The 11 Best Kitchen Design Ideas of 2016

Let’s be honest. The old adage, ‘Not everything that glitters is gold’ applies today more than ever before. With the speed at which modern design trends come and go, it’s vitally important to incorporate the truly ‘golden’ trends into your interiors, whilst letting the merely ‘glittering’ ones pass you by. We’ve sifted through the up-and-coming kitchen design trends of 2016 so that your new kitchen will look incredible for as long as you need it to.


Caesarstone Fresh Concrete kitchen countertops in 13mm

New, ultra-thin 12mm and 13mm countertops have gradually been taking centre stage. While high-end, imported kitchen design brands have been leading the way with this trend locally, don’t be shy to press your kitchen designer to follow suit. Thin countertops are best suited to sleek, modern designs, but can be used in transitional and industrial kitchen designs equally well when applied with discernment.

Head product designer at Caesarstone International, Mor Krisher, weighs in on this year’s kitchen countertop designs, “The natural look of marble and granite is trending. I think that people are looking for something more exciting than the clean and simple look of solid colours. The variety of 'natural look' quartz slabs is growing in step with this demand, giving people the opportunity to get the look of natural stone whilst avoiding all of its maintenance hassles.”

Not only are natural stone looks trending in kitchen countertops and backsplashes, but the rough, industrial look of concrete is also huge right now, according to Mor. “I think the rough, more sophisticated, concrete-inspired look will become more popular than just matching the concrete colour. We may even see a calibrated ‘natural concrete’ look emerging,” he says.

Spoiler alert: Caesarstone will be releasing a new collection of 13mm tops in trendy colours and finishes come April 2016​. Hello ultra-thin countertops and matching splashbacks!


Caesarstone Clamshell is applied on the countertops and waterfall leg in this industrial kitchen with a sea view

Feature lighting and clever LED lighting placements aside, this year it’s time to make use of some free feature lighting – the sun. Bring the outdoors inside with large windows, windows as splashbacks or even glass doors and walls! Not only will you benefit from all the gorgeous natural light you’re letting into your kitchen, but the garden greenery will have a noticeable effect on the ambience of your kitchen interior. Of course, this may mean that you need to do some extra garden landscaping now that the garden is a kitchen feature too. Additionally, you might need to get quotes for double glazing to keep the warmth in for winter and the heat out during summer. #SustainableDesign.

This central courtyard garden is the focal point of every room in the house and flows beautifully into the kitchen featuring Caesarstone Pure White


You don’t get more authentic than timber and Calacatta Nuvo Caesarstone countertops, inspired by Calacatta marble surfaces

As consumers, we’re not the naive folk we once were. In decades past we were tantalised and somewhat bedazzled by glitz and glam, surrealism and too-good-to-be-true products and promises. But shifts in economic, political and social realities have seen us begin to pursue more honest, tangible ideals instead. Add to that our growing obsession (rightly so) with nature, the outdoors and all things organic, and you land up with ‘raw’ kitchen designs that celebrate authentic materials, and interiors that tell ‘real’ stories.

What do we mean by authentic materials? Think quartz and marble surfaces for starters. According to Caesarstone Kitchen of the year winner, Adolf Conradie​, “A major trend worldwide is the use of marble-inspired surfaces, with the emphasis being the pattern on the counter tops and not the cupboards.”

Other ‘raw’ materials to include are rough woods, metals and glass. Some great places to use them in your design include countertops, backsplashes, kitchen stools, styling, accessories, kitchen gadgets and even appliances.


Open plan living allows a perfect flow from the living and dining area into the kitchen. This kitchen is the Caesarstone Kitchen of the Year winner of 2015 by Adolf Conradie of Optima Kitchens and homeowner Tom Creamer and features Pure White Caesarstone

The winning kitchen from another angle, capturing the triple volume ceiling

Designing the kitchen as part of a greater open plan living space has become commonplace in modern homes. Ask yourself, when did you last see a separate, residential kitchen?

