When it comes to doing your dream kitchen, there are trends that are popular now, but also have staying power because they address lifestyle needs, convenience, and savings. Using these simple guidelines on upgrading your kitchen will ensure that you enjoy it for many years to come without it become dated and hated.
Too White Can’t Be Wrong
The preference for white cabinets continues to soar. A two-thirds majority of National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) members said that white is their top choice for cabinets, up twenty percent climb from a couple of years ago. Layering white is also popular. White appliances are much easier to keep clean than stainless, which smudges very easily. Plus, the new “icy” white look is simple, cool, and able to blend into transitional and contemporary styles.
Gray is Good
The popularity of sleek, sophisticated gray color schemes is soaring. Seventy-one percent of NKBA designers said gray is the fastest-growing color scheme for kitchens. However, gray can appear frozen in cool, cloudy climates unless you use it on warm materials such as wood cabinets, or pair it with hot colors likes reds and yellows.
On the other hand, gray can appear pleasantly cool in sunny, hot climates. So while white kitchens are a safe bet, gray is neutral enough, and close enough to white, to have staying power if you use it well.
Go Small and Go Home
Small is big these days. Micro-living is taking off for millennials and retirees. Owners of multigenerational homes are installing tiny, secondary kitchens for returning adult children and elderly parents. Typically, these micro-kitchens feature a two-burner cook top, combination microwave/convection oven, 18-inch dishwasher, and 60-inch fridge or refrigerator drawer.
GE, in fact, is developing an entire kitchen the size of a 6-foot-wide chest of drawers. The $15,000 unit contains an induction cook top, two ovens, a sink, a dishwasher, and two cooling drawers that can function as a fridge or freezer.
Use the Quartz
In 2013, quartz and granite almost tied in countertop popularity. But in 2015, the trend is definitely toward quartz. “Consumers Reports” says quartz is the toughest countertop material, which resists scratches, burns, and chips. Crushed quartz stone is mixed with resin to produce countertops that range from solid colors to the look of real granite. They actually beat natural stone in toughness. It’s easy to maintain, because unlike granite, you don’t have to seal it annually to prevent stains.
Ribbons of LEDs are showing up in the most wonderful kitchen places: Along baseboards as nightlights, inside cabinet doors to illuminate dishware; and concealed in crown molding to wash ceilings with light. LED rope or cove lights are gaining in popularity because they come in a rainbow of colors, from bright to soft white, red, blue, and green. You can get creative about where you install them.
LEDs emit virtually no heat, so you can keep them on forever without burning cabinets or walls. LEDs are energy efficient, lasting 50,000 hours on average, five times longer than CFLs. Best of all, they’re coming down in price and becoming very affordable. They practically pay for themselves with the energy savings.
No Big Chill
Refrigeration is no longer limited to a single, hulking unit. Homeowners are customizing their cooling needs with “point of use” refrigeration, adding cool where they need it. This could mean adding a counter-height produce fridge in your prep island, next to a wine cooler for the adults, and a juice/soda fridge for the kids. A word of caution: You will pay for the convenience as these models are neither cheap in quality nor in price. The major maker is U-line.
The Magic Touch
Touch-activated faucets have become the kitchen mandate. Their popularity has grown at 10% per year for the past few years. With prices starting around $350, it’s certainly a lot of money; but it’s great for those times when you’ve got dirty, chicken-juice hands. It also saves water and money because you do not run water continuously between tasks to avoid hassle. As water becomes scarcer, anything that saves gallons will have value. It may even pay for itself by helping you save you on your water bills. We recommend touch free over hands-free to avoid the cat and mouse game of the faucet turning on just when you have given up on it doing so, over and over. Your kitchen is not a public restroom!
Decision on Tradition
The vast majority of NKBA designers say contemporary, sleek, simplicity is the fastest-growing kitchen style. Garish gadgets and decorative glazes are out.
Contemporary always looks neat and clean, but may also come across as cold. The design demands a non-cluttered look, which can be hard to achieve throughout the rest of the home. Therefore, it may be better to hedge your bets with transitional design, combining contemporary with some traditional to blend the best parts of each.
Remember, clean and compact is always better than far and flung. Keep things within reach, and concentrate on the sleek and practical to achieve your dream. While these tips on upgrading your kitchen aren’t the “standard”, they certainly give you a good basis and some great ideas. You’re only limited by your imagination.