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15 Kitchen Remodel Ideas for a More Beautiful, Functional Space

If you’re looking to remodel your home, it makes sense to ensure the heart of it—the kitchen—looks as good as it possibly can. From finding the right combination of lighting to ensuring you have plenty of seating and storage, it’s important to identify the must-have kitchen design ideas on your list before getting down to the details. Budget is also a major consideration; researching what fits your price range will help you select the right materials and styles.

Once the basics and budget are covered, you can start infusing personality into the space, from glossy backsplashes in playful designs to eye-catching drawer handles and sink faucets in the perfect metallic finish. Ahead, our best ideas for ensuring your kitchen remodel is a stylish success.

Amanda Reynal, interior designer and founder of Amanda Reynal Interiors

Add a Coffee Bar

Meghan Bob Photography, Kitchen Design Group

A growing trend we’re seeing is the incorporation of your very own coffee bar. This is the perfect addition for those who deeply enjoy the ritual of that morning cup of coffee—and for those who want to inspire themselves to stay home instead of swinging through the drive through. A coffee bar is something you build out in a nook or area that’s adjacent to your kitchen, or you can work within the framework of your existing space. Fill your coffee bar with a high-quality coffee maker or barista system, all the coffee fixings, and of course your favorite mugs.

Create Clever Storage

Johnny Miller

You can never go wrong with added storage. “There are so many new and clever kitchen storage ideas that our clients love to utilize,” says Amanda Reynal, interior designer and founder of Amanda Reynal Interiors. “From keeping plates in large drawers at a lower level to hidden coffee bars behind doors, there are many ways to maximize space.” She adds that even in the areas behind doors, pull-outs can help with accessibility and still allow everything to be hidden.

Elevate Your Hardware

Addie Juell

Putting an extra emphasis on the details is a way to create a more intentional-feeling space. For example, “hardware and ‘faucetry’ can elevate a kitchen to the next level,” Reynal says. “Warm-toned metals such as brass have become more common, and there’s also a wonderful selection of shapes and brushed finishes to choose from.” From matte black to champagne bronze, check out the selection at your local plumbing and hardware vendor to see what’s available, Reynal recommends.

Incorporate a Seating Nook

Kyle J. Caldwell, Elana Cline Carta Creatives

Whether you’re working with a small kitchen space or you want to create another vignette to meet your family’s dining needs, consider building out a high-functioning seating nook. You can build a corner seating fixture into the existing space or simply add a movable corner sectional. From there, a round table that fits snugly into the area will provide you with a new dining area.

Turn Up the Lighting

Reynal is big on lighting, and she recommends having a mix of styles within your space. “Typically, we light the island with pendants or multi-light chandeliers,” she says. “Surface-mounted lights that are flush or semi-flush help light the ceiling as well as the area below it, which makes a room feel cheerful and bright.” She also suggests using recessed lights, especially on a dimmer, if the kitchen is used for dining and entertaining. Under-cabinet lighting is also a must.

Consider All Cabinetry Types

Alyssa Kapito Interiors

If you want cabinetry, weigh all of your options. Do all-opaque iterations work for you? Or would a few glass-front options—which might help kids navigate the space better or allow you to show off your prized china collection—elevate the space? Consider the pros (accessibility and aesthetics) and the cons (finger smudges and constant curation) before you decide, but note that see-through “window” cabinets could be exactly what your existing space is missing.

Prioritize Form and Function

Dana Gallagher

This is especially important when it comes to the more utilitarian components of your kitchen, including your stove hood. We love how this sleek white stove hood holds its own above a subway tile backsplash but doesn’t compete with the kitchen’s more interesting features, like the dark island and exposed brick beam.

Add a Splash of Color

Rebecca McAlpin

Reynal has been incorporating more and more color into her clients’ homes. Look for eye-catching wallpaper or paint all of the cabinetry in your favorite hue. You can also opt for a smaller color commitment, such as choosing a contrasting wood finish for the island.

“We’ve been using grained wood finishes on cabinets more frequently than in the past,” she says. “There are many new updated wood finishes that have a contrasting grain which looks earthy and sophisticated.”

Add Personality with a Backsplash

Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

Creative backsplashes are a great way to add an extra pop of personality to your space, whether you prefer a crisp, clean look made with quartz or something more adventurous, like a colorful glass tile. “I often choose a backsplash in a marble mosaic pattern to add interest and sophistication to a simpler kitchen,” says Reynal.

Opt for Quartz Countertops

Courtesy of KitchenAid

It’s no secret that white marble is a sought-after kitchen stone, but it’s also hard to maintain. Reynal has found a similar alternative in quartz.

While Reynal says that a natural stone countertop adds a living original element to the kitchen, engineered quartz options are a durable and attractive alternative. “This product can withstand high heat and doesn’t scratch or stain easily, making it an extremely practical workhorse option,” she says.

If you want the best of both, Reynal suggests using quartz on the perimeter countertops and a natural stone on the island in a coordinating or contrasting color.

Think About Flow

Courtesy of @virtuallyherestudios

Are you altering your existing space to accommodate an open floor plan? If so, think about how you want your new kitchen to function. If your kitchen is where your family congregates and eats, then a large kitchen island with seating is necessary. On the other hand, if you want your dining space to be regularly utilized, you should think twice before spending time and money on a kitchen eatery.

Another major consideration is the layout of both your dining room and kitchen. The flow here should feel complementary and connected versus disjointed and incongruous.

Choose Panel-Ready Appliances

Kelly + Co. Design

Another game changer in the kitchen is panel-ready appliances, which are available through most appliance companies these days. “Having an integrated look with cabinets and appliances all blending together makes a kitchen feel more like a room,” says Reynal. “Ranges also come in many finishes and, in some cases, bright colors, which can add an original focal point to the room.”

Select the Right Flooring

Courtesy of KitchenAid

Gone are the days of closed-off kitchens. In order to keep the kitchen feeling like it’s part of the rest of the home, Reynal suggests using the same flooring as the surrounding living areas to create a unified look. However, there are opportunities where a different flooring is preferable in a kitchen.

“When using a tile floor, it’s nice to add underfloor heat if in a climate with cooler seasonal temps,” says Reynal. “With in-floor heating, stone or ceramic tiles don’t feel cold and uninviting underfoot. This is also an opportunity to add a texture or pattern to the floors that tie the rest of the design scheme together.”

Don’t Forget the Ceiling

Nicole Franzen

The ceiling is often overlooked, but Reynal has some ideas for bringing it to life. “Just as I like to keep a ceiling well-lit and bright, I also like to acknowledge and incorporate it into our design scheme,” she says. “This can be as simple as painting it a contrasting color to the walls and cabinets or as elaborate as adding beams, wood planks, or applied coffers.”

Make Room for Seating

Courtesy of KitchenAid

“Depending on size and use of the kitchen, we always suggest having at least a couple of stools at the island,” says Reynal. “This could be a space for casual dining or a perch for guests to sit and chat with the cook while the meal is being prepared.”

When dealing with a tight space, but still have room for a table, Reynal says to incorporate a banquette into the kitchen. She says, “The banquette can be under a window or in a corner or even as an architectural divider to separate an open plan kitchen from the living area.”


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