"We’re all aware that technological advances have infiltrated almost every aspect of our lives in the 21st century and in the home, our kitchens have not been ignored in these advances. From smart appliances to discreetly integrated gadgets, the hub of the home has become more important than ever in making our fast-paced lifestyles easier and more convenient."
Ingenious solutions abound in the modern kitchen today so have a look at the latest innovative products if you want to take your kitchen design to the next level.
There is plenty of choice when it comes to wi-fi enabled appliances, from washing machines that will complete their cycle when you wake in the morning to fridge freezers that will let you know when you’re out of milk.
Some require you to be in the vicinity to use them with controls via an app on your phone and others mean you can be a world away and still communicate with your appliances, meaning everything is accessible even when you aren’t at home.
Other smart appliances communicate with each other. For instance, your induction hob can be connected with your extractor fan, so the fan will come on automatically when it senses excessive steam in the room.
You can also use your smart home speaker to control a variety of appliances. It’s simply a matter of saying, “Hey Google, turn the oven on to preheat” or “Okay Google, turn the hob down.” While it may, at first glance, seem superfluous, these devices have allowed those with disabilities to retain more independence, allowing them to easily access controls that years ago, may have proven difficult.
These virtual assistants are capable of many things, from keeping track of shopping lists to mid-week recipe suggestions. They can connect to everything from lighting to heating with your voice acting as a remote control so you can brighten the lights in your kitchen during prep time or get your news and weather update whilst enjoying breakfast.
When shopping for appliances or smart devices, look out for products that specifically mention they are compatible with whichever smart speaker you own.
With only an internet connection required, you can bypass the need for traditional physical switches and minimising the technology displayed in your home. Normally connected wirelessly to a central hub which can be hidden out of sight, an automated system can switch lights on and off whilst on holiday or effortlessly change colours to set the mood.
They’ll also remotely connect to your thermostat, creating your perfect climate at home but you’ll need one that works with your boiler. If you’ve got a separate water tank or underfloor heating, check the product specifications to be sure it’s compatible.
With remotely controlled heating, you can use timers and schedules, enabling you to wake to a cosy kitchen just in time for breakfast or switching it on just before you get home from work.
You can even connect some automated home systems to a smart smoke alarm, notifying you of a burning dinner. You can also connect the thermostat to a motion sensor, for instance, lowering the temperature if you open a window.
The more devices you have, the more plug points you may need but with a pop-up socket or charging unit which is only visible when you need it, there are no ugly power points permanently on display. Consider installing one in an island to create a more streamlined look in a contemporary design and or to tuck away the tech in a period property.
Or you may want to consider a simple charging drawer to hide away laptops, tablets and mobile phones whilst they charge or consider connected plugs, allowing you to remotely turn all your appliances off at night to save energy.
While self-cleaning ovens have been around for a little while, the technology has advanced now to expand to double ovens and range cookers. Pyrolytic cleaning reduces baked on food (even fat and sugar) to ash with temperatures reaching around 500 degrees C, making the dread of cleaning an oven a simple task of wiping up any remaining residue.
Induction hobs have been big news for some time and the fuss is well deserved. While temperatures remain consistent and you can boil water in a flash, the surface remains simply warm to the touch, minimising any burns and making them incredibly family-friendly.
Flex induction even allows for cooking areas that expand to the size of your pan as opposed to a predetermined point.
You can make meal prep easier than ever with integrated recipes and screens which will not only talk you through dishes step by step, but it will also know exactly when the temperature of the pan is reached before moving on to the next step of the recipe.
With so much focus on healthier eating, steam is, well, gaining steam. Not only do steam ovens provide a quick and easy way of preparing meals, they reduce any requirement for oil. Unlike cooking in water, water is heated via an integrated tank, creating steam which flows in and around your food, ensuring perfect results every time.
With easy to use touch screens and faster cooking times, it’ll cook vegetables to perfection whilst retaining all of their nutritional goodness and ensuring your favourite cakes and meats are moist and delicious.
With downdraft extractors, there is now no longer a need for an extractor fan with hobs that have a built-in extractor fan. They even have a water reservoir to collect any spills.
There’s no need to wait on a noisy kettle with boiling water taps making a brew easier than ever. A thermally-insulated tank with a heater keeps the water in the tank hot and filters remove any impurities, handy not just for your brew but also when filling pots or cleaning your sink.