Open, Smart and Colorful: The New Ideas for Kitchens

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The days of the kitchen hidden at the back of the house where dishes were prepared and dishes were washed is no longer.

Today’s kitchens are a place where the family gathers in the early morning hours and at night. And so many kitchen features of the past are slowly being dispensed with to make room for more modern trends.

Color is the new trend, from small pops of color on cushions and cabinets to major items such as appliances. One of the most dramatic changes is a suite of colored appliances. However, for many, this may be too much color for the long haul. Therefore, many designers are opting for an updated kitchen with a focal point of color.

Two that stand out are the red refrigerator nestled into a room full of mellow wooden cabinets. It creates a warm, cozy feeling that’s not at all overpowering. Another look is a vintage-styled stove with bright blue accents. Again, the old-fashioned, wood-burning stove facsimile is cozy while the bright blue is totally modern.

White cabinets are a classic look that is slowly giving way to neutral colors such as tones of blues and greens. For those who want a dramatic look, black, navy, emerald green and purple work nicely to create darker kitchen cabinets for a luxurious feel. Designs need to incorporate good lighting so that the look is not overpowering or provides too little light for the work areas. Nevertheless, it’s a hot trend for the coming years.

Open cabinets are another departure that are as beautiful on the inside as on the outside. Most people can’t reach the top shelves in their cabinets and these are being used more and more as decorative areas instead of storage for rarely used pieces. Often, these overhead cabinets are disappearing completely, opening up wall space for more decorative items. A higher backsplash that reaches to the ceiling is one treatment. Look for arabascatto or calacatta oro marble to fill this space.

With fewer overhead cabinets, kitchen islands are becoming an integrated part of the kitchen, even extending into the living room space in homes with open floor plans. These islands serve many functions, with their built-in appliances and dedicated storage spaces. They are still used as seating space for meals and as bars for parties.

Modern cabinets gain space by eliminating inadequately designed cabinets. In modern kitchens, cabinets have space dedicated to specific small appliances, drawers with dividers for cutlery and utensils, pull-out drawers for spices, tray dividers, caddies for pots and pans, and deeper drawers. Custom designs could even include a tray for Fluffy’s food. Many cabinets are designed to conceal storage of items including food, wastebaskets cabinets for garbage and recyclables, and cleaning implements such as brooms, mops and vacuums. Once the drawers and doors are opened, lights come on to illuminate the contents.

Appliances have stepped up their game also. Top-of-the-line appliance manufacturers are incorporating smart technology into their products. As mentioned above, color is important in modern kitchens. Gone are the days when the homeowner wanted a set of matching appliances. Now, it is not unusual to find a vintage-styled refrigerator or stove sold individually.

The steam/convection oven is the newest must-have appliance. Traditional ovens cook by removing the moisture from foods, but the steam oven cooks food in its own juices. A 14-pound turkey can cook in 90 minutes! Refrigerators are being individualized so that the homeowner can choose the right amount of fresh food storage, freezer storage and wine storage for her needs.

Smart Kitchens
Smart technology extends beyond smart appliances. Smart technology is being incorporated into kitchen design from the ground up. Older kitchens are adding sensors, smart gadgets and other devices to accommodate the owner’s convenience.

Motion-sense-equipped faucets are an easy addition. Refrigerators that tell you when you are running low on certain items are available. Coffee makers can be programmed to have the coffee ready when you get up. An updated lighting system will allow you to control the lights from your smartphone. Wine technology is evolving to allow single pour systems that accommodate four or more bottles. Expect to see more marvels as the decade progresses.

The kitchen design of today brings the different elements of beauty, function, efficiency and style together in a showplace area that defines the modern home. With the trend toward open-floor plans, the kitchen has become the most important selling point in a home buyer’s decision, according to real estate agents. As you plan your makeover, keep the words “luxury kitchen” in mind. It will help your home sell faster and for more money. Even if you are not planning to sell, you will have an area where everyone wants to spend quality time. ■

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