The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is no longer the room used only to prepare and cook meals. This unique location is where family gatherings and lifelong memories are created.
Whether it is homework around grandma’s antique table or Christmas dinner with friends and family, the kitchen is the “hub” of the home. The kitchen design needs to be that welcoming space to make every task simple and enjoyable, so it is important to integrate functional aspects in your kitchen.
The newest trends in kitchen design are those of a live-in kitchen. It can incorporate a couch, television, coffee table and even the internet. It should be functional for all needs of everyday life. Today’s society is so on-the-go, we must have a space where we can prepare the meals while helping the kids with their homework. It is crucial to not only be versatile but a useable space as well.
Your family needs to enjoy all aspects of the kitchen. The flooring is an important starting factor. Most floor coverings are tile, laminate or hardwood. The texture and quality of how we perceive the floor can set the tone for the entire room.
Tile in either natural stone or ceramic can be very impressive. However, it can be cold on the feet. There are now electric heat warmers that can be added underneath the tile to eliminate this disadvantage.
But if warmth is what you are looking for, wood might be your answer. It not only is available in solid wood but it can be a laminate or engineered as well. In years past, wood only came with a handful of options, but today there is a large array of choices. These can reflect your diversity in tastes and budget.
Color and texture work hand in hand, and they will determine the ambiance of your whole room. I have talked about color in articles past and how they reflect your personality. The kitchen is no different. You can achieve a rustic old-world style or you can attain a very sleek contemporary flair.
Remember cool and light tones will make your space appear larger and ceilings higher. Warmer tones on the other hand will make the room feel cozier and provide more depth. It is very important to always test color samples on the wall prior to committing to the entire room.
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind with color is the 60-30-10 rule. Use three different colors in those portions to keep the room balance and in proportion. Texture will be captured in your countertops, cabinets, flooring and window treatments. These are important attributes to create the personality that you want your room to display.
Kitchen cabinets have changed considerably over the years. There are a range of choices with many shapes, sizes, colors, designs and material. The price and the function are also important factors to keep in mind when making your decisions.
Most kitchens use wood, laminate or stainless steel cabinetry. Wood tends to be the most traditional and still the most popular. However, there are a variety of types and colors of wood that you will need to consider when designing your space.
Laminate cabinets can be another option. They typically provide a sleeker look and can sometimes be more price cautious. It is a very durable material to keep clean.
Stainless Steel is a newer product to this industry. It does give that contemporary edge and is an eco-friendly product. One disadvantage to this style is that it shows fingerprints and can scratch easier than the other two.
Keep function in mind as well when you are selecting your cabinetry. Eliminating clutter is a wonderful thing. It is important to select cabinets that utilize your kitchen space and make it more suitable for you.
Granite, marble, and wood countertops are today’s most-wanted tops. Granite is a natural stone, so obviously it is hard as a rock. It is very durable and easy to maintain with only sealing it once or twice a year. (Do not let others scare you, this is an easy process.) They are heat resistant and mostly stain resistant. It maintains its value if you are planning on selling your home in the future.
Granite also comes in a variety of colors and natural designs. The only downside is it will dull your knives if you cut on it directly due to its density.
Marble is another countertop that many prefer. Marble is more porous though, so it will stain easier. It tends to be ideal for a baker’s kitchen or a bathroom. Do make sure that it is kept sealed and free of stains.
Still, many prefer wood countertops. Wood must be kept dry; it cannot be constantly exposed to water and harsh household chemicals. Wood might be a better option as a center island used for a cutting block. It is not as durable as a solid surface such as granite.
Three very important facts to keep in mind when selecting your kitchen countertops.
- Select color and texture to compliment your cabinets, floor and paint colors
- Create visual interests in your counters — combine more than one material or color on neighboring surfaces
- Durability is a must
To achieve your desired look, it is important to keep a balance of cost, style and function. Your kitchen investment will pay you dividends in the future when you resell your home. 10-20% of the market value of your home should be represented in your kitchen. It is worthwhile to hire a professional decorator if making these decisions tends to be difficult in achieving your total package. Your kitchen is a valuable aspect and it is the heart of the your home.
Shelley Herod is the owner and designer for Designing Women, LLC from Woodstock, Georgia. She has been a local designer for the past 20 years. She graduated from Butler University with a degree in merchandising and design. Shelley is a certified home stager and recently was selected by Executive Who’s Who. She is the veteran interior designer to the Junior Service League of Woodstock Christmas Home Tour, where she has been active for the past 10 years. She also works with wedding and special event venues as design coordinator to make dreams become reality. Designing Women is an active member of the The Atlanta Bridal Connection. Shelley can be reached at (770) 235-5640 or on her Facebook page: Designing Women.