Philip Richards of blu_line comments, “There is definitely an enduring trend of the modern kitchen being open plan. Seeing the kitchen as part of the living space is not only sensible but also
relational and this means that the modern kitchen needs to be both show kitchen as well as cook’s kitchen.”

That can be a tall order for any designer, but it is certainly possible with integrated appliances and advancements in storage solutions. Philip continues, “As the dining, living and kitchen spaces are now cooperating, the kitchen design has become the source of inspiration as the clean lines, neutral colours and interesting textures offer a durable platform from which the interior can be designed”.

In short: make your kitchen the main stage of your daily living and entertaining!


A finalist kitchen in the Caesarstone Kitchen of the Year competition of 2015, this kitchen by Lyall Wilcox of Bristle et Hues and homeowner Diane Heron creates the perfect new age contemporary country kitchen, featuring London Grey Caesarstone countertops

While we often use modern kitchen design as our plumbline for trends, country or traditional kitchen styles still have serious klout when it comes to popular kitchen looks. Country kitchens are more ‘homey’ and can create a warm, inviting ambience, whereas modern kitchens are often minimal and a bit cold.

According to interior designer Lyall Wilcox of Bristle et Hues, country kitchens are getting a fresh take this year with a more modern look with simpler lines and finishes. “The incorporation of darker woods like mahogany and walnut will give the 2016 classic kitchen colour palette a contemporary feel,” he says.

Lyall adds that we can also expect more attention to detail with the same material being used in different ways giving more textural contrast, but a subtler finish.


Shitake Caesarstone tops perfectly capture the mottled neutrals trend we will be seeing this year

Applying a lighter and darker shade of the same colour creates an elegant effect in any kitchen

It looks like neutral colour palettes are here to stay, but 2016 will usher in neutrals with different colour undertones.

Caesarstone International’s Mor Krisher comments, “In terms of colour I think people are looking to add hints of colour to the monotone, pale kitchens of last year. I’m expecting to see greys becoming more beige-grey and even greenish and brown. I think the dark, bold grey we started seeing in 2015 will continue to feature in this year’s kitchen designs.”

When it comes to the colour palettes of more traditional kitchen designs, Lyall Wilcox advises, “This year’s country kitchens will incorporate softer colours, dirty pastels, pale blues and green greys. White will still be popular but tinted whites will make more of an appearance, I still see pale greys being increasingly used”.

To sum up, pure white kitchens will become less prevalent, with darker neutrals and ‘dirty’ pastels more forcefully entering the spotlight.


Caesarstone’s Statuario Maximus is the star of the show here, helping to create a more textured white colour scheme

This kitchen displays incredible use of texture through rough cement wall finishes, to grained wood cabinets contrasted with smooth stainless steel fittings

Textures are an even bigger deal this year if that’s even possible. Instead of using colour to add interest to your design, the trendiest designs will focus on bringing in textures through multiple material combinations within the same tonal range.

The International Trend Institute recently spoke of a trend towards ‘warm touch’ in interiors, indicating a return to warm, honest materials that invite touch. Philip Richards of blu_line adds, “We are seeing this (trend) interpreted in the release of authentic materials that have texture and depth to them.”

If you’re an undying fan of white or monotone kitchens, this trend will add a fresh touch and a sense of class to your overall kitchen design. Give your kitchen longevity by diversifying the textures you use in your design. Think marble-inspired, Caesarstone kitchen countertops, white-washed timber cabinetry, painted brickwork, subway tile backsplashes, a taupe Persian carpet, oak flooring... You get the idea.


This is the new go-to kitchen island for small spaces – make your kitchen island the dining area, homework hub and food preparation spot to save space!

A seating area at dining table height worked into your island can be a lot more comfortable and inviting than the traditional bar stool height. What might suit your needs best?

While the most luxurious of houses often supply reams of space in which to plan their new kitchen designs, more homes need to get creative when it comes to servicing the food preparation and entertainment needs of their owners. Enter, the multifunctional island.

