Inspiring Home Design Ideas for Kitchens

Expert tips on how to blend style and function when designing this important gathering area of the home.

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Consider these three fresh ideas for stylish, functional cabinetry when deciding on your next kitchen remodel.

1. Sliding panels and doors. Not only can you tuck things away easily, you can also access items faster with this design option. Bethany O’Neil of Bethany O’Neil Interior Design says adding sliding panels of stone in place of a backsplash is great for hiding clutter and small appliances. “We are seeing a greater use of the horizontal upper cabinets with slide-up covers and open shelving,” adds Linda Burke of Linda Burke Interiors, “more use of glass doors and metal cases or boxes.”

2. Deep drawers. Add deep, pullout drawers in the bottom cabinets to make them much more functional, suggests Debbie DeMaria of Vogue Interiors. “They make it easy to find things without breaking your back or having to get down on your knees to reach something at the back of a lower cabinet,” she says.

3. Luxurious style. Make a unique statement with stunning back-painted glass doors or walnut drawers. “They are rich looking and, for cabinets, are like comparing a Kia to a Jaguar. I particularly love the walnut knife-block drawer,” says Jenny Provost of K2 Design Group.


HOW TO ADD PERSONALITY TO THE KITCHEN

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Accent colors. Add an accent color in an unexpected place, like the inside of cabinetry or the pantry. “Our client fell in love with a bold aqua accent color we incorporated into accessories and in a geometric-patterned wall covering for her pantry that added a playful statement to one of her favorite spaces,” says Kira Krümm of KDG-Kira Krümm & Co.

Display personal items. Leave display cabinets at the top of upper cabinets open so they can be lit to display collected items. “It’s a fun way to show off interesting personal items and brings much-needed contrast and personality to the kitchen,” says Debbie DeMaria of Vogue Interiors.

Clean look. Another popular kitchen element is zero-lined sinks, where the sink is at the same level as the countertop and is not under-mounted. “It’s a feature that makes for a clean installation that does not involve any caulking,” says Debbie DeMaria of Vogue Interiors.


DESIGNER TIPS FOR BACKSPLASH DESIGN

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One way to make a style statement is through the backsplash, an important finishing touch and focal point. A stone slab backsplash offers a clean, luxurious look.

“Solid surfaces in either large format or whole slabs” are on trend, says Dwayne Bergmann of Dwayne Bergmann Interiors. Some local designers point to laser-cut, marble-and-glass tiles as popular for the backsplash in patterns like quatrefoils and basket weaves.

“Decorative mirror and sculptural tiles, such as wave tiles, are also emerging design trends,” adds Shari Summers of Summerfields Interior Design.

Meanwhile, some classic, traditional styles also appear to remain popular. “Subway tiles are still an important trend, in glass, stone, or porcelain tile,” says Laurie Walter of Cinnabar Design.


WHAT’S TRENDING IN COUNTERTOPS

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“Quartzite is a natural product and impervious to stains and watermarks. Also, calcite, a hard version of marble, and Calacutta marble, a creamier version of the typical gray and white marble.” —Bethany O’Neil, Bethany O’Neil Interior Design

“Man-made quartz countertop materials—such as Cambria, Silestone, Pompeii—are available in natural stone-like selections, such as Carrara marble, mimestone, et cetera.” —Laurie Walter, Cinnabar Design

“Veneer wood ‘slab’ countertops are back in fashion.” —Dwayne Bergmann, Dwayne Bergmann Interiors

“Man-made quartz with thick edges. We love the Estatuario style of Neolith countertops, which mimics Carrara marble and performs extremely well.” —Faith Fix, Freestyle Interiors

“Continuous countertops that run up the back wall as a backsplash are my favorite kitchen trend. They are seamless, no joints or grout lines, which makes them easier to keep clean. The look is minimalistic and striking.” —Minka McDonald, Jinx McDonald Interior Designs

“Cabinetry that doesn’t necessarily all match but creates one cohesive look. For example, wood-stained or painted base cabinets with upper cabinets painted white.” —Shari Summers, Summerfields Interior Design

“Quartz is continuing to be a popular choice for counter surfaces. It’s strong, durable, and can look like granite, but does not require the upkeep that granite does. We’re also seeing more porcelain tile used as countertops, which is also easy to maintain.” —Debbie DeMaria, Vogue Interiors


5 Rules for Kitchen Design

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1. LIGHTING MATTERS. “Stick to the basics: task first, then ambient, then decorative lighting—in that order,” says Jenny Provost of K2 Design Group. “Don’t forget night lighting; I use controlled under-cabinet LED lighting to provide just enough lumens to get me to my cold bottle of water in the middle of the night.”

2. FOCUS ON FUNCTION. “You can’t reach cabinets more than 8 feet high. Most European cabinets stop at 96 inches for a reason,” says Dwayne Bergmann of Dwayne Bergmann Interiors. He recommends planning the interior of cabinets and drawers at the start of the design process.

3. KNOW YOURSELF. Just because something is on trend, it doesn’t mean it’s right for you. “If fingerprints will make you nuts, do not be tempted by polished stainless steel doors or chrome hardware,” Provost says.

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4. MAKE ROOM. One of the common mistakes is not allowing enough space to move around comfortably between cabinetry and walk by an open oven or dishwasher when someone is using it, says Linda Burke of Linda Burke Interiors. Another mistake to avoid is oversizing the kitchen islands so they are impractical, according to Faith Fix of Freestyle Interiors.

5. TAKE THE LONG VIEW. Remember to keep resale in mind. “Don’t make whim decisions when it comes to this huge investment. Think more about your property. What is in keeping with the architecture, for example? Use common sense to make choices that will appeal to a broader audience,” adds Provost.

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