your surfaces are safe and hygienic for the duration of the product.
Our 3D Design Tool is another innovation of the modern, digital age. Use it to help you visualise the layout and elements of your perfect kitchen while saving you time and money on lengthy design processes.
Kitchens have certainly come a long way since the days of the medieval versions, no longer merely a place for cooking but a multi-purpose, communal, creative space. If you are planning changes or new additions to your kitchen and need some advice, please get in touch with our design team, who are always pleased to help.