20 Kitchen Design Ideas
- By Jenny Sullivan
Continued from page 1
11. Exercise restraint. If your kitchen is graced with a dramatic feature such as exposed ceiling structure, a veiny countertop stone, or wood cabinetry with a pronounced grain, keep everything else simple and give that element space to breathe. "If your reclaimed wood floors are full of character, don't make them compete for attention," Camp said.
12. Simplify it. Traditional looks never quite go out of style, but their nuances do ebb and flow with economic tides. Today's idea of "traditional" is all about cleaner lines with minimal ornamentation and lots of white. "People are looking at heritage in a new way," Camp observed. Old World features such as heavy corbels and raised island bars are being traded for simpler elements such as crisp painted bead board, picture rail, and single height islands.
13. Put function first. People naturally congregate in the kitchen, and this tendency has only increased now that kitchens are intended as entertainment hubs. Be generous with clearances, allowing a minimum of 42 inches for work galleys (preferably 48 inches) and 36 inches for passage. And be sure to think about gathering space. If your house has no formal dining room, consider a built-in banquette or bar seating in the kitchen. Just avoid the "crows in a line" mistake of putting all of the seats in a row facing the same direction, Van Lerberghe advised.
14. Think portable. For maximum flexibility in a small kitchen, make this movable. Put dining tables (or even the island) on casters that can be rolled and repositioned during parties. Or eliminate one small section of base cabinets so that a chair on casters can be pushed under the countertop to create a laptop station. Build as many multiple uses into the space as possible.
15. Multitask your appliances. If space is limited, consider appliances that perform more than one function, such as the oven that is both microwave and convection, or the fridge with flexible drawers that can be separately programmed for refrigeration, freezer, or storage space, depending on user needs.
16. Accentuate the positive. If your budget is meager, the worst thing you can do is to skimp on everything unilaterally. Create a design hierarchy and spend accordingly. Identify one or two pulse points in the space and put higher priced finishes there. For example, go for the expensive tile in the backsplash, but then complement it with a less expensive field tile elsewhere.
17. Look for savings. There are ways to achieve the look of high design without the high price tag. A counter-depth free-standing refrigerator, for example, will cost thousands of dollars less than a built-in fridge but offer a similar visual effect. Plastic laminates made with photos of natural stone look like granite at a fraction of the cost. Smart lighting choices can also be cost savers. "An Energy Star CFL bulb will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months," Camp pointed out. "It uses 75% less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb."
18. Lighten Up. For maximum ambiance and functionality, be sure to layer ambient, task, and accent lighting. Install the antique chandelier or cascading blown glass fixture for style, but then augment in spots that are closer to the action with undermount cabinet and task lighting. And have some fun. "Small LEDs installed in the toe-kick area are fun and can also be used as a night light," Camp said. Just be sure to pay attention to the temperature of the light. "The color rendering index (CRI), which operates on a scale of 1 to 100, indicates how well lighting renders eight standard colors," she explained. "A lamp with a CRI of 80 is better than one with a CRI of 50." Check the CRI before you buy.
19. Embrace nature. If your kitchen and great room open onto a patio or other outdoor living space, create harmony by using some of the same materials both inside and out--such as continuous surface floor tiles, brick, or even concrete block. To create visual connections, you can also specify natural colors and materials in the kitchen that evoke the colors and textures of the landscape outside, such as natural wood and stone.
20. Go ahead, splurge. A small thing of beauty or a tiny indulgence can have an amazing psychological impact in a time of recession. It isn't wise for homeowners to spend beyond their means, but if you can value engineer or trim costs and put a little more toward one precious item that resonates, do it. Perhaps it's a small wine fridge, vintage drawer pulls, or a reclaimed wide plank wood floor. The kitchen with a little dash of character is more likely to sell than the one with the plain jane scheme that takes no risks at all.
Jenny Sullivan is a senior editor covering architecture and design for BUILDER.
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