Top 10 Kitchen Design Trends of 2009
The kitchen is the traditional gathering place for family and friends – a magnet for conversation and companionship. It is the heart of the home – the social hub, the main workspace for meal preparation, homework and various craft projects. Many real estate professionals consider the kitchen to be the most important room in the house.
Kitchens may attract people, but not all kitchens are attractive. Because they are often a deal breaker in home sales, many owners opt to do a little remodeling, knowing that they can enjoy the benefits of an updated kitchen until it’s time to move.
Industry statistics indicate that because the kitchen has a major impact on a home’s value and on home sales, it’s a good area to target for improvement. A well designed improvement offers a good return on investment, typically adding thousands of dollars to the appraised value of your home.
According to an ongoing national investigation of more than three million home improvement projects conducted by Oregon-based CNW Research, kitchen remodels are #1 of all remodeling projects. They consume more money, energy and attention than any other project short of building an entire new house.
The average duration from initial concept to completion is just under two years. The return on investment, according to Remodeling Magazine, for minor kitchen remodels is 79.5 percent (average cost: $21,246/estimated value: $16,881) and for major kitchen remodels is 70.7 percent (average cost: $110,964/estimated value: $78,398).
Your dream kitchen should combine artistic flair with practical function. The top design trends and features include:
- Ceramic or glass tile backsplash. Backsplashes provide an opportunity to accessorize and personalize a kitchen in a practical way. Because of the relatively small area they occupy, they can be full of color, constructed of high-end materials or they can paint a picture, so to speak, in the form of a mosaic mural.
- Stone counters. Whether it’s granite, soapstone or poured cement, natural is the key to beauty and practicality in a countertop.
- High-tech professional-grade appliances. Six-burner convection ovens are de rigueur these days. Seen at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show 2009 in Chicago, ceiling-mounted, whisper-quiet commercial exhaust fans and range hoods eliminate cooking odors and add drama to the kitchen design. Also on display at the show were induction cooktops with sensors to measure temperatures from the bottom of a pan, applying the correct amount of energy to the element for precise cooking results without wasted energy. Other high-tech items featured at the show were the touchless faucet and LG refrigerator with automated drawer for easy opening – items designed to appeal to homeowners planning for “aging in place.” Built-in wine coolers and sub-zero refrigerators are other popular appliances.
- Custom cabinets. Although refrigerators and microwaves are sometimes hidden behind matching custom cabinetry, dishes and glassware often aren’t. Glass door panels with recessed lighting showcase the good china. An even more effective way to show off the goods is with open shelving. Some home owners opt for cabinets without fronts, while others incorporate long shelves. Maple, glazed or ebony are the current craze in finishes.
- Lighting. LED under-cabinet lighting was widely displayed at KBIS 2009, combining convenience with drama. Recessed lighting throughout the work areas, combined with hanging pendant fixtures, is practical and pretty.
- Sinks. Undermount sinks are sensible companions for granite counters, but the ultimate trend is the old-fashioned white apron-front farm kitchen sink. These big, heavy sinks offer more charm and practicality than a stainless steel sink, particularly for large families or homeowners who entertain frequently.
- Floors. Because kitchens see a lot of traffic, selecting the right flooring is important. Choices sometimes reflect geographical location: Saltillo tiles, exotic hardwoods and parquet are all regional favorites. Choice is also influenced by budget. Despite the cost, however, natural options such as hardwoods and stone – including limestone and slate – are the most popular. While pre-finished oak remained popular, darker exotic woods like cherry, mahogany, Brazilian walnut, African Bubinga and Mexican Purpleheart are selected for their unique color and graining, as well as their superior hardness and density.
- Glam. The KBIS 2009 show displayed sophisticated designs with hints of old Hollywood glamour and European sleek. Heavily ornate details are out. Color, however, is in, with TurboChef ovens in orange, refrigerators in an array of hues and even gold faucets.
- Convenience. From user-friendly floor plans that place an extra sink in a center island to accessories like floor-to-ceiling spice racks and warming trays, the focus is on simplifying things for the cook.
- Eco-friendly. Cabinetry approved by the Forest Stewardship Council is constructed from renewable and reclaimed agricultural products and contains low or no added formaldehyde adhesives. Bamboo is a popular eco-friendly material for kitchen cabinets.
Unless you’re going for a pure period look or a completely mod style, an eclectic mix of antique or reproduction pieces add character combined with convenience to make a functional kitchen reflect your style. But whatever you do, ditch the wallpaper, borders, boxed ceiling lights and kitsch.
Lori Lovely is a real estate contributor for the Indianapolis real estate website of ICON Realty Partners, LLC. The website, located at www.indyhomespecialist.com, features helpful information about buying and selling homes in any market.
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