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Kitchen Trends

Here are some great tips on modernizing your kitchen, whether you're selling your home or not! The trend today is an open floor plan with a cozy, connected kitchen. Kitchens and living rooms are combining to create a new look for kitchens these days. The most popular room in the house isn't just for cooking anymore! Today, it's used as a gathering place for families, a central work space, an open area to pursue craft projects, or even a leisure area to entertain guests.

Living room and family room activities are merging into the kitchen, and it's changing the way kitchens look. As homes are getting smaller, home owners are now using their kitchens for much more than they have in the past. They want a more versatile floor plan, so that they can get creative with their space.

The walls in kitchens started coming down in the 1980s and 1990s. Walls separating the kitchen from the dining room were the first to go. Now, home owners are getting rid of walls between the kitchen and living room. Kitchens are also being designed in a less utilitarian way, with larger windows, fewer cabinets, and softer lighting.

What if your house doesn't have these elements? There are simple things you can do to create that cozy, social feel:

Install a kitchen island. Kitchen islands not only have functional benefits, but also provide space for entertaining, informal dining, and extra storage. If space is limited, consider a portable island, which can range from a butcher block to a breakfast table with bar stools. Just make sure that the style you choose is consistent with your existing decor in the kitchen and the size is appropriate. At least 3 feet is recommended between the island and walls, so that there is plenty of space to move around. If the kitchen island is large, add chairs to show that it can serve as a gathering place.

Furnish with comfy chairs. Skip the typical wooded stools for an upholstered bar stool with a back. Switch out traditional chairs around the kitchen table for wing chairs, a love seat, or even an upholstered bench.

Soften the light. Use accent lights and sconces, which are usually associated with hallways or dens. Numerous small maps will also create a softer effect. Hang a chandelier or other light fixture over the kitchen island.

Get crafty and add a decorative back splash. Not only are back splashes super functional behind the sink and stove, they can also be very appealing to the eye and can exemplify personal style. Glass tiles are very popular now, as are easy-to-install ceramic tiles and tin panels.

Add storage. Extra storage is key, especially in smaller kitchens. Consider a wall peg board or a hanging wrought-iron rack for pots and pans. Add a standalone cabinet, cupboard, buffet, or wall shelving. Stage cabinets with craft supplies to show that the space can serve many purposes.

Display quality pieces. Take the artwork you may have once reserved for the living room and display it in the kitchen. Accessorize shelves with collectibles or books. For smaller kitchens, mount a mirror on one wall which will give the illusion of more space and reflect light.

Make sure the basics are strong. If the bones of the kitchen aren't strong, fix those first. The condition of countertops, hardware, flooring, appliances, and cabinets aren't going to be covered up by creating a cozy atmosphere.

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