Reflective surfaces, such as ceramic tile and stainless steel, subtly amplify the effects of natural and artificial light, thereby making the kitchen seem larger. Plus, adequate lighting improves functionality. Undercabinet lights come in handy while cooking, and pendant lights add ambiance to meals served at an island or peninsula.
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Bold color isn’t the only way to create excitement. Kitchen designer Vasi Ypsilantis used these oversized light fixtures with black fabric shades from Tech Lighting to add some wow: “They’re about 2 feet in diameter and are slightly larger than you would expect for the space,” she says. “But they give a great sense of depth perception and create drama in a room with a typical low ceiling.” The luxurious cabinets are Poggenpohl’s Marsh Oak Veneer with a rich near-black stain. Image courtesy of Poggenpohl
Old-world light fixtures and warm, multicolored wall tiles give this new kitchen a lived-in feeling. A thick wooden bar and wicker chairs invite you into this cozy space, and the soft, intimate lighting and fine detail entice you to stay.
According to Randall, ambient lighting is an important layer that is often overlooked in the kitchen. “This indirect lighting is what I like to call the humanizing ingredient to any lighting design,” says the designer. “It softens the lines and shadows on people’s faces and creates a warm inviting glow in the room.” Design by Beth Haley.
The environment is an increasingly key issue, so wanting to plan an eco friendly kitchen design is understandable. Here are a few tips to creating a green kitchen.
For starters, let’s talk about lighting. Kitchen lights can take up a lot of electricity, especially when being used in the daytime to light up darker areas of the kitchen. An eco-friendly solution is to install a sky light or extra windows to bring as much natural light into the kitchen as possible and limit the amount of electricity needed. Domed skylights allow you to keep UV rays out and still enjoy a bright and airy kitchen.
Your kitchen floor is another area where you can look to be greener. Using materials like bamboo, cork, renewable wood and biodegradable lino are all environmentally friendly alternatives and still function and look great.
Insulation can be eco-friendly and limit the amount of heating you need, saving you money on bills. Spray foam insulation is the latest green craze in kitchen design and keeps the room warm when it gets cold outside.
Much like you floor, you can get your kitchen storage to be produced from environmentally friendly materials such as bamboo or any other kind of sustainably harvested wood. As an added touch, you can get built in recyling units, so it becomes less of a chore to seperate your papers and plastics.
If you want to go the extra mile then you can also get kitchen taps that will only turn on when an object is placed under the faucet. This means that taps won’t be left on when they’re not needed and water won’t be wasted.
To get hot water you can use some eco-friendly solutions like solar powered heaters or tankless water heaters that both reduce the amount of energy needed to turn water hot.
Also consider fitting energy efficient windows which come with a special kind of glass to reduce the amount of UV rays that enter the room but also retain light and heat.
We’ve got more information on eco-friendly kitchen design listed below and can also divert you to some of the leading retailers of environmentally friendly kitchen solutions.
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Free Kitchen Design – Free Online Kitchen Design Ideas, Kitchen Designs, Photos
This is a very effective use of cupboard space and kitchen lighting. With so much natural light coming in through the windows this homeowner can feel confident that using a dark stain on the cabinets will not make the space feel dark and gloomy. The walls, countertop and floor have all been done in neutral shades which is ideal if you are renovating for the purpose of selling.
In this kitchen photo, ultramodern design is stated with bold shapes and smooth textures, and is enhanced by the dramatic use of color. All are elements that can be incorporated into a small or large kitchen. Because the color in this kitchen has been limited to only a few surfaces, it can easily be changed if and when you are ready for a new color theme.
The ambient lighting in this kitchen design enhances the natural beauty of the woodgrain. The finishes have been kept tastefully simple for a coordinated and clean-lined effect. The combination of materials and the compact layout suggest a feeling of calm efficiency.
