The Contemporary Cooking Space
A modern kitchen provides a comfortable gathering spot to socialize, entertain, and reconnect with friends and family – and a well-designed kitchen will stylishly accommodate one of life’s most important (and sometimes enjoyable) activities. Kitchen renovations are often expensive, overwhelming projects, making it even more important to incorporate a timeless design and quality materials that will stand up over time. The look and feel of your kitchen also helps set the tone for your entire house, so follow these tips to ensure you’ll love your design for years to come.
1. Invest in your appliances.
Your refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher are not only important functional elements in your kitchen, but as major focal points in the room, they have a significant influence on the overall feel of the space. When shopping for appliances, select something durable with a modern, timeless aesthetic that will elevate your kitchen’s design. Stainless steel is always a safe choice, or opt for a black metal finish for a sleeker look.
True offers high-end refrigerators that feature innovative shelf layouts and luxury accents, but Miele provides a range of stylish options for a smaller investment. Samsung has also recently acquired Dacor and launched a new line of premium built-in kitchen appliances that will be available in 2017. Keep an eye out for a future post on appliances, where we’ll break down some of the most important must-haves for your kitchen.
2. Choose durable materials.
Since your kitchen is such a high-traffic area, you’ll want to ensure that the materials you use in your design can withstand everyday use. Countertops made of granite or quartz will provide you with a stylish kitchen workspace that’s both durable and easy to clean, and for effortless maintenance, consider using fashionable outdoor materials for your upholstery. Those materials are built to stand up against the elements, so you won’t have to worry about spills or regular wear-and-tear.
Floors should also be easy to clean and capable of withstanding near-constant foot traffic. Popular choices that never go out of style are hardwood, porcelain tile, and vinyl. If you love to cook and spend a lot of time in your kitchen, softer materials like vinyl or even cork are great options since they are a little easier on your feet.
3. Stick to neutrals (with vibrant accents).
Kitchen trends may be short-lived, but neutrals will never go out of style. Decorating with warm, classic colors is a fool-proof way to ensure your kitchen will never look dated. Use neutral shades of white or grey for your walls and furniture, and add accent pieces in bright colors or interesting patterns to let your personality shine through. These can always be swapped out when you need a change, or when you’re looking to incorporate new seasonal trends.
Your backsplash is another opportunity to inject your personal design aesthetic into the room, but try to keep it timeless and classic to get the most mileage out of your investment. Metal, glass, ceramic, and stone are ideal materials for a stylish backsplash that will stand the test of time.
4. Use a variety of textures.
Add visual interest to your kitchen by incorporating a range of textural elements. Combining different kinds of metals, switching between glossy and matte finishes, and including organic materials like woven baskets, wood, stone, and even plants can bring an extra burst of life into your room.
A carefully selected rug will offer contrasting texture and can help warm up your space, but you’ll need to choose on that is easily washable and won’t wear out with regular use. Using an absorbent entryway or bathroom rug is perfect in front of the sink, as it will soak up any spills and provide a softer surface for you to stand on while you clean up – in addition to bringing more texture or color into your space.
5. Incorporate easy updates.
Even a timeless kitchen can include trendy details. Leaving yourself opportunities for easy upgrades will allow you to stay fashionable without having to undertake an entire renovation. Simple things like painting your cabinets, updating your cabinet hardware, or installing new faucets can help you embrace seasonal trends in small ways that can easily be swapped out when they start looking dated.
6. Layer your lighting.
Lighting is one of the most important elements to any design – particularly in the kitchen. To make the most of your space and keep it both functional and attractive, tackle your lighting in layers.
Ambient lighting offers general illumination, task lighting focuses brighter light where you need it the most (like near the sink, above the range, and beneath cabinets), and focal lighting is used to highlight specific design features like your kitchen island or architectural details. For additional style, include decorative lighting – intended solely to offer a cohesive feel to your kitchen design.
7. Make it work.
This is a necessary step to ensure your kitchen can be used as a multi-purpose space. The main thing to consider regarding your room’s functionality is the placement of three major workspaces – the refrigerator, your cooktop, and your sink. Ideally, these should form a triangle when connected by an imaginary line, but ultimately, your lifestyle will dictate how your appliances are arranged.
A well-designed kitchen should also include functional storage solutions, an adequately sized sink, sufficient counter space for effective food preparation, and plenty of comfortable seating.
8. Limit clutter.
As the heart of the home, kitchens can become a catch-all for all kinds of clutter. It’s a good idea to not only provide stylish options for collecting items like electronics, work documents, mail, and more, but also to keep décor to a minimum – a busy space like a kitchen can easily be overwhelmed with too much accessorizing.
Invest in stylish items that are both attractive and functional to decorate, instead. Hanging art on the walls, displaying beautiful glassware or favorite kitchen accessories on open shelves, or leaving attractive trays and cutting boards on the counter can showcase your personality without adding visual clutter.
Your kitchen is where you do most of your living. Designing a beautiful, workable kitchen space is an important part of creating a home where you can feel comfortable and enjoy yourself.