Half a century of kitchen trends

Back when we started Drumoak Kitchens in 1972, a lot of things were very different. We’d just joined the EU and Spanish package holidays were the height of sophistication. Oil had come to Aberdeen and looking good meant flares, platform shoes and mini-skirts. Glam rock and heavy metal filled the charts and space hoppers were all the rage. 

The seventies was the decade that saw most change when it came to kitchens. At the beginning of the 1970s only 70% of households had a fridge and about two thirds of homes had a washing machine. A decade later and 92% had a fridge and 80% had a washing machine. Freezers were still a new-fangled luxury, found in just 7% of homes. Dishwashers, microwaves, boiling water taps and decent coffee machines were still decades away. 

In terms of interiors, warm, earthy colours and bold patterns dominated. Even bathrooms were a riot of colour with suites in avocado or burnt orange. Everyone desired a farmhouse style pine kitchen, where they would rustle up posh dinner party delights like prawn cocktails or Black Forest Gateau. 

In the 80s the focus changed as we became more high tech. It was an era of aspirational yuppies, Italian furniture in black leather and chrome and a more international approach to food. Kitchens became places to entertain and show off your culinary skills as celebrity chefs took over the TV and bestsellers lists. Everyone had a Delia cook book. The rustic kitchen look gave way to sleek minimalist designs in white, cream or black. U-shaped kitchens and island units or breakfast bars became trendy as kitchens became more formal entertaining spaces, complete with colour-pop bar stools and granite worktops.  

The nineties saw another shift in kitchen use, as we abandoned our dining rooms and ate ready meals in front of the TV. The frenetic urban vibe of the 80s gave way to a more relaxed approach, with painted wood kitchens and easy-clean laminate work surfaces and flooring. Pastel accessories and window dressings made a comeback too. 

Fast forward to today and kitchens have become the heart of the home once more. The 2000s saw a move towards open plan, multifunctional living spaces. Family homes often combined dining spaces and play areas as family rooms, with patio doors leading to the garden. New build flats often had open plan kitchen and living areas.

We became foodies, sourcing exotic ingredients and experimenting with different cuisines and eating more healthily. Our food became much more global, and our kitchen gadgets changed to reflect this. Built in appliances like upscale barista style coffee machines, internet connected fridges, under-counter wine fridges and woks became the must have features, as larger range cookers dominated. Baking also made a huge comeback, thanks to TV and lockdown, with stand mixers, juicers and blenders becoming desirable. 

In the fifty years that we’ve been designing, manufacturing and installing our kitchens, some things have changed beyond recognition, but I’m proud to say that our commitment to great design and craftsmanship
remains constant. 

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