The Key to Creating Your Ideal Kitchen
Over the last five years, “kitchens remain the most popular interior remodeling project,” according to the 2016 Houzz & Home Survey.
"A good decorator not only plans and schemes but he also knows how the job is done."
According to a nationwide survey conducted by LG Electronics USA, nearly 90 percent of homeowners plan to make renovations in their home in the coming year, and 46 percent have set their sites on the heart of the home – the kitchen. Over the last five years, “kitchens remain the most popular interior remodeling project,” according to the 2016 Houzz & Home Survey. Although, bathroom remodels (26 percent) and living/family room remodels (23 percent) were not far behind.
The top motivators for planning a kitchen remodel are design and aesthetics (26 percent), functionality (40 percent), size (47 percent),counter space (44 percent), and increasing the overall value of the home (11 percent). Since we all use our kitchens differently, we all have a different vision of the ideal kitchen.. For some of us, the kitchen is simply a place to go and prepare meals. For others, the kitchen doubles as a dining room. According to the Houzz & Home Survey survey, nearly 30 percent of respondents say that the kitchen is a place where guests tend to gather and socialize (29 percent) and a place where they themselves gravitate toward when they are not eating or cooking (27 percent). So, what is the ideal kitchen? Well, that is entirely up to you.
Planning Your Ideal Kitchen
Appliances and Fixtures
According to Houzz, more than half of homeowners (65 percent) prefer stainless steel appliances. Of course, the final decision is up to you. What do you prefer?
No kitchen is complete without state-of-the-art appliances – a refrigerator, a dishwasher, a microwave, and, of course, an oven/range. However, there is a line that must be drawn when selecting your new appliances. Unless you’re an exceptional cook or a professional caterer, it is typically best to concentrate the bulk of your remodeling dollars on long-term features that add value, such as cabinets and flooring. So, instead of selecting that big, shiny commercial-grade oven, think thrifty. It’s possible to get excellent appliances at affordable prices. Just be sure to choose appliances made by trusted brands that have received high marks in online reviews and Consumer Reports.
Cabinetry and Counter tops
When it comes to the ideal kitchen, most homeowners would agree that counter and storage space are among their chief considerations. Not only do new countertops and cabinets play a major role in the overall design and look of a kitchen, but they also play an important role in terms of efficiency and convenience.
- Counter tops: “With so many choices at homeowners’ fingertips, picking out a kitchen counter is no easy task,” writes Vanessa Brunner, Houzz editorial staff. “ Since this surface area ends up influencing many kitchen palettes, it’s important to choose something that looks good to you, will hold up under the kitchen activity of your household and has a price tag that suits your budget.” When choosing counter top materials, nearly 50 percent of homeowners opt for granite, while 36 percent choose quartz, according to Houzz. Other popular materials include soapstone, copper, marble, concrete, stainless steel, wood, and zinc.
- Cabinets: While you may be tempted to re-work your floor plan and add more space, consider the long-term value of this project. What is stylish and trendy now may not be stylish and trendy when you are ready to sell your home. Storage space, on the other hand, never goes out of style. So, focus your efforts on adding more cabinets instead of more open space. “The biggest mistake people make at the planning stage is not allowing for enough storage,” says interior designer Jacqui Hargrove. “Use every nook and cranny. Put overhead cabinets right up to the ceiling, rather than leaving a gap on top that collects dust.”
Of course aesthetic appeal will play a major role in style of flooring you choose, but durability should also be a consideration. It’s important to choose a flooring material that is resistant to the inevitable spills, splashes, and stains that come along with cooking. After all, even professional chefs make messes from time to time.
“Hardwood floors are beautiful, but be aware that they wear out faster by the fridge, stove and sink than other areas,” says design consultant Craig Verdon. “Hard, natural stone works wonderfully, and the earthy look and feel of it is very popular.”
Other great options include ceramic tile and laminate flooring.
Choosing the right window treatment for your kitchen is a big task. And their are a lot of options. So, it is important to determine what is most important to you. Here are a few key considerations:
- Light Control: “Whether you are fortunate to have a large sprawling kitchen that has plenty of options for lighting, or your kitchen seems too dark to feel comfortable, you may want to consider letting in some natural light,” writes Ronique Gibson of Decoist. Our Recommendation: Honeycomb shades are always a good choice. Both aesthetically pleasing and incredibly energy efficient, top down/bottom up (duofold) honeycomb shades are a great way to balance natural light and privacy.
- Durability: The kitchen is the hardest-working room in your home,” says HGTV blogger Lauren West, “so you’ll need durable kitchen window treatments and window coverings that can stand up to potential heat and moisture while still giving you the style and functionality you need.” Our Recommendation: Faux wood blinds, made from 100 percent vinyl, provide the “elegant look of real wood with more durability,” says Katie Christopher, Houzz contributor. Plus, “[faux wood] can be substantially less expensive [than real wood], and it’s not as susceptible to moisture issues, which makes it a great choice for bathrooms, kitchens and clammy climates,” adds Becky Dietrich, another Houzz contributor.
- Low Maintenance: “Being such a high traffic area, it’s important to have quality window treatments in the kitchen…that will add style while simultaneously withstanding all of the messes,” writes Christopher. Our Recommendation: Vinyl shutters are ideal for those kitchens that see their fair share of wear and tear – spills, splatters, and more. “Using shutters is a low-maintenance alternative to drapery that still controls light levels and views,” says interior designer Karen Sealy.