This French country kitchen design picture may make you think you’ve stepped back in time. (medieval time) It is vastly different from all of the previous kitchen design pictures and we’ve shown it simply to demonstrate that anything is possible. The size of this stove/cooktop is so impressive, it must be in a very large kitchen. Somehow a castle comes to mind. View more pictures of French country kitchens.
This beautiful designer kitchen with rich, detailed woodwork could be found in an estate home. It has a very traditional look that incorporates marble countertops, glass cabinet doors and architectural details like . Portions of the cabinetry have been made to look like furniture pieces. One peak at this kitchen and you want to know if the rest of the house is just as elegant.
Kitchen Remodeling on a Shoestring Budget
So you’re tired of your kitchen? According to an annual survey by the leading trade journal, Kitchen & Bath Business, so are 4.92 million other homeowners who plan to do a kitchen remodel in 2001 — a record number. But with the typical kitchen remodeling job costing from $7,000 to $14,999, remodeling on a limited budget can be a challenging task.
The effort, however, can pay big dividends. Consider that even minor kitchen remodeling provides an 81 percent return on investment, according to Remodeling magazine’s latest “Cost vs. Value Report.” This means that you can enjoy your kitchen for years to come, plus reap a hefty return on your investment if you decide to sell your home down the road.
“Though adding a second story also offers a good return on investment, it’s a much more invasive and costly remodel,” says Nina Patel, Remodeling senior editor. “A minor kitchen remodel and bath update are simpler and more fun.”
According to Patel, the popularity of home improvement stores, HGTV and the Web has educated and inspired many homeowners in their remodeling process. “In this age of large stores that carry all varieties of products, consumers want to see, touch and feel all the options so they can choose the right one for them,” she explains. “Homeowners overall are more willing to spend money on items that reflect their style.”
Here are simple remodeling ideas that can dramatically increase the appeal of your kitchen without breaking the bank.
1. Tile Backsplash
The days of automatically matching the backsplash to the counter are gone. Today’s latest kitchen trend is adding some color and personalization with unique backsplashes that complement but don’t necessarily match countertops. Try brightening the room with a backsplash featuring yellow or blue accents or even mix things up a little with a number of different colored tiles to make a checkerboard pattern. Manufactured tiles are affordable, starting at approximately $4 per square foot, and adding a few hand-painted tiles with such items as fruits, flowers or shapes can provide creative flair. Adding backsplash tiles is a simple project that even the beginning DIYer can take on without hesitation, and it can be completed in just one afternoon.
2. Pullout Faucets
Consider adding a new pullout faucet to your kitchen to provide the functionality needed for filling large pots, watering houseplants and doing assorted dishwashing and cleaning tasks. These faucets combine great looks as well as added convenience. Manufacturers such as Moen now provide pullouts with design options to make them stylish additions to the room. For example, its new Colonnade offers the charm of traditional, classic styling, while the Salora has a sleek and contemporary look complementing modern kitchen decor. Starting around $250 each, these faucets still install as regular fixtures, thanks to a simple, single-bolt tie-down installation method.
If the last time you purchased a faucet your finish options were “chrome” or “chrome,” you will be pleased to see that faucets are now available in more stylish finishes, including copper or brushed stainless steel. Copper finishes are becoming increasingly popular and can provide the perfect complement to range hoods, teakettles, cookware and other items. Brushed stainless steel continues to be a popular choice, in part because it matches the look of many of the latest commercial-style appliances.
3. New Countertops
Your countertop is one of the most important and visible parts of your kitchen. A new countertop can give your kitchen a whole new look, and your choices are virtually limitless. The most popular choice is laminates. Available in hundreds of colors and textures, these countertops cost approximately $25 per linear foot. They are easy-to-clean and long lasting, but they do show cuts and nicks.
Following a close second to laminates are solid surface countertops. Although they can cost quite a bit more — $90 to $200 per linear foot — solid surface countertops will allow nicks, scratches and burns to be buffed out. Quartz and granite surfaces are also increasing in popularity — but increasing in cost as well.