In smaller spaces, the kitchen island must become the dining table, the homework hub and still be used for food preparation and storage. Although we saw this trend emerge internationally not long ago, we foresee the dining-table-height island surface that’s slotted into the actual island, coming into its own in South Africa in 2016.

Every host knows that when you move the people from one space into another, you risk losing the ambience you’ve so carefully established during the event. What’s lovely about this trend is it will keep things cosy for friends and family alike, with no risk of shattering your good vibes.


The industrial flavour is not going anywhere this year – try pairing Caesarstone’s Piatra Grey with other industrial design elements for a cohesive space

Raw timber, concrete finishes and metals are some of the base finishes you need to create an industrial theme in your kitchen

Steampunk was originally a subgenre of science fiction that incorporated technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century, steam-powered machinery. This genre has recently found its way into restaurant, bar and kitchen design, but its more diluted form is more commonly identified as the ‘industrial’ style.

With developments in concrete-inspired surfaces such as Raw Concrete Caesarstone​, and the prominence of exquisite metallics such as copper, stainless steel and iron, you may have already seen this design style creeping into your everyday surrounds. According to Adolf Conradie of Optima Kitchens, winner of the 2015 Caesarstone Kitchen of the Year Awards, “There is a definite trend towards the loft or industrial look. White will always be popular, but more dramatic, darker colours will become popular also to fit in with this trend”.

How can you include some steampunk and industrial design inspiration into your new kitchen? Think concrete- and marble-inspired countertops and backsplashes, copper kitchen accessories and cookware, cast or wrought iron, roughly hewn timber, exposed brickwork and large factory-style windows.


Your relationship with your designer is paramount to creating your dream kitchen. Make sure you find a kitchen designer who understands your needs and has a similar style to you for the best result!

Web 2.0 has made experts out of all of us. We’ve never had so much access to information and know-how from every corner of the globe, allowing us to learn about virtually everything under the sun. These dynamics have had an incredible impact on baby boomers and millennials alike, spiking our confidence in the opinions we now so freely share with the world. This is the backdrop to which our designer-client relationships now play out.

A few decades ago homeowners would have routinely surrendered their entire kitchen design projects to the kitchen designer, but not so today. The designer-client relationship is far more of a collaboration process.

Take advantage of this swing in dynamics and approach your designer fully prepared. Create a Pinterest board filled with images that inspire you; read magazine articles and online pieces about kitchen design trends; pick your must-have finishes and think carefully about what your new kitchen needs to be able to do for you before you have your first planning meeting.

Approach your new kitchen design project as an equal partner in the collaboration and you won’t go wrong. For some kitchen design collaboration inspiration, check out this video of an inspiring Cape Town designer-homeowner relationship!​


Move over smart phones, the smart kitchen is here. If you’re always on the lookout for new gadgets and innovations, you’ll love this collection of inspired ideas for your new kitchen design. While phone and remote-operated appliances are around the corner, here are some innovations you can enjoy right now. 

Soon you will be able to create a kitchen primed for entertaining, whether it’s an built-in iPod docking station, or a platform to programme all of your household appliances!

Retractable, energy-efficient extractor fans: get rid of cooker hoods that block your view by installing an extractor fan that packs itself away into your surface when you’re not using it.

Hidden power outlets: your designer can hide away a device power station in a drawer, or place your plug points beneath cabinetry to ensure your backsplash stays beautiful.

A built-in vacuum system: instead of getting out the vacuum cleaner, now you can have a vacuum system built into the kickboard of your kitchen – just sweep the dirt into the opening. Or one step further… robot vacuum. 

Water and coffee to go: now you can get a tap system installed that offers you filtered, cold, boiling or sparkling water on demand, or even a separate tap you can time for morning lattes and espressos

Now that you’re clued up on the latest kitchen design trends for 2016, be sure to enter your brand new kitchen into the Caesarstone Kitchen of the Year competition​ for a chance to win R50,000 for you and R50,000 for your designer / homeowner.