Most homeowners aren't 100% in love with their kitchens. Are you that way, too? It's frustrating not to have the hottest appliances, the coolest gadgets, or the in-fashion color schemes. But before you decide to completely remodel and update, consider these tips and watch our Kitchen Talk video interview with Irwin Weiner ASID and Maria Liberati, celebrity chef and bestselling cookbook author. (Photos of four of Irwin's kitchen designs are shown here.)
- If you have an older kitchen, it may need to be brought into today’s trend of incorporating more of a “living room” experience into the traditional kitchen footprint. Plan for a bigger hangout area to accommodate conversation, homework, playing games, watching TV, and working on the computer—as well as food storage, meal prep, and eating.
- An island is a useful addition to any kitchen. It can be used for meal preparation and, if large enough, can incorporate counter seating for informal meals and snacks. Many islands feature a small sink for rinsing off fresh foods and washing hands, a cooking surface with exhaust (some exhaust systems pop up from the countertop rather than require a hooded unit and ceiling extraction), a durable and practical countertop for meal prep and serving, under-counter storage drawers, under-counter appliances, and a bookshelf for cookbooks and décor items.
- Plan for incorporating new appliances into your new kitchen, and try to get energy-efficient models whenever possible (they'll have high Energy Star ratings). Two-drawer dishwashers make life easier. You can run double loads when you’re entertaining or clean only the drawer that you fill. Consider adding a plate warming drawer, cigar humidor drawer, under-counter beverage center (great for kids to pull out their favorite snacks and beverages without grownup help), wine cabinet, trash compactor, and refrigerator/freezer drawer units.
- Look at Valcucine for inspiration on the latest modular kitchen systems. They’re made with eco-friendly materials in processes that minimize environmental impact, and their fantastic designs include cabinetry that hides appliances when not in use and creates a living room feel.
- For remodeling your kitchen with the environment in mind (and that’s great for your family’s health and safety, too), there’s a great How to Go Green in the Kitchen guide with helpful articles on the Planet Green website.
- Great cabinetry can make a great kitchen. Cheap cabinetry will cost you more money in the long run, so invest in good work. Absolute Kitchen and Bath Marketplace in Surrey, Maine has a Superior Construction Checklist to help you select or build quality cabinets that will stand up to time and heavy use.