Kitchen design: 5 hot trends

What’s cooking in 2014.

Maybe you spent your New Year’s Eve cringing every time friends passed through your outdated kitchen. Or maybe you and your sous chefs spent Christmas colliding as you tried to cook the feast in a poorly laid out space. Whatever the reason, a kitchen facelift is a great way to add convenience and value to your home. We talked to local experts and researched this year’s top trends in kitchen design.

1. Open storage: When you invest in pricey copper pots and high-end china, it’s only natural to want to show them off. Many people are eschewing traditional cabinetry in favor of easy, functional shelves. “People know where things are right away, especially if someone is helping you who’s not familiar with your kitchen,” said Sharon Bledsoe, owner of Sharon Bledsoe Designs in Pleasant Hill.

The trend toward open storage has made the pantry more popular, according to Bledsoe. Unless you want to showcase your canned goods, consider adding a pantry or maximizing space in your current one if you decide to go for this trend.

2. Mixed materials: The chilly monolith kitchens are heading out of style, and a warmer, more eclectic look is on its way in. Linda Groover, a designer and manager with FBS Corporate Solutions, said that a popular look is “mixed materials: stainless steel appliances are still popular, as well as granite countertops, but with the warmth that comes from wood floors.”

If you’re nervous about a wood floor in a spill zone, try a vinyl floor textured to look like wood. Not only have vinyl floors come a long way since your grandmother’s day, it’s a more affordable and more life-proof option than adding a custom wood floor.

3. Eco-friendly: The trend toward environmentally friendly materials and products is still going strong, especially in the design world. Bledsoe suggested, “eco-friendly countertops, made of recycled materials.” Countertops aren’t just made of traditional laminate and marble any more – you’ll find surfaces made from things like recycled glass and bamboo.

Another popular option is a glass backsplash. “Glass rules for the backsplash,” Groover said. “It’s a sustainable trend: it’s not so trendy that it’s here today, gone tomorrow.” To keep things green, check out recycled glass tiles, which are now readily available.

4. Functionality: Of course, your kitchen needs to be laid out to make cooking seamless and hassle-free. But if you’re like most people, your kitchen is “the hub of the house,” Bledsoe said. “More and more, people are wanting to do things like entertain or do homework in the kitchen.”

With that in mind, a popular trend is adding functionality to the kitchen. Think large islands with seating or an area similar to a breakfast bar. Reimagining your seating or the breakfast nook is an affordable facelift that can help draw family and guests into the kitchen.

5. Old and new: If you like an updated feel, but aren’t comfortable with going full-on contemporary (or if you can’t afford to), take note. “I would say mixing postmodern with traditional is in,” said Jennifer Morris, a Dayton-based designer.

If you’re on a budget, there are some simple things you can do to achieve this look. “Try mixing cabinets, light fixtures and artwork,” Morris said. Try showcasing modern cabinets or shelving, investing in some chic lighting — as Bledsoe said, “lighting is crucial in the kitchen” — or adding a couple of choice prints or canvases.

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