Americans, on average, spend only about 37 minutes a day on meal prep and cleanup. So, why does it feel like we’re always in the kitchen? Well, besides cooking, the kitchen is also the family’s center for homework, casual entertaining, and everyday life. You want it to be beautiful, comfortable, and a pleasure to work in.
Whether you’re planning a minor facelift or a major reno, there’s a lot to consider when you’re updating a kitchen. Before you commit to anything, make a plan, and decide what you want for the end result. If it’s not your forever home, go for a classic kitchen to maximize potential resale value. Either way, be careful not to be too trendy. You don't want your amazing kitchen to look dated in five years.
1. Layered lighting for every part of the kitchen
Kitchens need lighting that addresses everything you do in the space. Layer your lighting, with task lighting—usually pendants–over the island or table, and ambient lighting—often recessed—for general illumination.
It’s important to have under-cabinet lighting as well, to illuminate the counters. And the most desirable light of all is natural light streaming in through a window over the sink.
2. Classic (and sometimes, colorful) cabinetry
All kitchens need storage space, so cabinets are a must. White Shaker-style cabinetry is classic. Some of the today's most stylish kitchens have open shelving. Homeowners are also embracing the two-toned or tuxedo kitchen, with black or dark blue on the bases. If you’re using a different color on the lower cabinet, repeat that color elsewhere in the space, to give your kitchen a designer look.
3. Counters that are good-looking and low maintenance
Your kitchen needs a practical, attractive workspace. Gone are the days when busy granites dominated every kitchen. Now, quartz is king, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association's 2018 Design Trends Study. It's good for the kitchen because it's durable and low maintenance.
Natural stone counters in marble and quartzite are available at the luxury end of the spectrum. If you're going for natural stone, good news! There are now lifetime sealers, so you don’t have to worry about sealing the counter every year.
4. Simple subway tile for the backsplash
White subway tile is timeless. You can choose a subway tile in a different color, or stick with white and use a dark gray grout to create an interesting contrast.
5. Warm wood on the floor
Hardwood floors add warmth to black and white kitchens. Also popular, and easier to clean: tile that resembles wood plank.
6. Updated metals for hardware and fixtures
Matte black faucets are a thing, especially with farmhouse sinks in contemporary kitchens. You shouldn’t have all black hardware, though, since it can look harsh. For your cabinet knobs and drawer pulls, go modern with gold, or stick with the safer choice, polished nickel. Your vent hood could look incredible in copper.
7. Neutral wall color
The most popular kitchen wall color is gray. You can choose any color you like, though make sure it complements the cabinets and the counters.
Make it yours
Regardless of the design you ultimately choose for your kitchen, personalization is the most important trend. Be sure to focus on your own needs, so you can create a new kitchen that works for everything you do there.