We love this versatile metal, which has earned its enduring appeal in a range of guises (and to radically different effect). It can be bought in easy to handle sheets in various finishes from natural, brushed and mirrored to beaten and distressed, and develops a beautiful patina over time.
Here are our top seven ways to use copper in the kitchen.
1. For walls
Lucy Bathurst of Nest Design used copper sheeting in her home 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.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To create 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.
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.
This 'Aster' kitchen is available from Espresso Design, champions of sleek and superbly functional cookspaces created with both Cesar and Aster kitchens.
6. For worktops
Naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial, copper is a great choice for worktops as it’s easy to keep germ-free.
This design from Sola Kitchens shows just how modern this material can be. We also love the nifty retractable shelf.
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, though they're definitely an investment.
The vintage copper kitchen accessories arranged on the wall of this space in South Africa grant it a real country kitchen feel.
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