The kitchen is probably the most commonly renovated room in the house. After all, when well-designed and built, a good kitchen is the heart of the home, and where much of the family’s time can be spent. Whether your kitchen is simply outdated and needs to be brought into the current century, or is in need of a major overhaul to improve its efficiency, investing your money into a professional kitchen renovation can be the single best investment in your home.
Cabinet style can date a kitchen more than anything else. They are the single largest design element in the average kitchen and therefore dominate the look. If you’re still suffering with builder’s-grade melamine or tired-looking oak cabinet doors, you’ve got a few choices. You could simply replace the offending doors if the existing cabinets are in a configuration that works for you, and they are still sturdy and functional. Or, you could get everything ripped out and replaced with all-new cabinets. It’s a great opportunity to redesign the layout to make it more functional at the same time that you give the room a totally new look.
Current popular trends include having different colors on upper and lower cabinets- for instance, you could have upper cabinets in white and lower ones finished in grey. You might also choose to have glass-fronted upper cabinets to showcase the more decorative items in your kitchen cupboards, such as glassware and dishes.
Long gone are the days where every kitchen had a laminate countertop. Today, choices include new and improved laminate options, granite, marble, and tile. It’s up to you to find a balance between looks, functionality, and price. Some people still want the relatively low cost of laminate, with a wide range of color choice and ease of upkeep. Granite has become ubiquitous in kitchens everywhere, with its durability, heat and satin resistance, and natural beauty. Marble is another natural stone product that can be found in many kitchens, and is often more reasonably priced than granite. Tile countertops are also heat and stain resistant. Solid surface countertops are possibly the most common material used today. Less expensive than natural stone, it can be touched up with a light sanding and will look as good as new.
If you’ve got the room, an island is a great way to increase your counter and cupboard space. In recent years the classic kitchen island has grown in size and function to be one of the dominant style trends. A large kitchen island can perform several purposes: you can install your cooktop in an island, with either an overhead vent hood or a downdraft vent. Sinks are also increasingly popular in a large island, whether it’s your main sink or an auxiliary one. The new islands are wider and longer, allowing for a dining bar with stools along one side in addition to sinks or cooktops.
Design-wise, it’s a current trend to differentiate the island from the rest of the kitchen with cabinets in a different color, giving them more of a feel of furniture rather than a built-in. You can also use the same countertop material as for the rest of the kitchen, or go for something different to make the island stand out. For instance, you could install granite on the regular countertops and a butcher-block top on the island.
The most popular trend in backsplashes continues to be subway tiles. Whether you’ve got a modern minimalist esthetic or a traditional country kitchen, they create a clean, unobtrusive backdrop for your kitchen, while at the same time adding just a bit of visual interest. While white glazed tiles are the most common option, you can also use colored or glass tiles to create a different look.
If your kitchen hasn’t been touched for fifteen years or more, it’s a good bet that you’ve got a basic two-bowl stainless steel sink. While that’s still a perfectly good option, you’ve got lots of other materials and styles to choose from today. The farmhouse sink has become a modern design classic. Whether it’s a traditional white ceramic style, or a sleek, modern steel version, these over-sized sinks are both functional and make a huge design statement in your renovated kitchen.
Dishwashers are hardly optional in today’s kitchens- and the new models are very quiet and energy efficient. It’s worth upgrading while you renovate.
Gone are the days of a large upright refrigerator dominating the kitchen décor. Today, refrigerators are often hidden behind doors that coordinate with the surrounding cabinetry. Other refrigerator ideas include having separate refrigerated drawers in the island for snacks.
What about actually cooking? You can go with the traditional gas or electric stove, or a hybrid model with a gas cooktop and electric oven. If you want separate cooktops and oven, you might find an induction cooktop more to your taste.
The flooring should be the last thing to be installed, but should certainly not be a design after thought! After all, the floor covers a lot of square feet and will be as dominant a décor element as your cabinets. There’s probably more floor to be covered than bare wall to be painted! So what are the newest flooring options?
Vinyl is a word that used to mean either stick-on tiles or sheet flooring, and an older kitchen is almost certain to have one of those two options. But today, vinyl flooring for a kitchen is much more likely to be luxury vinyl flooring planks that are installed like laminate flooring, and provide some cushioning underfoot, along with being moisture- resistant and long-wearing. They’re available in a wide variety of finishes, including wood, stone and tile.
Cork flooring is durable, provides cushioning, and is derived from natural sources, making it an eco-friendly choice for homeowners. Ceramic or stones tiles are extremely durable and water-resistant.
A kitchen renovation is something you want to do once and do right. You’re going to be investing a lot of money and put up with a considerable disruption of your routine while the work takes place. Plan carefully and work with professionals who will be able to deliver the kitchen of your dreams.
Jeff Ebersole established Ebersole Remodeling in 2013.