Kitchens continue to be one of the most important features of a home. Long gone are the days when kitchens meant “work” and were kept separate from the main house. The real estate boom of the 90s and early 2000 saw an increased focus on the size and location of the kitchen as well as a new importance given to the “inner workings” – commercially inspired refrigerators, ranges, ovens, dishwashers and even wine coolers were considered must-haves for the perfectly appointed kitchen. Cherry became the most popular wood for cabinetry,granite the most sought after counter top. But, the kitchen fashionistas are on the move this year. Things that we have become accustomed to expecting in “updated” homes are now being described as passe- a bit dated. Cherry cabinets are now ignored in favor of more Eco-friendly, responsibly harvested woods like bamboo. Alder, birch, oak and walnut are other popular choices. Mixing kitchen finishes- wood cabinets with stainless drawers – is another popular option. Stainless appliances are still popular since no one has come up with a trendy replacement that seems to appeal, but integrated appliances that are hidden behind cabinetry are gaining momentum. Even electrical outlets can be recessed while not in use, camouflaged with paint or wall paper or built into a countertop. When you are ready to use them, simply push a button and out they pop, ready to use.
Lighting? LED, of course, but with an industrial twist. Pendant lights that look like they were used to illuminate a gas station are offered in a range of colors. Actual vintage service station lights are ideal if your kitchen is big enough to warrant it. Adorne makes an under-the-cabinet lighting strip that also allows you to plug your smart phone, tablet or speakers directly into the strip so that you can easily make use of them while you are preparing food, entertaining, etc. And, then there is Tape Lighting. A very simple choice. It is an adhesive backed LED option that simply adheres to the surface. You can use it to illuminate toe-kicks or place it under cabinets above counters to add lighting. The tape lighting comes with several lighting color choices and and a dimmer switch so that you can light according to your mood or the ambiance you are hoping to create at that moment- red, green, yellow, purple, blue or 9 shades of white. Some even offer a strobe feature so you can really get that party going!
Kitchen colors have been influence by the industrial look, too. Whites and grays are the popular choices- sometimes with an accent of bright green or aqua to make a more powerful statement. Glass back splashes that come in an array of colors are popular features. They clean up very easily and add instant shine to your kitchen.
The bottom line is this: there are so many options available now and more features to consider. Take your time. Do your research. And, depending on how much of a techie you are, be sure to incorporate your technology needs into your kitchen design. Remember that today’s kitchen is the place where everyone wants congregates- make it a place for all to enjoy!
Happy baking, broiling, grilling, frying and entertaining!
Helpful links used in this post: http://community.apartmenttherapy.com/contests/smallcoolkitchens/2012