Most homeowners in the U.S. will only remodel their current kitchen once. According to the National Association of REALTORS® a full kitchen renovation now costs $60,000 on a national median basis. With this much cost on the line it is critical that you get your kitchen built right the first time. With that in mind, it is our recommendation that most homes adopt a classic kitchen design.
What are the elements of a classic kitchen design? We will break them down in this article.
#1: Make White Your Kitchen’s Dominant Color
Bottom line: White is the most marketable color. You’ll always find it atop the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s annual survey of most popular kitchen colors. It simply doesn’t go out of style.
Some of its merits are that white is a bright color that reflects light and makes even small kitchens feel bigger. It is also a positive and affirming color. It has traditionally been associated with purity and happiness. It is also ideal for people who like clean kitchens.
Another benefit is that white is a standard color for any manufacturer, you’ll find white cabinets, tile, counters, faucets, sinks, and appliances at any price point.
And with a white color-scheme, you can be as mild or expressive as you want. After all, it’s about what you want from a classic kitchen design.
#2: Hardwood for Flooring
According to the National Association of REALTORS® more than half of home buyers who purchased a home without hardwood floors say they would have paid an extra $2,080 for them. And among buyers of any age, upwards of 80% say hardwood floors are “somewhat” or “very important.”
Why are wood floors so important to people? Some theorize that humans instinctually know that hardwood floor have a warmth and personality that makes our homes inviting. That’s one reason why hardwood floors pair well with any kitchen style.
There are lots of other reasons to love hardwood floors in a classic kitchen design:
- Hardwoods are tough. Woods like oak, ash, and maple will endure well under a kitchen’s high traffic environment for many years.
- Solid hardwood flooring can be refinished 10 to 12 times during it’s typical 100-year lifespan.
- Hardwood floors are ideal for open floor plans since it flows beautifully from the kitchen into neighboring rooms.
- Hardwoods are eco-friendly. Hardwood is considered a green building material when it’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and comes from sustainably managed forests.
#3: Shaker Kitchen Cabinets
Shaker cabinets are an enduring legacy of American style and, like wood flooring, have tend to look good in almost any setting. The simple frame-and-panel design of Shaker kitchen cabinets helps reduce the visual aesthetics in a kitchen, making it a soothing, friendly place to be.
The plain, simple, clean lines of Shaker cabinets are a perfect fit for transitional style — a beautiful combo of traditional and contemporary styles.
#4: Choosing Marble Countertops
Marble is a timeless classic that’s been used in homes for thousands of years. Here’s why:
- Marble’s subtle colors look terrific in a white kitchen (or any kitchen, for that matter).
- It’s readily available, making it less expensive than other high-end choices, such as quartz.
- Marble will last for generations.
Still not convinced or don’t have the budget? Laminate countertops are relatively inexpensive and can be upgraded to stone when you do have the budget.
#5: Ergonomic Design
Smart ergonomics simply mean convenience, which is a key element when undertaking a kitchen redesign that will function well, retain its value, and make every movement easy.
The following approaches always seem to work:
- 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. Add color-match shim strips to the bases of countertops that don’t include sinks or appliances.
- Switch out a standard range for a wall oven and a cooktop. Ranges have fixed heights. There’s no getting around the fact you have to bend to access the oven. But a wall oven conveniently installs about waist-high.
- Add pull-out shelves to base cabinets. Lower cabinets with doors mean having to twist like a pretzel to see what’s inside. Pull-out shelves put everything at your fingertips.
- Keep wide clearances. Kitchens attract people, and with open floor plans, you’re apt to have folks hunting for snacks, helping you cook, or just hanging out while you prep meals. Keep traffic flowing with a minimum of 42 inches between counters and islands.
#6: Incorporate Smart Storage
Today’s families store about 47% of their kitchen stuff outside the kitchen. Part of the reason for this is that, since kitchens have become the hub of the life of the American Family, they have become more open and less amenable to storage space.
Smart storage is the solution. Cabinet manufacturers have created a huge range of advanced storage options — shelves and compartments that unfold, turn, extend, and slide.
But it’s not just about having storage, it’s about designing it smartly.
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 — your favorite work knives, measuring cups, salt and pepper for cooking, your trusty pots and pans. With one easy motion, you can grab what you use all the time.