The kitchen is often thought of as the heart of the home. It’s a multifunctional space that hosts a full spectrum of experiences, from quiet morning coffee and contemplation to boisterous gatherings and emphatic conversations; it nourishes our feelings of connection and belonging, as well as our bellies and bodies.
It’s no wonder that when it comes to renovating, the kitchen can feel like a huge undertaking.
Rachel Acevedo of Rachel Acevedo Design shared some top trends in kitchen remodeling that will help even the smallest investment yield an impactful return.
“It doesn’t have to be all or nothing!” Acevedo said. At the base level, she suggests adding interesting hardware to pre-existing cabinetry. As a bonus, matching everything is out, and varying the finish is in, so feel free to experiment with a blend of different metals—brass, chrome, copper, stainless steel—for the faucet, light fixtures, and cabinet handles to make the space immediately more visually interesting.
Painting pre-existing cabinetry is another affordable way to completely transform the kitchen space. Acevedo suggests sticking with a neutral palette on larger pieces like cabinetry, and then adding smaller pops of color and accents with countertop appliances and hand towels, for example—they’re easier to change with the seasons or style trends.
“Just make sure whatever colors you choose complement the other colors in your home,” Acevedo said. “All rooms should nod to each other.”
The kitchen sink needs to be functional, but switching out the conventional two-sided metal one for a deep porcelain apron sink helps make more of an aesthetic statement. Metal can feel industrial and cold, and seeing a farmhouse-style sink even in a non-farmhouse-style kitchen can feel more inviting and homey.
“Bringing the eye up” is a common mantra in the design world to make ceilings appear taller and spaces larger. The same holds true in the kitchen. Acevedo shared two different ways you can apply this to your own space.
First, take the cabinets all the way up to the ceiling.
Second, a newer trend is to extend the stone slab countertop all the way up the walls as a matching backsplash. “Be sure to extend it all the way up to the ceiling behind the stove hood,” she said. These techniques, paired together, give the illusion of increased visual space.
There is so much going on in the kitchen—so many appliances, tools and utensils—that it can very easily feel cluttered. This creates underlying stress that could spill over into other aspects of home and life.
There are three trends in storage that can help quell the issue.
First, think about adding a kitchen island. They are super functional, creating extra seating, extra prep space, plus an island can act as a contrasting statement piece to the neutral cabinets. Acevedo suggested a warm wood tone with different hardware from that on the cabinets.
Second, if you plan to redo your cabinets, consider creating an appliance cabinet or appliance garage. Explore conventional doors, pocket doors, or even doors that slide, as a garage door does.
Either way, this gives potentially unsightly countertop appliances a home, and gives your eyes a rest. The kitchen looks much cleaner with most things hidden away.
Third, rather than having cabinet doors that sit on top of the frame, flush cabinet panels—where the doors and drawers are inset—modernize the old-world charm of Shaker panels and update them to be sleek and clean.
Last but not least, Acevedo covered some important tips about lighting.
Because the kitchen is a workspace, it needs ample lighting. Natural light is always best, and can be accommodated by adding taller French casement push-out windows, which are easier to access for every height, or by using pendants over an island or breakfast bar.
For shorter ceilings, add recessed lighting to open up another inch or two of space.
And as a general rule, lighting in the kitchen should be white, to evoke a sense of cleanliness, make the space feel larger, and to enable you to see the tasks at hand.
“Warm amber light is for ambiance,” Acevedo said. “Save that for pendants and other rooms of the house.”
She believes that small changes can still have a huge impact, changing the way you feel when you walk into a space. “When there is intentionality behind our environment, we can choose how we want to feel and can make our environment help us get there,” Acevedo said. “The right environment can transform your mindset and your life.”
Rachel Acevedo of Hawley-based Rachel Acevedo Design works with clients within the Wayne, Pike and Sullivan counties as well as in the New York City metro area. She also serves e-design clients across the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit rachelacevedodesign.com.
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