The kitchen is one of the most-used rooms in your home, and is especially important to the salability of your home if you decide to move, so it’s worth making the effort to assure that your remodel reflects a modern look, and incorporates all the latest efficiencies that buyers are looking for and will expect to find in the future. More importantly, the quality of your kitchen can have a huge impact on how much you enjoy your home, and many of today’s kitchen remodeling trends will not only provide a good return on your investment should you put your house on the market, they will also be valuable to you by increasing your enjoyment of your new kitchen.
Innovative Appliances Make a Huge Difference
The biggest factor in the efficiency of your kitchen is the appliances you install. More and more people are discovering the pleasure of cooking healthy, unique meals at home. Whether you cook for yourself and your family or enjoy entertaining large crowds, the best appliances you can afford will be a great investment.
Drinking filtered water instead of tap has become the norm in many households, so having a water dispenser in the refrigerator door meets both the need of having convenient access to filtration, and also serves the water chilled, which is easier and less messy that pulling out the ice bin—especially when little ones are involved.
The basic design of refrigerators hasn’t changed all that much, but French doors are becoming more popular, especially in kitchens where there is limited clearance between the fridge and an island. An addition that is new, however, is a compartment between the fridge and freezer compartments that has its own temperature and humidity setting, so it can be used for diverse purposes such as serving drinks or thawing meats. Digital controls are included in the newer high-end models.
Digital controls are also showing up on higher-end stoves, along with a fifth burner that is usually either a low-heat warmer, or positioned so that it can serve as an extension between two existing burners, so a long griddle pan could be used across them. Glass-top ranges are still popular for electric stoves, but if you can afford the best, induction burners also have the smooth cook top, but heat up faster and save energy.
Hardwood Flooring Is Making a Comeback
Hardwood requires more maintenance than vinyl, and can be damaged more easily, so fell out of favor in kitchens for a while, but it is so appealing that it has become a popular trend again. Hardwood is more expensive than most other floor materials, but when cared for properly, is much longer lasting, so is still a good investment.
The Backsplash Is a Design Focus
Like a fireplace mantle easily becomes the focus of a room, the backsplash in the kitchen has become a decorative element that pulls the rest of the décor together. Stone is a trend that is very appealing in traditional style and larger kitchens, and blends with most styles. For a more modern (and affordable) alternative, subway tiles are very popular this year. The traditional three-by-six-inch ceramic tiles have been expanded to include a wide range of sizes from an inch or two up to 16 inches on the long side, and are available in a range of colors and surface finishes. Black stainless steel is another new trend in backsplash tiles that is likely to be around for a while.
Popular Color Schemes
Black and white is big this year, and creates a very striking contrast in a kitchen. This scheme is an interesting combination of old-fashioned and modern. Cabinetry is available in either color, giving you many options for personalizing the design of your kitchen. If you like a more traditional look, but want a modern edge, white cabinets with black granite tops look very sharp, but flat-front black cabinets with sleek silver trim and white tops are about as modern looking as it gets.
If you don’t go for high contrast, another very popular trend in kitchen color this year is gray cabinets. They work beautifully with stone for a natural look, but also work with tile in most colors.
Incorporate Universal Design
One of the best things you can do when discussing your kitchen remodel with a general contractor, is to inquire about universal design. Basically, what that means is incorporating features that make your home universally accessible so that aging in place is possible, and all household members and guests are able to use all the features that are available. Children and those in wheelchairs are easily accommodated with universal design elements, but that doesn’t mean they have to be institutional looking! Today’s trends are modern and sleek in appearance, while being highly functional.
Appliances can be difficult for people in wheelchairs to use, but can easily be designed to accommodate them using universal design principles. Stovetops are normally just high enough to be inaccessible, but lowering the them a few inches makes them easily accessible, while being usable by people who are standing. Spacing between wall units and islands is also a concern, so before you contract with a remodeling contractor, make sure they have certified universal design experts who can make sure your kitchen remodeling plans include the latest best practices.
Storage is generally particularly poorly planned for the aged and disabled in traditional kitchen layouts and universal design takes that into consideration. Many features can be retrofitted into existing cabinets if you aren’t replacing them, but if you are able to include a complete do-over in your kitchen remodeling plans, you will be able to maximize the functionality of all available storage.
Make Storage Accessible to Everyone
Storage in the modern kitchen means much more than just having cabinets. It means making the best possible use of the space available and outfitting storage areas to keep things orderly and easy to access. Universal design rearranges things so that heavy items are not stored overhead, and low cabinets have slide-out shelving or baskets so that you never have to crouch down or crawl halfway into the cabinet to reach the back.
Corner cabinets are mostly wasted space without a Lazy Susan or other structure that swings out to provide access to stored items. Likewise, bottom cabinets and even deep ones on top are rarely utilized to their maximum potential because the contents are so hard to get to, so by installing roll-out baskets, every part of the storage area becomes useful.
A docking station for charging electronics is a nice addition that can help keep things in good shape and easy to get at. Space that is currently unused could become helpful with the installation of narrow cabinets that pull out.
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