It’s easy to get swept along with what’s in vogue when you’re remodelling, only to get bummed out by your faddish design choices a few years later.
You’re likely only going to remodel your kitchen once since a complete kitchen renovation on average starts around $60,000. With that much on the line, you want to make all the right moves. If you do, you could recover about 62% of your investment if you sell!
So future-proof yourself from disappointment by utilizing these seven definitive kitchen features that will retain their beauty, marketability, and value — all while giving you lasting enjoyment.
White is the dominant colour
Bottom line: White is the most marketable colour and is one of the most popular kitchen colours. It simply doesn’t go out of style.
Throughout history, it’s been associated with happiness, purity and new beginnings. It’s a bright colour that reflects light and makes even small kitchens feel larger, plus it’s a germaphobe’s dream — dirt has no place to hide.
Even better, it’s extremely tolerant of both your budget and taste. As a standard colour for any manufacturer, you’ll easily find white cabinets, tile, counters, faucets, sinks, and appliances at any price point.
And with a white backdrop, you can be as conservative or expressive as you want. After all, it’s about your enjoyment, not just dollars and cents. You can add your personal touch with coloured glass knobs and pulls, or show off antique glassware on open shelves or in upper cabinets with glass fronts.
Heck, with a white palette, you can change your mind about paint colour on a whim. Those all-white basics will make any hue you choose look fresh.
Hardwood for flooring
Hardwood flooring has been everyone’s first pick for years. That’s especially been true ever since hardwood flooring was mass-produced during the Industrial Revolution, making beautiful flooring readily available at a reasonable cost.
Today, more than half of home buyers who purchased a home without hardwood floors say they would have paid extra for them. Our nesting instincts know that hardwood has warmth, personality, and makes our homes cozy. That’s why this clever chameleon pairs well with any style — from casual cottage and sleek contemporary to the most chi-chi traditional.
More reasons why wood flooring is a great option:
• It’s perfect for open floor plans. It flows beautifully from the kitchen into adjoining rooms.
• It’s tough. Hardwoods such as oak, ash and maple will shrug off your kitchen’s high-traffic punishment for years. Solid hardwood flooring can be refinished multiple times during it’s typical 100-year lifespan.
• It’s eco-friendly. Hardwood is considered a green building material when it’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and comes from sustainably managed forests.
Shaker-style for cabinets
Thank heaven for the Shakers. While they were busy reducing life to its essentials, they made cabinets with clean, simple lines that will forever be an enduring legacy of style and, like wood flooring, look good in any setting. Their simple frame-and-panel design helps reduce the amount of busyness in a kitchen, making it a soothing, friendly place to be.
Those plain, simple, clean lines are a perfect fit for transitional style — a beautiful combo of traditional and contemporary. As families have grown more diverse, transitional has become the most popular kitchen style. It lets us personalize and blend cultural influences into our homes. It’s also the perfect balance of old and new, just like Shaker-style cabinets.
Carrara marble for countertops
Carrara marble is a timeless classic that’s been used in homes for thousands of years. (Michelangelo’s “David” was carved from Carrara.) It’ll look as good in the next millennium as it does now. Here’s why:
• Carrara’s lacy graining and subtle white colours look terrific in a white kitchen (or any kitchen, for that matter) and you find that in other natural stones.
• It’s readily available, making it less expensive than other high-end choices, such as quartz.
• It’ll last for generations.
Carrara does stain easily, but if you want something truly timeless, marble is the answer. And with today’s sealants, the problem of staining is almost moot if you reseal once or twice a year.
Still not sold? Or don’t have the budget? Laminate countertops that mimic the look of marble are
relatively inexpensive and can be upgraded to stone when you do have the budget.
Subway tile for the backsplash
Subway tile goes back to the early 1900s, when it was used to line New York’s first subway tunnels. Classic subway tiles are white, 3”x6” rectangles — a look that became popular in American kitchens and baths, and has stuck around ever since.
In the kitchen, ceramic tile excels as a backsplash where it guards against moisture, is a snap to clean, lasts forever and always looks classy.
Sure, a backsplash can be an opportunity for a blast of colour and pattern, but neutrals will always be current and blend with any look. Plus, a subway tile backsplash and a marble countertop make a dashing couple that will stand the test of time.
Adaptability and universal design features mean easy living at any age. Smart ergonomics simply mean convenience — for young or old, party people or homebodies — a key factor when remodelling a kitchen that will function well, retain its value and always feel right.
• Create different countertop heights. Standard height is 36 inches, but you can raise or lower sections of cabinets by altering the height of the base.
• Swap a standard range for a wall oven and a cooktop. Ranges have fixed heights so you always have to bend, but a wall oven installs about waist-high.
• Add pull-out shelves to base cabinets, putting
everything at your fingertips.
• Keep wide clearances. Kitchens attract people, and with open floor plans you’re apt to have folks hanging out while you prep. Keep traffic flowing with a minimum of 42 inches between counters and islands.
Today’s families store about 47% of their kitchen stuff outside the kitchen — in laundry rooms, basements, etc. That’s probably because kitchens have evolved from a tucked-away place at the back of the house into an open, multiple-chef, multi-tasking space that’s the hub of family life.
Cabinet manufacturers have you covered with nearly unlimited smart storage options such as shelves and compartments that unfold, turn, extend and slide.
But it’s not just about having storage, it’s about designing it smartly. Follow these guidelines to make your storage timeless:
• Create a primary storage zone. This is an area 30 to 60 inches high and within two feet on either side of your body. Store your most-used items here. With one easy motion, you can grab what you use all the time.
• Plan for the unknown. A truly timeless kitchen anticipates and adapts to future needs, such as:
• A space that can easily convert to an office, wine storage or a closet.
• Lower cabinet spaces that can accommodate a wine cooler, under-counter refrigerator, a second dishwasher, etc.
• An open space that fits a freestanding desk or favourite antique that can personalize the kitchen — no matter who owns the home.