The kitchen is one of the most vital rooms in your home and it is the one place where you want everything to be perfectly in its place and placed perfectly! The last thing anyone wants to do is have a kitchen that is pretty but non-functional.  Your kitchen should be stylish and on trend, but also be functional.  Here are a few trends that will help you find the satisfaction in function AND design.

Quartz vs. Granite: Which works best?

While these two types of countertops are pretty equally matched when it comes to the number of requests, lately Quartz has been the more popular option. According to a recent Consumer Reports report, quartz is the toughest type of countertop material. It is resistant to burns, scratches and chips and can be cleaned very easily.  Crush Quartz is mixed with resins to produce a durable countertop with endless depth of color and shine.  This end product looks like real granite, but has all the benefits of Quartz.  Quartz requires little sealing like granite and is cheaper to install.

White AFTER Labor Day?

The thought of a white kitchen may be an aversion to some. The mess, the risk of scratching and scar, but believe it or not, White Kitchens are continuing to trend as one of the most sought after designs.  The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recently reported that 67% of their users say that white is their top choice.  This is a 20% increase from a few years ago.  Layered white on white, white accent, clear with white…the different combos don’t matter…the general consensus is for white kitchens.  White on white kitchens was spotlighted as 2014’s best in American Living Awards.

It is a good idea to make sure that a fully white kitchen will work not only for the overall look of your home, but also for yourself. The most recent all white appliances have been designed for easy cleaning as well as many kitchen surfaces.  What once seemed like a stain magnet is now an easy and cost effective choice.

The ultimate color neutrality: Gray!

Gray has long been a color of just “so-so”. It has never been a color to stand out, but in recent years many designers have utilized the color in very fun and innovative ways.  Gray can be very sleek and offer a level of sophistication that you don’t get with wood grains, black or white.  If you decide to go with gray, make sure that your accent colors and materials balance it out.  Living in colder and cloudier climates can push the down and dullness of gray out.  That is why it is important if you live in this type of area, to balance out your grays with a warm accent wood or alternate material.  Gray can add a breath of fresh air to warm climates, giving your kitchen a sense of strength and power.

Refrigeration Reboot

Gone are the days of your big old fridge. With an excellent remodeling plan, homeowners can now customize their kitchen space to fit their changing needs with point-of-use refrigeration.  Adding smaller refrigerating units to certain areas of your home can make for a more streamlined and efficient kitchen.  Having a small fridge in your kitchen island for easy food prep, or maybe a wine fridge near your home bar or breakfast nook for get-togethers and parties.  Put the cool where you need it!  There are a number of new and improved smaller refrigeration units on the market that range from the super affordable to the ones with all the bells and whistles.

A little of this, with a little of that….

With sleek and modern becoming more prevalent in kitchen design, the Shabby Chic and decorative, distressed kitchens are coming in second.  While modern, clean kitchens are appealing and visually effective, they are not for everyone.  Modern design sets a non-clutter expectation, and those with large families and busy households may have issues maintaining the look.  The best way to combat this challenge is Transitional Kitchen design.  Transitional kitchens will draw from two particular types of kitchens and blend them together.  Mixing Traditional with Contemporary gives you an opportunity to have the best of both worlds.  Have modern materials with more Traditional layouts, or sleek, clean lines with a Traditional color palette.

Let LED Lights Shine The Way!

What was once reserved for backyard décor and the holiday season, LED lights are making a huge statement in our everyday world. Much gratitude goes to those bold homeowners that have ventured past the conventional to use LEDs in new ways.  Homeowners are using ribbon LEDs in their kitchen spaces: along toe kicks, cabinet interiors and even along crown moldings.  This blend of defined light along with your kitchen’s fixed and natural lighting can create sheer magic.  These lights are popular because they come in a variety of colors and intensities.  They are flexible and adjustable, so that they can be applied to almost any design of kitchen.  They emit virtually no heat and very safe to have in enclosed spaces and are very energy efficient.  Most can last up to 50,000 hours!  And the best part?  The cost!  LED lighting is very inexpensive compared to the costs of reset and track lighting.  Let your creative juices flow and experiment with LED lighting!

The power of touch

Being able to do anything hands free is a bonus, right? Touch-activated faucets make rinsing with occupied hands so easy!  While some may find it cliqued, having the ability to operate the faucet without slimy hands, or the bother of turning the water on and off and finding that right temperature each time in between washing dishes is pretty darn amazing.  Using water when you need to rather than letting it run saves money in the long run…and let’s just admit it…it looks pretty cool!

 Increase your accessibility

When we are younger, we trade ease of use for complex designs and styles; but as we get older, it becomes more and more important to have accessibility. Installing cabinetry that allows easier access to appliances like pull out refrigerators, microwave ovens and side-opening ovens to increasing storage space to make more floor room helps to improve convenience.  A great addition are drawers with deep base cabinets pockets that can store pots and pans for easier access, dividers and slots to hold plates and store utensils and removable boxes within drawers to maximize storage space.

Sometimes less is more

The newest trend to hit the design world in the past 2 years has been Micro-Living. People are trading more stuff for less and less room for more time for living!  Both retirees and millennials are looking to dump the clutter for a more streamlined existence.  Think about what appliances you use most and which ones you can eliminate from your daily life.  If you are going in a micro direction, make sure that your layout is conducive to food prep and everyday life