Cabinetry with lighter finishes, like cream or white, is hot right now. Photo: Sawhorse Designs, Millburn, N.J.
A well-placed island is one that is centrally located for ease of use and traffic flow. It may include bar seating, storage and possibly a secondary sink or cooktop. Photo: Sawhorse Designs, Millburn, N.J.
If you hire a kitchen designer, he or she can advise you on current styles and the best options for your space. Photo: Sawhorse Designs, Millburn, N.J.
Try to stay true to your home’s architecture and make classic choices that match your personal style. Photo: Sawhorse Designs, Millburn, N.J.
Inspired Kitchen Décor
Having a hard time settling on a décor scheme for your new kitchen? Find inspiration by reflecting on your favorite memories, travels and treasured objects and use them to guide your style selections.
6 Secrets to Successful Kitchen Design
Put the WOW factor into the room that's the heartbeat of your home.
- by Margaret Morgan
Planning a new kitchen is a uniquely personal and self-reflecting experience. More than just a functional space, it’s an expression of your personality and lifestyle. The kitchen is the heartbeat of your home and an entertainment hub for friends and family. Nothing is more rewarding than creating a place to dine that’s warm, inviting and relaxed.
How will you achieve this reflection of yourself? What will inspire you to create a design that is uniquely yours? Start here:
- Find your inspiration. Start by reflecting on your memories and travels. Think back to the sights and smells of special occasions and destinations. Whether you’re passionate about a place (Tuscany, the Southwest or a Paris cafe), a style (French country, Art Deco, or Modern), or a design element (roosters, hand-blown glass, or grape vines)—there’s a way to incorporate it into your design.
- Seek advice. Do your research and ask around to find a professional kitchen designer, whether private or through a retail operation, that fits your project. You can locate certified kitchen designers in your area through the National Kitchen & Bath Association. Research the prospective designer, request professional references, talk to his/her clients, and ask to see their portfolio.
- Get organized. Make a list of the major and minor issues with your existing kitchen; make notes on your likes and dislikes. This helps the designer address your needs, taste and style. While your journey through the sea of cabinetry, appliances, prep products and materials can be daunting and exhausting, ultimately it will be very rewarding.
- Consider function first. Space planning is one of the most important elements to a successful kitchen. Key elements include traffic flow, work stations, and safety considerations. The most important area is the triangle between the three primary work centers—cooking, prep/cleanup and refrigeration. A well-placed island is one that is centrally located for ease of use and traffic flow. It may include bar seating, storage and possibly a secondary sink or cooktop.
- Set your budget. Drafting a budget will give your kitchen renovation or construction project scope. It will also help you and your designer if you can prioritize where you want to allocate your funds—cabinets, appliances, tile, flooring, countertops. According to Thomas McCloskey, owner of Sawhorse Designs in Millburn, N.J., “The age of conspicuous consumption is gone. Appliances are being selected based on budget and size of kitchen. Energy-efficient technology is only a concern if it is cost-effective.”
- Design for longevity. Choose styles that reflect your personality and lifestyle, not what you think is “hot” or trendy. Try to stay true to your home’s architecture. Making classic choices that match your personal style will ensure the longevity of your kitchen, and your ultimate satisfaction.
Style Update: What to Look for
Not sure what kind of materials to choose for your kitchen? If you hire a kitchen designer, he or she can advise you on current styles and the best options for your space. If you're the do-it-yourself type, consider these trend highlights:
- Cabinetry. McCloskey says to look for lighter finishes in cream and white complemented by classic chocolate-toned accents. Also, more transitional styles, like Shaker doors with a little embellishment, are a great choice for most kitchens.
- Countertops. Granite countertops remain top choice for their durability and beauty. Other surface materials in demand include limestone, soapstone, quartz and river rock. Cement and recycled glass are becoming popular as well for their environmentally friendly properties.
Today’s most-desirable kitchens combine the beauty and functionality of many rooms. Creating your dream kitchen is exciting and challenging. Make it a success by planning, researching your choices and tapping into your inspiration.