Kitchens are the New Family Rooms
More and more, kitchens are incorporating dining rooms and sitting rooms into a unified space. Consequently, kitchen cabinets are looking more like fine furniture, and counters and islands are becoming dining tables. Banquette seating can offer comfortable seating for people who congregate in the kitchen for more than food.
Beautiful and timeless, white cabinets are a versatile choice for any kitchen. One attraction of white cabinetry is that it works with multiple architectural styles -- from traditional to country chic to contemporary. White cabinetry opens a room to a number of decor choices and color palettes that have no boundaries and turns the kitchen into a backdrop that can be embellished as much or as little as you'd like.
Stainless-steel appliances bring a sophisticated and rich feel to the kitchen and work with a variety of styles. The sleek silver lines bring a polished look to refrigerators, stoves, and even trash compactors and waste bins. And no more worrying about fingerprints smudging the surface of stainless. Manufacturers offer fingerprint-resistant steel that eliminates this issue.
Specialty workstations are cropping up in kitchens across the country and range from elaborate to utilitarian. Popular examples include baking centers, coffee bars, wine-tasting nooks, and pizza-making stations.
A walk-in pantry is the perfect solution for families who require must-have kitchen items in quantity. All necessities -- snacks, canned goods, baking supplies, and even surplus goods such as paper towels and aluminum foil -- are hidden behind closed doors. Space for items used on a daily basis, such as silverware, dishes, glassware, and cooking gadgets, is reserved for kitchen drawers and cupboards.
Kitchen island or farmhouse sink? Professional range or granite countertops? By choosing to splurge on one item versus another, consumers are sticking to their remodeling budgets and saving money. This mentality has always been considered by remodelers, but when the state of the economy is shaky, this trend rises to top of mind.
Technology in the Kitchen
As people become increasingly tech-savvy, kitchens and bathrooms are being accessorized with electronics rather than traditional decor. Popular electronic items, such as wall-mount televisions, sound systems, and computers, are showing up in all rooms of the home. Another hot trend is making the home "wireless."
Products made from sustainable materials are increasingly popular.
Countertops can be made from recycled glass, as well as other countertop materials.
Eco-friendly cabinetry, made from bamboo or wheatboard, are often manufactured with low- or no-formaldehyde glues, which protect the home's indoor air quality.
Water-conserving faucets and Energy Star-rated appliances help homeowners save money on energy bills and reduce the use of natural resources.
Refrigerators have become ever larger, but new technology and techniques make them virtually invisible -- a big leap forward in built-in refrigeration. The same is true for dishwashers. Cabinetry panels discreetly hide these appliances, allowing the room's style to take center stage.
Layered Kitchen Lighting
Many functional and comfortable kitchens have a layered lighting approach. A series of recessed fixtures provide ambient light. Chandeliers and pendants are popular products for task lighting over an island or seating area. Accent lighting above and below cabinets -- or in a glass-front cabinet -- highlight special areas of the kitchen.
Having a variety of lighting options lets you instantly convert your kitchen from a functional work space to an intimate dining space.
Now light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are available for the home. These low-voltage lamps consume less than half as much electricity as fluorescents, and can last 10 times as long. One of the most practical uses for LEDs right now is in undercabinet lighting.