Kitchen Remodeling Adds Style, Value, and Efficiency

Recent kitchen remodeling trends have changed the look of kitchens from less of a work space into more of a living or family-gathering space. Organization and efficiency has also played a role in new kitchen designs.

Recent kitchen remodeling trends have changed the look of kitchens, making them less of a work space and more of a living or family-gathering space. Organization and efficiency also play a large role in new kitchen designs, and decor has shifted as well. Traditional cherry-wood cabinets and neutral-colored countertops, once popular in new kitchens in the Philadelphia area, are being replaced with lighter color schemes.

Kitchen Space Further Evolves into Living Space

Amy Meade of Philadelphia’s Teknika Design Group has noted some new ways of thinking with regard to the use of kitchen space. Meade says that as open floor plans continue to rise in popularity, homeowners are seeking more of what she terms the “negative space” in kitchens.

In other words, homeowners are no longer cramming cabinets into every available inch of wall space. Instead, open shelves and larger backsplashes, along with paneled appliances, transform kitchens into a more artful, welcoming space. According to Meade, kitchen organization has also evolved, with new storage options replacing the old lazy susans. New sinks, such as the Kohler Stages Sink, provide additional storage and prep functions besides simple dishwashing.

Shades of Gray — And White

According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s 2013 Style Report, whites and off-whites continue to be the number one color scheme in kitchens. Gray has also dramatically increased in popularity, and is used for painted cabinets, countertops, backsplash tiles, or flooring. Gregory Harth, President of Harth Builders, concurs with this trend. According to Harth, painted white and off-white cabinets have been a strong preference for kitchen designs over the last five or six years throughout the Philadelphia area.

Varying Counter Heights and Materials

Varying-height countertops and kitchen islands are another new trend in kitchen remodeling. Besides offering prep areas for taller and shorter individuals, a lower 30-inch section of an island can provide casual dining space for up to six, while a traditional 36-inch height area can be used as a workspace. As for countertop materials, granite is still a popular choice due to its durability, heat resistance, and ease of maintenance. Quartz is also increasing in popularity, but higher cost is a factor for many consumers.

New Uses for Drawer Space

Microwave drawers are another innovation that improves efficiency in the kitchen. With the microwave in a drawer instead of above your stove, you don’t need to lift heavy dishes. Also, fans or vents underneath microwaves are not as effective as range hoods. By placing your microwave in a drawer, you can achieve improved air flow without taking up counter space.

In addition to microwave drawers, dish drawers are also becoming popular. Like microwave drawers, they alleviate the need to lift heavy objects up into higher cabinets, so homeowners are using higher cabinets for storing seasonal or seldom-used items.

If you are considering an entire remodel, or just a few updates, it makes sense to speak with a professional kitchen designer about ways to increase your efficiency and organization in the kitchen. With so many new products on the market, any investment you make is guaranteed to add both beauty and value to this space in your home.


Jennifer DiGiovanni is a freelance writer and a partner in a real estate investment firm focusing on residential properties. She previously worked in the financial services industry and has earned an MBA from Villanova University. Jennifer enjoys writing about real estate, home improvement and small business.

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1 Comment

  1. Randy
    March 25, 2014

    Centre Island is a major part in your kitchen. The common design goof is making the island too big. The counter-top should be big enough to big be usable but not too big. Think about making it 3 feet wide to less than 10 feet. For the depth, you want to measure at least 26 inches to 48 inches. This will give you plenty of work space.

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