The very best kitchen designs offer efficiency and function along with visual appeal and spaciousness. But many elements work together to create that magic combination. When planning a kitchen renovation it's important to consider each of those elements and spend the time to ensure your new kitchen is designed well, with your family in mind.
Keep It Open
Open concept homes are not a design trend; they are a reflection of the active, busy lifestyle we all live. Having the kitchen connected to the main living area is essential. Having both rooms open to each other allows for flexible family time that encourages conversation and interaction.
Kitchen islands often serve as a visual break in open concept floor plans. When placed between the living area and the main kitchen, islands can also double as breakfast bars and impromptu dining tables, work desks and card tables. Think about other pieces of furniture that work to block space off without breaking the view. Sectional sofas and low entertainment units can also be used in this way, if only to a lesser extent.
However you lay out the room, open kitchen designs provide better function, more light and an inclusive atmosphere.
Lighting and Color
Lighting allows for better function in the kitchen, but it also illuminates features and maximizes the overall kitchen design. Although fixtures tend to be small parts of the budget, they can make a major difference to the overall feel of the room. Spend time finding that perfect fixture or set of fixtures and you'll be much happier in the newly remodeled kitchen.
Lighting should be bright, but without glare. Install task lighting for around the countertops, to ensure your work area is adequately bright, and save the dimmer switches and soft bulbs for the attached dining areas. Choose light fixtures that can be kept clean easily and put into plenty of switches-at least one at every entrance.
Color in the kitchen keeps the room alive and creates energy. Many decorators can get away with bold colors in the kitchen, since the bright lights and bustle of the room help to tone bold hues down. But more often a neutral base color is best with bold accents thrown in. All of the colors will need to work together, from the cabinetry and counters to the flooring, trim and wall colors.
Fixtures and Appliances
Appliances often anchor the space in your kitchen, providing both scope and style. Use that hierarchy to set a mood in your new kitchen. If you're going for a retro or country theme, look for traditional appliances like an old-fashioned cook stove and chunky gas grill. If the sleek look of contemporary living is more to your liking, consider the smooth-top ranges and a set of stainless steel kitchen appliances. The appliance retailers have a vast selection of styles in a wide price range. Shop around and capture just the right feel of your new space with kitchen appliances in the right style.
Fixtures are smaller than appliances, but no less important to the overall feel of the space. Think texture, shape and color when choosing fixtures. Brushed nickel is a hot finish that goes well with modern and traditional styled kitchens. You can find anything from an old world brass finish to shiny chrome and matte metals at your local plumbing shop.
Be sure to pull out all of the stops and opt for fixtures that deliver impressive function too. A spray nozzle will be well used and secondary drinking water taps seems more and more popular in today's homes. Consider the kitchen sink styling as well, and choose one that is durable, low maintenance and fairly simple to install.
Cabinets and Countertop
Cabinetry needs to be functional in size and shape, but the look of your new kitchen cabinets weighs heavy on the atmosphere. Dark wood cabinets are reminiscent of old country homes, while smooth white cabinets may lean towards a loft appearance. Of course there are countless options in between, but it's wise to remember that the cabinetry will make an impression even before the wall color will, so choose well.
Cabinets also provide storage, an absolute essential in your home. The type and design of your cabinets should match with the equipment and dishes you typically use. Do you have a collection of small kitchen appliances? Consider deep drawers to keep those appliances off of the countertop, yet still accessible. Do you have a large amount of dishes, glasses or coffee mugs? Be sure the shelving is deep and wide enough for your particular style of dishes.
Include a good mix of drawers, cupboards, sliding shelves and Lazy Susan-type features. This will ensure that everything has a place and can be quickly pulled out and put to use.
Good quality cabinetry is worth the money. If you need custom cabinets due to space or style requirements, don't be afraid to invest in better brands and solid styles. Well-made cabinetry lasts a lifetime, while cheaper manufacturing will deteriorate quickly. Durability and cleanliness are the top factors when installing new countertops. Choose something that will stand up to frequent abuse, since your counters are the main workspace of the kitchen. Concrete countertops can be completely customized and tinted for color, while natural stone counters provide a dependable, long lasting surface once they've been sealed. Be sure the surface can be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to provide a safe place for food preparation and think about the level of maintenance required before installing certain types of counters.
Many elements come together in well laid out kitchen designs, providing the function and comfort you want. Consider the benefits of open concept designs and be sure your light fixtures and wall color create a bright area. Kitchen appliances and plumbing fixtures anchor the space and allow you to work efficiently, while the cabinets make up the face of your kitchen. Design optimum storage and choose a countertop that's durable and low maintenance. Bringing these elements together will create the perfect kitchen for your family.