Your kitchen is much more than just a place to prepare meals. Your family probably spends a lot of time there: coordinating family activities, doing homework, paying bills, shopping online and even entertaining. That’s why a kitchen design is about far more than having a place to store your pots, pans, and canned goods. It’s about your lifestyle and your personal style. And that means no more plain vanilla!

If you’re looking for inspiration on Houzz or Pinterest on how to update your kitchen, you might see a lot of photos of all-white kitchens. If that doesn’t appeal to you, there are lots of other choices in kitchen design that might suit you and your family much better.

Retro and Bright

Retro kitchens combine practical family-friendly spaces with clean lines, stylish fixtures and colors like electric lime, turquoise, orange, and red. Bamboo cabinets with minimal hardware are popular with this style. Mid-century modern touches are perfect, too — glass tiles, geometric patterns, diner-style stools, and big, bright posters. Light fixtures tend to be simple, but dramatic, like white globes or spiky “starbursts.”

Retro style kitchen

Photo of retro style kitchen courtesy Kohler Co.

Contemporary and Sophisticated

Like retro kitchens, contemporary kitchens feature clean lines and glossy surfaces. This style is all about minimalist design. Strong horizontal lines, sleek cabinets, and elements such as cement floors enhance the pared-down elegance. Natural light streaming through large windows is a hallmark of this style, with lighting fixtures that do double duty as sculptural design elements. Smart kitchen storage solutions keep countertops bare, giving the room a calm, Zen-like quality.

Contemporary kitchen

Photo of contemporary kitchen courtesy KitchenAid

Commercial and Efficient

Perfect for home chefs who love everything about food and the joy of cooking wonderful meals, this style borrows elements from commercial kitchens: stainless steel counters, backsplashes and appliances, and a stove (typically gas) with six or more burners, warming drawers, and other features. Efficiency is key, so open shelves, a butcher block with knife storage, tall pulldown faucets, and pot-filler faucets mounted on a tiled wall over the range are nice additions. A glass-front fridge showcases fresh foods. A practical rack keeps professional-quality pots and pans handy, and bar stools are a must, so family and guests can gather to watch – or help – as a meal is being prepared.

Country and Cozy

Imagine a kitchen smelling of fresh herbs and apple pie! This is a cozy, richly textured kitchen style that’s all about comfort. It can feature elements like wood counters, wooden beams, stained or painted bead board for the walls, with glass-door cabinets finished in different colors. Cabinets may feature a hutch style, and the island may include furniture-type legs. A large farmhouse sink with an apron front is perfect, as are vintage light fixtures. Instead of bright colors, muted colors and natural textures create a cozy, comfortable feel for the space.

Country style kitchen

Photo courtesy The Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS®)

Universal Design and Accessible

Universal design helps a kitchen work for everyone—at every age. These kitchens are clean and open. By designing at least 42 inches of space between cabinets and the island, the kitchen becomes wheelchair friendly. Multi-height counters and waist-level appliances make surfaces accessible even for young children. Safety features include plenty of natural and task lighting, plus hard-surface floors that are slip-resistant. D-shaped handles and touchless (or single-lever) faucets, pullout storage drawers and Lazy Susans all make the kitchen easier to use. Wall ovens, side-by-side refrigerators and putting the microwave in an island rather than above the counter eliminate bending and reaching. It’s a truly ageless kitchen design!

These styles are just starting points. Trading up from a “plain vanilla” kitchen means combining the style elements you love most with spaces and functionality designed for all the ways you use your kitchen. We’d love to help you do that. Give us a call today and let’s start exploring the possibilities.

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