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Let’s move right on down the list of kitchen improvement must-haves and talk organization. How important is organization? One Houzz poll revealed three-quarters of homeowners demanded kitchens with uncluttered countertops. Of course, achieving that goal means storage for equipment and utensils. Yet far too many kitchen renovators lament later that they underestimated their need for deep, wide drawers, base trash cabinets, accessible pullouts, corner cabinetry, and integrated lighting.
That’s one of the biggest reasons contractors and interior designers often start approaching a kitchen facelift by talking about cabinet selection. In fact, we’ll dive into the nuances of kitchen cabinets now, because they’re such a focal point of kitchen design trends.
Choosing the right kitchen cabinetry is critical to the overall success of any kitchen remodel; therefore, more than one option should be considered before making a final decision.
If your clients are feeling overwhelmed by the thought of looking through page after page of cabinets, you can help them narrow the search by determining the desired mood and style.
Cabinetry can bring out a kitchen’s perfect ambiance. If weathered wood or a farmhouse style appeals to your client, you’ll likely lean toward kitchen cabinets that have a neutral, simple appeal. These include crisp colors like gray or slate blue, often as inset styles. On the other hand, those who prefer streamlined, modern spaces often opt for the uncluttered look of unadorned — but still attractive and pristine — cabinets, like those designed with straight lines and panel-faced doors.
Cabinets that are overwhelmingly ornate or feature over-the-top hardware aren’t necessarily the most eye-catching. Even a classic kitchen cabinet with elegant straight lines and only a touch of ornamentation can hold its own.
ProSource offers unique insights into cabinet hardware, so whether you’re selecting the best option for a client (or your client is selecting the best option for her home), know that several hardware types exist. These include select pull bars, knobs, hooks and pendants, and more. Discern the feel of a homeowner’s kitchen, and then select cabinet hardware accordingly.
What happens if you’re looking for a color that falls between neutral or intense? The best bet may be to opt for wood cabinets in a variety of hardwood choices and finishes. Indeed, wood — especially dark wood — has cycled back as a highly desired feature in cabinetry. When combined with light hardwood flooring, dark cabinets can make a memorable statement.
If you’re looking for a cabinet color compromise between the look of traditional wood and a bold color, aim for a stain or finish that adds a dash of unexpected tone to wood surfaces. Some decorators suggest blue-gray wood cabinet finishes that bring out the kitchen’s beauty without overpowering design elements, like a unique mosaic backsplash. The blue is subtle enough to appeal to clients reticent to renovate with bold hues. At the same time, it enables decorating choices because blue can complement a variety of palettes.
As with any decision in home decorating and remodeling, bring samples into the kitchen and see how they look in the space. Ask yourself whether the finishes will work with the adjoining rooms. Test all colors in a multitude of lighting, from natural to artificial, and at different times of day. Also, consider physical and visual texture when choosing cabinetry; this element is often missing in kitchen do-overs, which can lead to dull, flat results. Your objective should always be to create multiple focal points to provide balance and depth to the kitchen.
What if a decision can’t be made between two kitchen cabinet finishes or styles? You might be able to make both work in the space depending on how complementary they are. No hard and fast rule exists that upper and lower cabinets have to match. Use your imagination and expand your thinking to design a kitchen that will be loved for its looks and functionality.
The kitchen countertop is without a doubt one of the most hardworking surfaces in a house. Aside from floors, what other location is constantly being put under a variety of conditions? Everyone has dropped a knife, spilled a glass of wine, or accidently laid a hot pan on a countertop. And countertops have to be able to hold up year after year while keeping their cool.
Obviously, every kitchen is different, so countertop requirements vary wildly from one house to the next. For homeowners who rarely cook or entertain, a kitchen’s toughness may not necessarily be a concern. On the other hand, if the kitchen has a steady flow of hungry, chatty people day and night, it’s a must to consider the right countertop material for that busy world.
Picking a kitchen countertop material boils down to finding the surface that will work under the expected conditions and will fit into the overall room theme. For instance, a dramatic marble countertop might not look the part in a kitchen surrounded by rooms devoted to Victorian ornamentation. And a countertop featuring a glossy, energetic color will stand out for all the wrong reasons in a kitchen that’s part of a muted, serene household.
Essentially, every type of countertop, from granite to quartz, has distinctive qualities that makes it ideal for some kitchen projects. The goal is to pick the right surface for a phenomenally successful facelift.
What makes quartz so attractive? First, it’s nonporous, which adds to its durability and scratch resistance. Constructed of nearly 90 percent natural materials, quartz brings the outdoors into the home with a little help from manufacturers. You’re getting a product that’s been tempered, increasing its impact resistance and easy maintenance. Additionally, quartz comes in many colors, including some that certainly aren’t found in nature.
A specific contender for kitchen countertops constructed of quartz is Silestone, a favorite among the ProSource Wholesale community. In fact, part of the Silestone product line includes bacteriostatic protection to prevent bacteria from living and breeding on countertop surfaces. Sold in a wide range of textures and hues, Silestone offers all the eat-and-go effortlessness of other countertop options while remaining trendy. To make a strong statement in a kitchen, check out the Silestone colors on the market. (Yes, even retro pink exists for a mid-century modern flair.)
