If you believe the real estate adage that kitchens sell houses, then last week on The Block could be the biggest indication yet as to who will win the series.
Kerrie and Spence took out the top prize with their elegant, high-tech kitchen, while Hayden and Sara made it into second place for their great choice of orientation. Hans and Courtney, however, were criticised on the placement of their kitchen and its disconnection from the main living area.
Functionality, natural materials and moody colour palettes were among the key trends showcased on the series, but what can we expect to see for kitchens in 2019?
There was a definite nod towards a moodier colour palette in contestants' kitchens, with Kerrie and Spence and Bianca and Carla both opting for dark cabinetry.
Colour and concept manager at Haymes Paint, Wendy Rennie, says the dark kitchen is a trend we'll see continue into 2019.
"Dark kitchens and mixed materiality is the key to the new aesthetic," she says. "Matte black is still the number one trend in kitchens. The key is to utilise these materials in a way that embraces the intimacy and warmth they can provide through mixing materials to ensure they feel like the heart of the home and not too overwhelming or stoic."
Interior designer Camilla Molders agrees darker palettes will continue to remain popular, while also predicting a return to colour in the kitchen next year.
"Colour is coming back. People are getting more comfortable with using it in their cabinetry and splashbacks."
Related: View the five Gatwick apartments for sale
- Kerrie and Spence: 1/34 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
- Hans and Courtney: 2/34 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
- Sara and Hayden: 3/34 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
- Norm and Jess: 4/34 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
- Bianca and Carla: 5/34 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
Chef Massimo Mele says "there's always a need for ease and efficiency in the kitchen". Mele predicts that we'll see a growing demand for induction cookers for their efficiency and ease to clean.
"Another growing trend is cooking with a steam oven. The Electrolux oven is great for quick, delicious, stress-free cooking with minimal washing up."
In a nod to minimalism, Molders has seen a rise in invisible appliances. "I've seen clients use stove tops that have an inbuilt fan in the benchtop that pops up so you don't have to have a rangehood above the stove. It's a lot neater."
While not a new trend, the use of natural materials will dominate in 2019 as people continue to make more sustainable and eco-friendly design choices.
"The use of natural materials is still important, especially granite and marble tops. [For a client's home] we used bamboo as the cabinetry source and a timber bench top. Years on it's still perfect," says Molders.
While not a "trend" in itself, kitchen functionality was the hot topic when it came judging last week's rooms. Despite their kitchen being named one of the show's most beautiful, Jess and Norm were marked down to third place for the functionality problems their room presented.
When it comes to designing the layout of a kitchen, Molders says it's best to stick to the tried and tested.
"The golden triangle just makes such complete sense, otherwise it's bad planning. You need functional things around. Your dishwasher needs to be near your sink, and rubbish and compost bins need to be accessible."
As a chef and renovator of three kitchens to date, Mele says you can't underestimate careful planning.
"Ensuring everything has a place makes our lives so much easier. For example, hiding the rubbish bin in the island bench, introducing a butler's pantry to house all our kitchen appliances, and mounting the steam oven and microwave above the bench have been essential to keeping everything safe while still accessible."
Trends to farewell
Just like the all-white bedroom, the kitchen is another room of the home that's heading to the dark side.
"I think there is definitely going to be a break away from the 'all white' kitchen. They [kitchens] will start to diversify with mixed materials and mid-toned neutrals, moving toward the darker trends for those who don't want to go completely dark," says Rennie.
Coming in last place for their bad layout, Hans and Courtney took a gamble and opted for metallic cabinetry. However, this is one trend Molders believes won't date well.
"I'm wary about using too many metals and coloured tapware ... When you start seeing too much of it, you know it's a dud."
This story originally appeared on domain.com.au.