Kitchen Trends & Design Tips

Hairstyle fads grow out, this year's clothing falls to the back of the closet, but your kitchen can stay with you for years. Trends mark an opportunity to refresh your look and expand your cooking capabilities. At the same time, you risk going all in on a color palette or design philosophy that grows tiresome before you can afford to refresh your kitchen again. Let that tension between design impulse and caution guide you toward lasting style.

Expanded Cooking Capabilities

Ranges and their cooktops offer enhanced cooking prowess through technologies that score highly with cooks who demand the most from their kitchens. Induction cooktops use magnetic energy rather than direct heat, leaving pots and pans cool. Induction requires flat-bottomed ferrous-metal utensils, or iron discs that intermediate between range top and non-magnetic vessels. Relying on fan-forced hot air to reach through the oven cavity, ranges with convection capabilities produce finely textured breads and other baked goods and perfectly cooked meat.

New and larger oven designs include dividers that produce two discrete control areas capable of simultaneous operation without transfer of odors or temperature levels between them. Programmable settings and built-in touchscreen computerized controls feature degree-specific settings for ovens and refrigerators, Wi-Fi® access to perform online research into ingredients and recipes, and digitized inventory capabilities that track food dates and storage locations.

Cabinet Designs

Neutral colors and grays make appearances in the color palette for kitchen cabinetry and decor. Open storage options create focal areas of shelving for ingredients and tools. Some cupboard styles feature storage expressly designed to accommodate pots and pans, making it easier to cluster tools and utensils by function. Following this organizational strategy, you place related items together and locate them near the appliance with which you use them: for example, cookie sheets and cake pans with mixers, positioned near the range.

Whether you plan a new kitchen or reorganize and refresh an existing one, check for a well-planned work triangle, the three-sided pathway among refrigerator, range and sink, preferably totaling no more than about 26 feet in walking distance. If you opt for a preparation island, check its position to ensure that it doesn't intrude on your work path.

Light Fantastic

With new options for beautiful backsplashes and eye-catching sustainable flooring materials, keeping your kitchen well lit becomes important on aesthetic grounds as well as for practical reasons. Dimmers enable you to set a mood or highlight a specific preparation area. Energy-efficient LED bulbs work to illuminate virtually any area or surface, with recessed fixtures in walls or ceiling to provide general room light and under-cabinet strips or tapes to brighten countertops and provide ambiance. LED bulbs combine ultra-long lifespans with cool light output, reducing the impact of light fixtures on temperature levels.

Entertain Yourself

Combining kitchen and dining areas facilitates social interaction between cooks and diners, eases service at dinner parties and blurs the differences between cooking and entertaining. Seating areas deserve careful planning to assure walking space around tables, regardless of whether all your chairs include occupants. Incorporating an HDTV and home theater setup transforms your kitchen even more literally into the focal point of your home, inviting family and guests to linger after dinner.

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