Beautiful and Functional: today’s kitchen has to look good and work well

New kitchen designs are not only functional but beautiful, incorporating traditional details with modern convenience features.

Builders sometimes exclude formal dining rooms and allocate more space to incorporate a larger, eat-in kitchen. Often the kitchen opens into the family room in many new home designs.

Kitchen expansions are an increasingly popular renovation.

Space planning

An average kitchen renovation will cost $10,000 to $20,000, so put some thought into planning it well so you’ll enjoy it for a long time.

You should start out by giving your designer the layout of the existing kitchen. The designer should accurately convey to you what your new kitchen will look like before the work is done.

Here are some things to consider when deciding how you want to re-design your kitchen layout.

The appliances in your work triangle – the sink, stove and refrigerator – should be in close proximity to each other and away from heavy traffic areas. Traffic flow is important to consider, as well as work stations.

Consider where the doorways are and if they lead from heavy traffic areas. Plan where you would like to perform various tasks and incorporate lighting accordingly.

A double access kitchen concept is designed with separate work stations – both equipped with sinks – so two people can work in the kitchen at the same time.


Maple is the number 1 choice in cabinet doors, because of its smooth tone and closed grain so moisture doesn’t get in easily.

There is a wide range of colors available in maple. Natural cherry is also a popular choice in wood because it adds warmth.

Colors are more broadly accepted, although they have to be subtle and classic-looking, adding that classic white will always be popular.

Antique glaze is popular and gives the look of stain or paint having been stripped away.

Speckling is a technique meant to create imperfect finish.

The finishes give you a timeless look.

Get two to three estimates before choosing your cabinets. Check for quality. Look very closely at the inside and outside. Check for cracks and unevenness.


Countertops range in price and quality, from granite – which has a natural beauty – to state-of-the-art solid surfaces, and the more common laminate materials.

There’s nothing as beautiful as natural granite of one of the more costly countertop materials.

Granite costs between $150 and $200 per linear foot. The advantage to spending more on granite is the beauty and uniqueness of the natural material. But unlike the man-made materials, granite has pores which make it a little more difficult to clean.

Often countertops and sinks are made from solid surface materials such as corian, an acrylic-based material. Solid surfaces are popular for their seamless look and easy care. They come in a wide range of colors and can have a smooth, modern look or a speckled, granite appearance. These surfaces cost between $95 and $115 per running foot.

Laminate is what most builders use. It is a lower-cost alternative to the other materials. Post-form laminate has a rounded front edge and costs between $60 and $70 per running foot. You can add a richer look to a laminate countertop with a contrasting edge made of a solid surface material, such as copper or wood.

Storage and drawers

Although many builders make drawer systems of particle board covered with melamine or thermofoil, sophisticated new drawer systems are made of steel or aluminum. These metal drawers are self-closing and very strong.

Many drawers also feature innovative and space-saving devices, such as knife blocks built into drawers, molded drawer inserts in a variety of shapes, pull-out towel racks, tilt-out soap trays, and the list goes on.


Details are a big issue in current guidecraft kitchen designs.

He suggests details to add some interest to your kitchen decor. Split spindles applied to the corners of an island can add an ornate, traditional look. Applied moldings on cabinetry, adds depth.

Crown molds or beaded molds are much more predominant and more sophisticated than they were three or four years ago.

Ceramic tiles are used often and are an interesting way to add a personalized touch to a countertop or backsplash.

Open shelves, plate racks and glass cabinet doors don’t serve a practical purpose, but add an attractive touch. Built-in wine racks are also a popular feature in recent designs.


Appliances more flush with the cabinets create an integrated look. Appliances either blend with the cabinetry or stand out completely from the rest of the decor, as with stainless steel.

Built in cooktops and wall ovens are popular, but a little more expensive than single units. There are drop-in stoves that create a similar effect by having the countertop cut out around the stove.

Everyone wants a built-in look, but they don’t want to buy built-in appliances.

Ceran cooktops – made of ceramic glass – are the latest in stoves. These are scratch-resistant and easy to clean. Gas cook tops are also increasingly popular.

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