The kitchen is where the action is. It is especially true if you like to cook. It often is a gathering spot for friends and family as well. It may incorporate the dining area or not but, in an older home, time and deco trends will have taken their toll. According to home renovation specialists, between $ 15,000 $ and $ 35,000 $ and up to six weeks of work can be allotted to a kitchen make-over depending on the extent of a given project. Ceramic tiles offer excellent replacement options for two key aspects of such a project in terms of creativity and cost: counters and floor. Other considerations will be cabinets, lighting and appliances. This being said, clean, modern looking European styling will be the marching order of home designers in 2014. Besides, all stainless steel hardware – handles, faucets, etc. – takes a step back with coppers and whites coming to the forefront.
1- Working surfaces
Counters: we want them to be practical and attractive. It could also be that you want more working space and a kitchen island could make a huge difference if it is the case. Coverings can be made of granite, marble, limestone, which are more expensive options and ceramic tiles for their classic look and a wide choice of colours and styles. Moreover, using modern synthetic substrates will provide a strong, durable and waterproof base for ceramic tiles applications. (See our topic on Kerdi-Board from Schlüter). Large size tiles, square or rectangular, are the best choice for counters as they lessen the quantity of joints. An epoxy based grout should be used for joints since it has zero porosity and doesn’t lose its original coloring over time. Don’t forget the backsplash. It improves greatly the overall look of the working space and insures waterproofness between vertical and horizontal surfaces. Actual trends favor clean looking styles and pale colours (white, grey, sand). Natural coloured tiles in soft, pale hues, will provide that classic flair that will stand the test of time. If this feels a little too subdued for your tastes, designers suggest painting a wall with solid colours like reds, yellows and blues.
It could be that an old solid wood floor needs replacing. If it is in the least greyed or blackened from water spills (a frequent occurrence near the dishwasher), don’t hesitate! Here again, ceramic tiles will guarantee a long term, beautiful covering. Darker finishes can apply in this case as dirt will be less noticeable although tile clean-up is quickly and easily done in any case. On the other hand, don’t choose tiles that are too dark if your kitchen is small or doesn’t benefit from abundant natural light. And if you cherish that wood look, check out those wonderful ceramic tiles reproducing various wood species in a stunningly realistic fashion. They are also very trendy! While at it, give some thought at a floor heating system. It is the ultimate in comfort and energy efficiency and it can free up some precious space by eliminating a traditional heating baseboard.
3 – Lighting
Artificial lighting in the kitchen is important. It will benefit a well thought out kitchen, especially if it is on the small side. You’ll want lighting fixtures that enhance its beauty as well as being efficient for kitchen work. Light sources installed in the right places can marry style and function and there is an almost unlimited choice on the market. Popular choices are under cabinets lighting sources such as multi-directional spots or, for soft lighting, the new LED strips that can be installed in a cinch. LED fixtures are a definite market trend (see Ikea and the big hardware stores) and are recognized as the most energy efficient. Ceiling lights come in all styles and can cost little or… a lot. This being said, the simple addition of a rheostat will enable you to modify light intensity to create different ambiances. One recommendation concerning ceiling lights would be to avoid those that make cleaning them a fastidious chore.
4 – Cabinets
New kitchen cabinets can represent a significant expense. Reputable cabinet makers can create wonders (ask for references before committing). But if the ones you have are solid and functional, you could give them a fresh coat of paint or simply replace their handles with modern ones. Ornamental moulding at the cabinet to ceiling junction can make a big difference too. If you don’t want to tackle the work yourself, there are refurbishing specialists that can take care of it, whether on location or in their shop. This can be quite cost efficient. Actual trends favor light colours and a few glass doors to show nice dishware, wine or champagne glasses!
5 – Electrical appliances
There is no lack of replacement choices if yours are on the way out. Actual styles are a mix of modern and classic designs that have some definite “staying power”. Fridges and stoves in a stainless steel finish are still strong sellers. A new trend is emerging though: the oiled bronze finish (i.e. both gas and electrical at Jenn-Air) and blacks, either matte or glossy. As for the dishwasher, its “quietness” should be at the top of your list even if it costs a little more. The most significant trend among manufacturers is energy saving technologies. For example, induction cooktops are finding their way in a growing number of kitchens. It will boil water twice as fast as a glass ceramic one and its surface stays cool to the touch. An induction cooktop is of special interest for an island cabinet application.