What’s the recipe for a fabulous, functional kitchen? This question is key whether you’re buying a new home, renovating your current one to make it more appealing to potential buyers, or enhancing it for your own enjoyment. Below is a list of essential epicurean kitchen ingredients:
Layout is crucial. The classic work triangle- of which the three points are the fridge, stove and sink-is classic for a reason: it’s the most efficient layout. But as homes become bigger, two-cook families become more common, and more entertaining happens in the kitchen, the triangle gives way to layouts consisting of multiple workstations in the form of islands and peninsulas, sometimes outfitted with a second sink or cooktop.
Today’s homeowners have more kitchen appliances than ever- juicers, countertop composters, espresso machines- making counter space critical. Counters should be ample beside the fridge, stove, sink and microwave, where they’ll be used the most. As to countertop finishes, durability and easy cleaning are key. Ceramic tile and laminate surfaces aren’t as durable as solid surfaces like granite and marble, but cost considerably less.
Flooring should likewise be durable and easily cleaned, as kitchens are high-traffic areas and subject to frequent spills. Vinyl is often forgiving, potentially saving that dropped dish, but it damages easily and needs replacing sooner than other flooring. Wood and ceramic tiles look great but are harder to clean. Laminates lend themselves well to kitchens, as they’re long lasting, easy to clean, reasonably priced and attractive.
If energy-efficient appliances aren’t a must now, they soon will be, as homeowners become ever more conscious about lowering the costs of home maintenance and the impact of energy use on the environment. Regarding colour and finish, stainless steel is trendy and attractive. On the flip side, trends come and go, and stainless steel finishes show fingerprints easily, requiring frequent cleaning to maintain their good looks. A popular, fail-safe alternative to stainless steel is classic white.
Standard 30 inch high cabinets are giving way to 36 or 42 inch cabinets, providing extra storage for rarely used items. Custom cabinets are the most pricey, but even stock cabinets are customizable, thanks to the multitude of space-saving organizers available, like under-cabinet spice racks, roll-outs, Lazy Susans, hanging cookbook racks, etc.
For a kitchen to be appealing and functional, it should incorporate both ambient and task lighting. Task areas like sinks, counters and tables need intense, shadowless light- under-cabinet mounts to illuminate counters; and pendant-style fixtures suspended over islands and peninsulas. Ambient light provides the brightness needed for casual activities- fluorescent uplights over cabinets; halogen puck fixtures; and dimmer switches to create mood.