Cherry and maple cabinetry are losing their appeal for many homeowners. Instead, new kitchens and kitchen remodels are lighter and brighter -- but not necessarily ultra-modern. Many families find that a sleek, modern kitchen looks too cold and sterile. Instead, they're choosing a French country kitchen with colorful accents or an eclectic kitchen that pulls in design elements from various styles.
Install butcher-block counters on the areas that flank the sides of your range. This creates a practical prep space that you'll love -- go green with wood that is sustainably harvested. Instead of granite or marble, consider easy-to-clean, eco-friendly options to cover the rest of your countertops. We love the idea of recycled aluminum tiles or sheets, as suggested by This Old House. They resist fingerprints and stains.
Families are pulling in elements from traditional farmhouse kitchens -- like a big farmhouse sink or table -- partnered with modern cabinets and a trendy backsplash. Other unusual blends are also popular, like distressed wood cabinets in interesting hues (blue is a favorite) teamed up with high-gloss countertops. Check out our galleries for inspiration.
According to a recent survey by the National Kitchen and Bath Association, though white and off-white are still the most popular, 33 percent of designers reported using gray in their kitchen remodels. Shades of gray can vary from light dove gray to deep charcoal, and everything in between.
In addition to durable, kid-friendly surfaces and plenty of space, many kitchens feature other additions that are suited for the little ones. Rounded corners on countertops, induction cooktops and soft-close cabinet doors and drawers make the space a little safer. Also, microwave drawers and snack drawers get down on kid-level, allowing children easier access for snacktime and mealtime.
If you don't have room for a table or large island, a breakfast nook right off the kitchen becomes the perfect option. A nook can be a kid-friendly homework space where kids can eat as well as do homework and other projects. Choose a table with a durable surface and adequate lighting with a dimmer switch.
Recycled aluminum, recycled glass, reclaimed wood and bamboo are becoming very popular in kitchen backsplashes. Though some designers still like to use the same material on the countertop and the backsplash, many are turning to a contrasting look this year.
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