The concept of a “destination kitchen” is being touted by designers on HGTV as an up-to-the-minute trend in home design. These newer kitchen updates turn kitchens into “live-in” rooms, joining the rest of the home as comfortable gathering spots. Kitchen design is geared toward multi-function spaces, easy-care and green materials, emerging technology, and smart use of time and energy.

Basic Components

All kitchens have the following in common: Cabinets for storage, counter space for food preparation and serving, and appliances for cooking, cleaning, and cooling. Those things are necessities. Beyond that, you enter the world of options, wishes, and personal preferences. And it’s quite a world! New gadgets abound; Julia Child would probably be amazed at some of the new time-saving tech out there.

The evolution of the kitchen from a purely functional work space to a gathering spot has fueled the transition toward attractive spaces designed for conviviality — large spaces accommodating multiple cooks and observers, spaces open to or a part of larger living areas. Multiple work stations, auxiliary prep zones, and oversize islands are popular.

General Guidelines

Home designers in the Dallas area recommend clean-lined and functional spaces over themed kitchens, both for lasting appeal and for ease of maintenance. A favored combination for the past several years has been wood cabinets in medium or darker tones, granite counters, and either wood or neutral tile or stone floors. While that look still has appeal, a return to painted cabinets is an emerging trend, and the classic look of black and white is popular across the nation. Solid surface counters other than granite are emerging as style leaders as well, in either neutral tones or a dramatic contrast of light and dark.

Explore All Options

No one knows better than you how you want your kitchen to function. As you begin your planning, take advantage of the many resources available to you. One online site is Houzz.com, which provides a wealth of design ideas, as well as an interactive “community” where you can discuss design ideas and receive feedback from consumers as well as from professionals.

Local showrooms such as Capital Distributing in Dallas carry numerous appliance lines and have knowledgeable staff to answer your questions. They will be happy to discuss design options, new appliances, and innovative plumbing fixtures, and pros and cons of myriad available choices. Their assessment: Stainless appliances will retain their current popularity; apron-front sinks are still sleek favorites in the kitchen; new built-ins and labor-saving devices will continue to captivate home owners.

Such items as built-in beverage centers with wine storage, refrigerator drawers and built-in coffee or juice makers, specialty cooking centers containing such things as steamers and woks, and integrated refrigerators and dishwashers that “disappear” into the background make living and entertaining a breeze.

Resale Values

You can expect a higher sale price on your home if you update the kitchen, but that dollar return can vary widely based on a number of factors. For example, Remodeling Magazine reports that someone that does a major kitchen remodel in Dallas (costing roughly $50,000) would recoup an average of 73 percent of that through higher resale value; a minor kitchen remodel (of $17,000) would bring back more than 80 percent of the cost.

The ROI, however, should not be your primary goal. Your primary goal in planning kitchen updates should be to achieve a space that works for you, making your daily routine easier and more pleasant. If it does that, your kitchen will be the room you want, and may just be everyone’s favorite spot in the house.

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