Similar to quartz, cultured marble is about 82 percent natural materials mixed with resins. Cultured marble is most often spotted in bathrooms, a space that benefits from its elegance and customizable nature. The biggest downside to cultured marble is that it’s not as strong as a complete marble slab. Still, that shouldn’t turn you away from considering it as a viable alternative to marble if the budget is limited.
In the world of manmade kitchen countertop options, Corian and laminate take top honors. Constructed from acrylic, Corian comes in an array of patterns, textures, and colors. It’s difficult to mar under normal wear and tear, and it cleans up with a few wipes of soapy water. If, by chance, a Corian countertop is scratched, the small area can usually be repaired without having to replace the whole countertop section.
Laminate is enjoying a bit of a return to the trending kitchen countertop scene. Why? Many manufacturers offer laminate made from recycled materials. Not only does this appeal to consumers who want eco-friendlier choices, but it also promises less future waste. Like laminate floors, laminate countertops clean up well without extra scrubbing. However, caution should be given to dropping sharp objects on laminate: It cannot be repaired, so a cutting board should be used when slicing and dicing.
Though we’ve already discussed color possibilities for a renovated kitchen’s countertops, it’s worth a bit of added discussion. Many clients aren’t aware that they can make a strong statement with countertop materials. At the same time, not all color selections are right for all homes.
How do you discern what color fits the bill? Determine the end objective for the kitchen makeover: Is the goal to sell the property and feature the updated kitchen space to attract more buyers or snag higher bids? In that case, it’s best to adhere to timeless trends. Sure, it might be less appealing to think of cherry cabinets with a beige countertop and oak hardwood flooring, but that doesn’t matter if a move is imminent.
Of course, if the plan is to stay in the house as long as possible, you can be a bit whimsical with countertop color choices. Perhaps black seems like the perfect contrast to those Cape Cod cottage–reminiscent white wooden cabinets and matching appliances. Or maybe you want a marbled gray countertop surface to pick up the gray-blue hues of a weathered cabinet.
At the end of the day, the color of kitchen countertops should always get you closer to whatever drove the desire to remodel the kitchen in the first place.
It could be assumed that a pantry is a luxury meant for only certain types of kitchen spaces, but that’s not quite accurate. Many homebuyers and renters love the idea of a pantry so much, they’re willing to pay more for a house or apartment that has one. Sure, it’s going to take up square footage, but it’s a practical resource that can make life less complicated (and some of the ordinary day-to-day drudgery disappear).
The first consideration in adding a pantry? Deciding where it will go. Even cozy kitchens can sometimes accommodate limited pantries thanks to creative interior designers. You might even be able to put a pantry in an adjoining space, such as a mudroom or four-seasons room. In general, the pantry space should be easy to access (no crawl space pantries, please) and offer a reliable layout that works for every family member’s needs.
How can you make sure the pantry encourages worry-free storage? Figure out what will be stored there. Generally speaking, most bakers and cooks use their pantries for canned goods, cleaning supplies, occasionally used small appliances, seasonal cutlery, and boxed food products. Map out these needs precisely to determine how best to maximize the pantry real estate. The last thing you want is a pantry that’s just a big box or rectangle without any useful shelving, hooks, or organizational elements.
Although the pantry doesn’t have to mimic the style of the rest of the kitchen, it probably should if it has a glass door or is without a door at all. Remember: Any flooring for the kitchen design should seamlessly connect with the pantry, even if the pantry flooring isn’t made from the same material. Similarly, any pantry elements that people can clearly see — doors, cabinets, cabinet hardware, moldings, painted walls, countertop surfaces — should align with the overall design concept of the kitchen.
Worried about overlooking something when creating the pantry? Avoid problems by being proactive.
Create a schematic of the intended pantry layout. Mix storage types and offer them from floor to ceiling. Even if you don’t think there’s a need for tons of shelves today, don’t underestimate the opportunity to add more items later. Also, think about shorter family members, like kids. Their snacks, utensils, and paper products need to be at eye level if at all possible; therefore, don’t hesitate to add a children’s shelf toward the bottom of the pantry.
Done correctly and thoughtfully, a kitchen pantry redesign can serve as a huge relief for your clients. Plus, it can help reduce food waste by making a spot for perishables so they aren’t forgotten before they expire. When handled expertly, a pantry could just pay for itself over time, not only in resale value, but also in the money saved on groceries.
In terms of appliances, choose high-efficiency models that are meant for smaller kitchens. They may cost a little more than normal-sized appliances, but they won’t stick out. Try to double up when possible, like having a microwave with a built-in range hood over the stove top.
Above all else, keep clutter to a minimum. Even hiding a garbage can under the sink makes the space less busy. You might even be able to add a small-scale counter-topped rolling cart if you discover that, without all the stuff, the kitchen is roomier than you thought. And don’t rule out flooring for a small kitchen remodel: The right hardwood, tile, or luxury vinyl can bring out the elegance of any space, regardless of size. Consider pattern and plank size for a client’s small kitchen, too, as you navigate their dream space.
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