If you want some extras but don’t want to spend a lot, consider using a laminate on your main countertop and tile on a small area of the kitchen, such as an island. Tiles cost about $4 per square foot and work beautifully on secondary work surfaces.
4. Refacing/Refinishing Cabinets
In a kitchen-remodeling project, new cabinets are usually the largest expense — but they don’t have to be. If the general structure of your cabinets is good, consider refinishing or refacing them. This can cost less than half the price of new cabinets. Refinishing means stripping, staining or painting the surface; while refacing requires replacing cabinet and drawer fronts and putting a matching veneer on the cabinet frames. Refacing creates a totally different look and allows you to change from dark wood to light, which will brighten an outdated kitchen. Both refinishing and refacing will not only save in material costs, but will also save labor costs compared to new cabinets.
If even refinishing or refacing cabinets is not in your budget, you can simply change the cabinet hardware. New knobs and handles are available in all shapes, sizes and finishes — and some are even sculpted allowing you to create your own special kitchen look.
5. Stainless Steel Sinks
If your kitchen sink is stained, scratched or pitted, you will be happy to know that for about $300, you can get the latest in stainless steel sinks. A new trend is undermounting for fast, easy cleanup with no ridges to get in the way. In its Lancelot line, Moen offers new shapes, such as oval, round and trapezoid. If you need to fit a new sink to an existing countertop, the rectangular sink is still a popular option. Today’s stainless steel sinks are durable and, thanks to sound-deadening designs, quiet. Double-bowl models, though slightly more expensive, provide more work area while extra-deep bowls provide additional capacity for large jobs.
6. New Lighting
Illuminate dark work areas with under-counter lighting that can be purchased as separate halogen lights or as a strand of rope lights. Halogen lights cost about $3 each and should be spaced 18-24 inches apart. Rope lighting is one continuous strand of lights and usually costs $3 per foot.
In addition to under-counter lighting, you may consider changing ceiling fixtures. Some of today’s hottest styles are recessed lighting or pendant fixtures that hang down a few feet from the ceiling to provide better illumination for an island or eating area. Usually you can find fixtures at relatively moderate beginning prices at home centers or kitchen showrooms.
7. Stenciling, Painting and Wallpapering
Plain-colored walls are becoming a thing of the past as more homeowners opt for bold, colorful designs. Many new, faux finish designs use sponging techniques and stencils to personalize the look of the kitchen. Even the color palettes are changing from neutrals to dark blues, greens and maroons. Besides being inexpensive, painting is one of the easiest projects to complete in a fairly short amount of time and it makes a dramatic difference in the appearance of any room.
Borders and wallpaper are also as popular as ever in the kitchen. Since so many of them now come pre-pasted, the wallpapering process is pretty simple. If your kitchen is already painted, a decorative border can add just the right touch of style and color. Borders are popping up on all areas of the wall, not just near the ceiling. Try a waist-level, chair-rail border or even something at eye level to break up the room.
One of the biggest expenses in a kitchen-remodeling project is replacing the appliances. To avoid buying new appliances all at once, selectively add appliances by choosing the one that is most out-of-date in either look or function, and then add others over time as your budget allows.
If your old appliances still fit the bill in terms of performance, but you’d like an updated look, you can actually repaint them or buy new panels to match the new decor or cabinetry in your kitchen. Visit your local home center to find out how this can be accomplished for your particular brand of appliances.
9. Workspace and Storage Options
The island is usually the hallmark of any kitchen remodel, but if you are on a budget, a new, built-in island may not be on the agenda. If you still want the convenience and storage space of an island, consider one on wheels. For approximately $300, you can have a kitchen island that has the extra advantage of allowing you to stow it away in the corner when not in use.
Another suggestion is to create elegant storage areas in the kitchen by taking the fronts off your cabinets and installing glass shelving. In this way, you can mimic the open look of today’s modern kitchen cabinetry while still having a place to display cookbooks, dishes or glassware.
