HOW TO… USE COPPER IN THE KITCHEN

Warm, reflective and antibacterial, copper is perfect for use in a kitchen

Copper kitchen cupboard fronts with Corian worktop
Dupont

We love this versatile metal, which is naturally antibacterial so perfect for use in a kitchen. And, it can be bought in easy to handle sheets in various finishes from natural, brushed, beaten, mirrored to distressed. Here’s our top seven ways to use it…

1 For walls Lucy Bathurst of Nest Design used copper sheeting in her home (below) behind her kitchen worktop and a cosy seating area. ‘To maintain it, just wipe with soapy water and buff’, she says. ‘It’s like polishing an old pair of leather shoes. It comes up shiny every time.’

Built in bench with dining table and copper sheet on wall
Lucy Bathurst of Nest Design has used copper sheeting to great effect in her kitchen.
Jake Curtis

2 For splashbacks Copper is surprisingly practical for a splashback because it can easily withstand heat and oil splashes. But it’s not one to choose if you don’t like patina. Used behind a hob, it’ll naturally age and weather more over time than if used anywhere else.

Copper splashback in kitchen
For this flat in Hackney, architecture firm Studio 304 installed clever cabinetry with integrated appliances and an alcove clad in copper, which offers drama and durability.
Studio 304

3 For your units. There was a time when stainless-steel was the de rigueur finish for kitchen units, until we all admitted it was a bit of a pain to keep clean, and was rather cold and industrial if not handled well. The thing with copper is it’s just as much maintenance, but my goodness does it look warm and wonderful. And it’ll only improve with age.

Copper kitchen cupboard fronts with Corian worktop
Arguably the copper-clad cupboard fronts rather steal most of the attention in this kitchen, but anything less than a seamless Corian worktop would have killed the look.
Dupont

4 For taps Cheap, accessible and versatile, copper pipes can be fashioned into virtually anything, from taps to dish racks, curtain poles and clothes rails. Jamie Blake of Blakes London interior designers, describes the trend for copper taps as ‘plumbing stripped back to its bare minimum’. It’s also a pleasing visual contrast to other more luxe surface materials.

Marble kitchen worktop and splashback with wall mounted bespoke copper tap
Hand-crafted copper taps bring an industrial edge to this sleek marble kitchen by Blakes London. To make your own all you need to do is decide where to bring your pipes out of the wall, but rather than attaching them to a ready-bought tap, have your plumber shape the pipes. Fix them to the wall with wall brackets and fit basic stop-cock plumbing valves for the taps. Caveat: copper conducts heat very well, making it potentially very hot to the touch. The cost is mainly for the labour involved – anything from £200–£300 plus approximately £50 for materials.
Blakes London

5 For cooker hoods Copper looks amazing when paired with wood as both materials are naturally warm and textural. But here it’s really allowed to sing by being combined with a dark splashback and white wall cupboards, which effectively step back and let this gleaming hood be the centre of attention.

Kitchen with copper drawer fronts
This “Aster” kitchen is available from Espresso Design, champions of sleek and superbly functional cookspaces created with both Cesar and Aster kitchens.
Gianni Leonardi

6 For worktops Naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial copper is a great choice for worktops as it’s easy to keep germ-free.

Dark wood kitchen with copper worktop and sink
This design from Sola Kitchens shows just how modern this material can be. We also love the nifty retractable shelf!
Sola Kitchens

7 For accessories Copper pots and pans have been used for centuries for professional cooking as they conduct heat so well, and we’re happy to note that they can also be used to bring a touch of on-trend metallic or a French rustic feel to any domestic kitchen too, it’s all in the style of the piece. Caveat: there are definite pros and cons to copper cookware though.

Traditional kitchen with wall mounted copper cookware
Copper kitchen accessories decorate the wall of this South African kitchen giving it a real country kitchen feel.
Sven Alberding/Bureaux

And for even more inspiration on all things kitchens ELLE Decoration Kitchens Volume 3 is available absolutely FREE with the April 2019 ‘Decorating’ edition of ELLE Decoration, on sale at all good UK newsagents

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