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11 Jan 2021

The New Normal: How a Pandemic Has Shaped Kitchen Design

Darren Watts, Wren Kitchens’ Showroom Development and Design Director, reveals the changes to kitchen design buying habits following the global pandemic.


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It may be too early to truly say the permanent design changes brought about by the pandemic, however, at Wren Kitchens, we have seen an increase in specific trends since lockdown first began.

Multi-functional spaces

With so many venues closed and options for socialising outside the home limited, most people in the UK have spent more time in their house than ever before.

Since the pandemic, the kitchen now more than ever has several uses such as an office, a bar, space to play games, watch TV or even a gym. People are designing their kitchens with multi-functional uses in mind and are much more free-flowing.

An open-plan design with plenty of designated seating and worktop space is key in achieving this. Islands and worktop overhangs are perfect ways to integrate these new zones, as well as the ability to be flexible with the space such as fold-up chairs.

L-shaped and peninsula layouts are popular

People are looking to get the most out of their spaces now more than ever as they spend more time in their kitchens to eat, work and play.

We have seen a rise in incorporating L-shaped or peninsula layouts, which expands the surface space beyond that of a normal kitchen counter and creates extra seating in small spaces where an additional table would not fit.

This layout is perfect if you can’t fit an island into your design, as it still offers similar benefits with extra worktop space and seating areas.

More efficient appliances

As well as getting more out of their space, people are also looking at getting more out of their appliances as they spend more time at home and appreciate the potential for modernisation.

A growing trend is hot water taps, self-cleaning ovens and induction hobs. As well as optimising appliance use and saving time, these appliance upgrades also save space; with a hot water tap, there is no need for a kettle on a counter surface, and a self-cleaning oven negates the storage space needed for extra cleaning materials. People are now looking for a slicker, cleaner and more efficient kitchen design.

Keeping it clean

Of course, hygiene is paramount now more than ever, and we’ve seen a surge in kitchen design specifically around this aspect.

Sleek, handleless designs are paramount especially those that are clean-faced – for daily cleaning tasks, this creates effortless work; with one clean swoop you’re done, rather than trying to clean more intricate designs in and around grooves and handles.

Non-porous worktops are also key in creating a hygienic kitchen. We’d advise our Xena Quartz which is not only on-trend and aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but it’s incredibly dense and compact, so it inhibits the growth of bacteria or its transfer on to foods and objects.

There’s a reason why chefs use stainless steel in professional kitchens, and it’s because it’s an excellent material to clean down easily, plus it doesn’t have any pores, so it’s virtually impossible for dirt or bacteria to gain a foothold. It’s certainly making a comeback for splashbacks and appliances.

Integrated storage for cleaning products is also becoming popular such as our broom tower which houses all those taller items such as mops and brooms and also has shelving to accommodate all your cleaning products.

Smart technology enhances convenience within the kitchen

Believe it or not, technology works wonders with helping around the kitchen, especially when it comes to saving time, and customers now more than ever are embracing it to make life easier and more efficient.

You can remotely use your smart device to control functions on your washer, fridge oven or microwave (to name a few!) whether you are at home, in the office or on the road.

Smart ovens and ranges are rising in popularity. And, we can see why – you can preheat your meal, check cooking status, receive real-time notifications and save custom cooking instructions for your favourite recipes; all done remotely through the appliance app.

To get on top of the laundry, smart washing machines are a great option as you can track progress and start or pause cycles as you’re getting on with your day.

It’s so simple to use; you don’t need to be a tech expert – simply connect your appliance to your mobile device by following quick and easy instructions to get going.

More affordable designs

With everyone inside for long periods, it seems people who may not have considered a kitchen upgrade before are now envisioning the advantages of investing in their home. Homeowners have found that funds which were saved to spend on holidays or events have been unexpectedly available to enable them to make a difference to their home and lifestyle.

At Wren, we have seen our most affordable designs most popular this year such as the clean-lined Infinity J pull and the traditional Infinity Shaker. It’s all about offering people affordable, bespoke luxury which is designed specifically for them, their family and their needs.

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