Over the last couple of years there has been a shift away from the clinical and flat kitchens of five or ten years ago. The major Italian kitchen companies are focusing on natural stones and patterned ceramics, rather than uniform composites.
Islands can be fully-clad in stone, giving a monolithic appearance. Sinks can be manufactured from ceramic or stone materials and hobs can be seamlessly built into worktops.
There has also been a shift towards integrated living, where kitchen and living spaces merge. Kitchen and living furniture are increasingly being tied together, so that there are no obvious divisions in open plan living.
Where a more minimal look is desired, certain kitchen elements or entire kitchens can be hidden behind pocketed doors, again allowing a blurring of kitchen, dining and living spaces.
Open shelving and glass-fronted units are increasingly being used to give kitchens more depth and interest, in a move away from the flat, planar trends of the past. Smoked glass, fabric backed glass and meshes are used to give translucent screening to elements in cupboards.