To maximize storage space in the kitchen, go to your local home retailer and look for little extras that can be added to your current cabinetry such as a spice organizer, a place for recyclables, plate racks or wine racks.
10 Window Treatments
Nothing catches the eye like windows, so making them look good is critical. If you sew, you can bring a new look to your windows for the price of materials and an investment of your time. If not, pre-made window treatments can beautify your kitchen, often for less than $100 per window. The latest styles include tab top valences, swags mounted on metal-finished rods and a variety of blinds. You can add shelves or interior window boxes to your kitchen windows for plants or flowers. This little trick is perfect for blocking out a less-than-desirable view of a neighbor’s house or insulating the room from a busy street.
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Kitchens have evolved a lot over the years. Once found only in the rear of the house, today’s kitchen design takes the kitchen out the background. The challenge for kitchen design is in creating a more open-faced kitchen, that is part of a dining area, a family room or a great room.
In deciding on how to design your kitchen, you must take into consideration such things as: will your kitchen have an island? Will it be of a modern or traditional design? What kinds of appliances will you need for your new kitchen design? What kind of lighting design?
1. Kitchen as ‘Great Room’
Whether you are redesigning an existing kitchen or planning a new kitchen in a new home there are some design considerations to keep in mind, such as including in an island or peninsula as part of the kitchen design. These can be used to connect the kitchen to a nearby dining area or family room thereby creating a ‘great room’. A kitchen island or peninsula will allow the cook to keep in visual and conversational contact with family members or guests in the adjoining family or dining room.
2. Create a Kitchen Canopy
To give the kitchen some visible borders without blocking views create a kitchen canopy. Also a high ceiling in the kitchen can create the perception of spaciousness.
3. Using Kitchen Cabinet Color to Set Tone of Kitchen Design
Kitchen cabinets will help set the tone for the whole room. The choice of wood will influence the overall look of your cabinets. To create a light look, use a light wood such as ash, beech, birch, oak, maple, or chestnut. For medium range, select cherry. To darker kitchens, choose wood that has some color to it.
4. Plan Out Use of Cabinets and Drawers in The New Kitchen Design
Plan out in the kitchen design blueprint just how your cabinets and drawers will be used and how much space and storage you will need before you start your new kitchen design. The first thing to examine is the counter surface area. Look at where you put everything in your existing kitchen and where in your new kitchen design will these things will go in the new space. Will there be more than one person cooking at a time. If so, will there be enough room for two cooks in the kitchen to work together?
5. Use The Galley-Type Kitchen Design
As for counter arrangements, many kitchen designers agree the galley-type design to be the best in terms of efficiency with it’s single aisle and counters to either side, making it easy to turn around to go from sink to cooking range.
6. Under-Cabinet Kitchen Lighting
Kitchen lighting can be an overlooked area of kitchen design. Even if the kitchen has generally good lighting, the counter areas can be somewhat dark. For these areas under-cabinet lighting can help provide more light to work in. By using simple spots or fluorescent lights a smaller kitchen can be made to look larger.
7. Looking at Countertops
Granite, marble, and limestone are all popular natural materials for use in countertops are available in many colors. Ceramic tile kitchen countertops are versatile, practical, and also available in many colors, as well as many shapes, patterns, and finishes. Solid surface countertops provide seamless acrylic faces. Solid surfaces also come in almost limitless colors, patterns, and styles, and are stain and heat resistant. Laminate countertops are more affordable but not built to last. Concrete countertops are known for versatility, as well as strength. Wood countertops are long lasting and easy to clean and repair but the wood will not withstand exposure to water and household chemicals. Stainless steel countertops lack the elegance of granite or tile. These countertops do not absorb stains, but tends to scratch easily.
Jiang XinMin is the author of many kitchen design articles and has a site about kitchen design ideas at Kitchen Designers Ideas He also publishes a newsletter on kitchen design.
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