Must-Have Kitchen Features

Zero in on the kitchen features you really like, and you won't have to spend a cool million to have a cool kitchen.

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Everything In This Slideshow

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    Double Ovens

    Double ovens not only look cool in your kitchen, they provide a main oven you can use without bending over and a secondary oven for plate warming and additional baking. Separating the ovens from the burners also lets you install a cool cooktop in a kitchen island or elsewhere, opening up new floor-plan possibilities.

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    Dishwasher in a Drawer

    Use dishwasher drawers in place of a regular dishwasher or in addition to a full-size dishwasher. These handy appliances offer efficient cleaning for a few dishes. Consider installing one in a butler's pantry, basement game room, or near a prep center. This cherry-paneled dishwasher has the look of a regular drawer, then pulls out for easy sink-side cleanup.

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    Island Cooktop

    With ovens located elsewhere, a kitchen cooktop provides countertop burners. When it's built into a large island, you also get generous work surfaces and room for amenities below, such as the warming drawer used here. A downdraft exhaust system eliminates the need for a view-blocking range hood above the island. Long cabinet pulls double as towel bars.

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    Commercial-Style Range

    Commercial-style ranges for the home cook are widely available and a common feature in an expensive kitchen upgrade. Expect a range with three to four times the BTU output of an ordinary home model. Many simply prefer the rugged good looks of a commercial-style range. This is a cool kitchen feature that's hot.

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    Pot Filler

    Why limit faucet style and placement to the conventional look and places? Here's an unexpected kitchen feature that can go wherever you can run a cold water line. The faucet is mounted high enough on the kitchen backsplash to provide a flow of water to a big pot of pasta or soup. What a cool idea!

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    Coffee Bar

    A ship-shape alcove houses a mini kitchen complete with a small refrigerator below the countertop, a microwave oven above, and espresso machine in the middle. There's even room for storing coffee cups and condiments. An area like this provides dedicated functionality out of the way of the main cooking area.

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    On-Counter Garage

    An on-counter appliance garage is like a garage for cars: It houses a machine you often use but don't always want in plain sight. Here, an appliance garage with a roll-up aluminum door closes to hide the mixer, leaving counter space in front for other uses.

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    Corner Storage

    There never seems to be enough room in the kitchen, so it pays to make every inch count. It's especially useful to find a way to use space that would otherwise be wasted, such as with this corner lazy Susan. It turns potential dead space into usable storage. The unit's two-tiered carousel shelving allows easy access to stowed items.

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    Deep Drawers

    It makes a lot of sense to place a deep drawer right beside the kitchen range for easy access to large cooking pots and pans. Drawers may be limited in their size by the cabinet that houses them, but drawers that probe the depths have marvelous utility. Consider this arrangement when planning your next kitchen upgrade.

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    Full Extension Drawers

    Hardware that allows drawers to slide open all the way makes it much easier to get objects in and out. Look for full extension drawer hardware when you're shopping for new cabinetry or upgrading what you have. Drawers with high sides and backs can keep stacks of items neat and orderly.

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    Divided Storage

    Internal drawer dividers give you a template for organizing your kitchen utensils -- it's not optional, you must get organized! Built-in dividers also give a more finished look to the space than organizers purchased separately and placed in the drawer.

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    Pot Rack/Stainless Backsplash

    If you like nice, shiny surfaces, you'll probably like the look of stainless steel and bright metal pots and pans. But that doesn't mean you have to cover your whole kitchen in stainless steel. The backsplash shown here, and the bright pot rack above, brings a sunshiny brightness to the space without overwhelming it.

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    Utensil Racks

    For an inexpensive touch that personalizes your kitchen, install a utensil rack under a cabinet or along a wall. Hang an assortment of often-used tools within easy reach. It's a fun look that's easy to create any way you like.

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    Tray Storage Cabinet

    It's a fabulous space-saver to store racks, cookie sheets, pizza pans, and cutting boards within vertical dividers. This cabinet's roll-out drawer is another great feature that lets you see everything at once.

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    Home Office/TV

    Carve out a nook of space for a handy home office and media center. You can use a computer to look up recipes online or help the kids do their homework. A television lets you keep up on the news while you cook.

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    Glass Doors

    Glass cabinet doors are visually appealing and have the decorative look of a china cabinet. This two-piece cabinet has the look of a hutch and includes three small drawers at countertop level. The refrigerator next to it also shows off a popular feature: cabinet panels that match the cupboards.

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    Built-In Refrigerator

    Built-ins keep the look smooth and integrated. This model has glowing stainless doors and is positioned next to double wall ovens. On the far wall, a stainless ventilation hood offers a sleek look over the cooktop.

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    Ample Lighting

    Outfit a kitchen with layers of light and consider multiple fixtures to cover every area. Recessed ceiling fixtures shine down on work surfaces or can be pointed at a wall or stove area. Hanging pendant lights cover the island with light. Don't forget under-cabinet lights for proper task lighting on every countertop.

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    Warming Drawer

    Great for parties as well as busy households, warming drawer add lots of functionality in very little space. You'll need to plan ahead however, since the drawers are heavy and require a reinforced cabinet with available power.

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    Bar Sink

    A secondary sink can be a functional addition to a large kitchen or in an adjacent pantry area. Consider a bar sink for a second prep station, a butler's pantry, home theater, or basement rec room.

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    High-Style Faucet

    Kitchen faucets are made in dozens of finishes in a myriad of styles and sizes. This style is a "bridge" version in shiny chrome.

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    Trash and Recycling

    Make life easier by planning a handy trash and recycling area. Whether you choose to put it under the sink, in a pantry, or in a handy pull-out drawer like this one, this is one feature you will use every day, so convenience is paramount.

  • Next Slideshow 16 Kitchen Trends That Are Here to Stay

    16 Kitchen Trends That Are Here to Stay

    Just because it's trending doesn't mean it's not timeless. These gorgeous kitchen trends -- including minimal upper cabinetry, sparkling quartz counters, and one-of-a-kind ceiling treatments -- are guaranteed to stand the test of time.
    Begin Slideshow »

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