Sure-Fire Ways to Make Sure You Have a “Forever” Kitchen
If you’re like most people who are house hunting or building their own home from scratch, one of your must-have items is most likely a modern, open plan kitchen where you can cook and entertain family and friends. Not surprising inasmuch as the kitchen is the social hub – and most popular corner – of the home.
As you imagine color, lines, and elements that you love to have in that dream kitchen, ask yourself if these features will hold the same charm and appeal for you five or ten years into the future. There’s nothing more frustrating – not to mention expensive – than kitchen makeovers and updates.
So as you plan on building that kitchen, remember to separate current fads and trends from the things that have staying power. Let’s start with some ideas that you may want to include in your overall design to create a timeless look for the kitchen.
From its windows and bright lights to its light-colored décor and open –plan design, this spacious, modern kitchen in a 2-story, 3-bedroom, 2½-bath Craftsman style home plan exudes a warm, inviting, and timeless look (House Plan #108-1789).
1. White Is the Name of the Game
While you may like funky designs and colors, these may go out of style as fast as the next “hot” fashion trend.
Stick to white, the ultimate “feel good” color. It’s bright and light, and it pairs perfectly with any color. You can install an all-white kitchen without sacrificing style and comfort.
All-white kitchens are versatile and clean, and they present an uncluttered picture. With the white backdrop, you can add personal touches to make the kitchen warm and inviting. Think of your favorite accessories and accents – a colorful vase, candle holders, pottery – and use them around your kitchen countertops and shelves.
In addition, the clean and uncluttered canvas of a white kitchen allows you to be creative. You can switch out fixtures and furniture, accessorize with color, or add decorative touches to glass doors and open shelves to give the kitchen a different perspective every few years.
A few touches of color provided by the hardwood floor, chairs, hanging lamps, and plants add to the appeal of this delightful all-white kitchen in a 3-bedroom Ranch style home plan with country touches (House Plan #106-1286).
2. Windows + Lighting Fixtures = Bright & Airy
One of the great sights in the morning is sunlight streaming into all the rooms of a house – especially the kitchen. There’s just nothing like a bright and airy kitchen where you can enjoy meals with the family and work on your favorite recipes and concoctions.
Great lighting is very important in a kitchen design – whether through windows that allow natural light to filter through or fixtures that provide sufficient lighting. For maximum light, keep the windows unobstructed – use blinds instead of curtains. In addition to overhead lighting – like track lights – install pendant lamps, under-cabinet lights, and even wall sconces for optimal brightness in the kitchen.
Windows – a lot of them – plus overhead and accent light fixtures give this classic spacious kitchen of a 1-story, 2-bedroom luxury style home plan a bright, airy, breezy, and bigger feel (House Plan #161-1072).
3. Warm and Neutral Hardwood Floors
A 2013 survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that more than 50 percent of buyers who purchased homes without hardwood floors were willing to pay more to get them installed – especially in their kitchens.
What’s with hardwood floors and their popularity? For starters, hardwood is elegant, warm, inviting, and smooth. It’s a stunning feature in the kitchen because of its rich grain, texture, and natural beauty. Like the white backdrop mentioned above, hardwood blends well with any kitchen design.
It is an ideal choice for open floor plans because it allows a smooth transition from the kitchen to other rooms. Can it stand high traffic, spills, dents, and other “accidents” in the kitchen? Experts agree that if you choose oak, ash, or maple, your kitchen floor will withstand all the scratches and overflows that happen. Aside from its toughness, hardwood can be eco-friendly when it comes from sustainably managed forests.
So don’t suffer through buyers’ remorse, and get going with hardwood floors in your kitchen.
There’s a perfect mix and match of colors in this eat-in kitchen of a charming 2-story, 2½-bath Craftsman style home plan. The beautiful hardwood floors complement the neutral shade of the cabinets and blend well with the light blue-painted walls. (House Plan #146-2810)
4. Ample Space to Work and Sit
Whether you have a large or a small kitchen, it’s important to have work space and ample seating for family and friends.
Let’s begin with the work space and one of the most important tools in the kitchen: counter space. If you have cramped counter space, there’s a tendency to rest cutting boards, coffeepots (when not in use), and pans on the stovetop. That’s why your wish list for the kitchen should include an island and plenty of counter space for cooking and prep work.
Because the kitchen is a social magnet that draws guests inside, be prepared to create a design that includes places to sit. Consider eat-in breakfast nooks, islands, and counters. A built-in banquette works quite well in a small kitchen.
Welcome to this attractive and very spacious kitchen of a 2-story, 6-bedroom Country style home plan with Craftsman influences. In addition to the counters, there’s a large island that can be utilized as both a work space and eat-in nook – with enough room for friends and family to sit and interact (House Plan # 163-1047).
5. Clean Design with Simple Cabinets
Cabinets with clean, simple lines are part and parcel of a timeless kitchen design. Choose cabinets that don’t overpower that backdrop – but blend seamlessly into the entire layout.
Shaker cabinets, for example – with their classic minimalist design – never go out of style and give the kitchen that timeless look. One of the most enduring furniture styles in the U.S., Shaker craftsmanship is attributed to the religious sect that predominantly lived in the Northeast in the 1860s. Shaker woodworking techniques focus on simple details, practicality, and beautiful craftsmanship
There are tables, chairs, drawers, chests, and cabinets designed in the modest but elegant Shaker style. Their plain and neat lines – specifically in cabinetry – are perfect for your “forever” kitchen.
Simple and beautiful white cabinets – with extra-long pulls to emphasize the lines – are perfect accessories in the minimalist but elegant design of this kitchen in a 2-story, 4-bedroom Georgian style home plan (House Plan #195-1150).
6. Storage Space
Creating storage space in an open plan kitchen may be a challenge. But you can be imaginative in designing these zones – instead of keeping items in the laundry room, garage, or shed.
You can install kitchen islands that come with a lot of drawers and cabinets. Don’t get rid of wall cabinets. Instead, combine them with custom-built open shelves on kitchen walls. Designate open shelves for everyday items that you want to be readily accessible, and use cabinets for other kitchen needs.
If you have room, you can add a pantry to the storage space mix – where you can store grocery items, non-perishable stuff, kitchen utensils, pots and pans, and various gadgets.
Top: A kitchen to love and keep: This delightfully attractive all-white kitchen of a 1-story,2-bedroom luxury home plan features lots of cabinets, drawers, and open shelves for storage space. Bottom: Open the farm-style sliding door, and walk into a pantry for more storage room (House Plan # 161-1072).
7. Tiled Backsplash
Wrap up your timeless kitchen design with a classic tile backsplash.
Yes, there are other options like wallpaper, ceramic, glass, marble, stone, and metal. While these backsplash materials have become trendier in recent years, the consensus for a lasting look in the kitchen is the iconic subway tile.
Originally used in the 1900s to line New York City’s first subway tunnels, the subway tile is now used in kitchens as well as baths. The traditional subway tile comes in white 3-inch-by-6-inch rectangles. They are easy to clean and maintain, and they’re elegant and adaptable to any kitchen style or décor.
This kitchen in a classic 2-story, 4-bedroom Prairie style home plan features iconic subway tile in its counter backsplash (House Plan # 108-1791).
Trends and styles come and go. But with some careful thought and planning, you can design a “forever” kitchen with a classic, lasting appeal.
Footnote: The lead image in this article features the spacious and magnificent kitchen of a 2-story, 5-bedroom Mediterranean style home plan with Georgian influences. For details, click here. (House Plan # 195-1153)