Kitchen Design Trends That Buyers and Sellers Can Both Agree On

In a recent survey, 80 percent of prospective home buyers rated the kitchen as one of the most important rooms in a home, ranking it above even the master bedroom (49%) and living room (42%).

Needless to say, this makes the kitchen stand out as a key piece of the real estate puzzle for buyers and sellers alike.

Kitchens are some of the most lived-in rooms of a home, and are often used every single day, whether for cooking, eating, work, or entertaining.

Because this space is so important, it’s one that many people love to put their own design stamp on. However, everyone’s design and decor preferences may be a little bit different. What’s more, styles tend to change as time goes on, and it’s easy for a kitchen to feel a little out-of-date, or out of step with the latest design trends.

So, with that in mind, what are some kitchen design choices that buyers and sellers can both agree on? Let’s look at the features that really stand out in a modern kitchen and talk about some of the design trends that are truly built-to-last:

1.) Countertops

Countertops are undoubtedly one of the most used and most visible surfaces in a kitchen. Whether you have ample counter space or a more limited amount, a kitchen’s countertops are one of the first things that people notice when they walk into the space. It’s important to make them stand out for the right reasons.

One big factor, for many buyers, is the material chosen for a kitchen’s countertops.

Whether you’re looking through magazine spreads of newly built or recently renovated modern kitchens, or scrolling through the social media pages of your favorite interior designers, one commonality you might see among most newly refinished kitchens: quartz.

This mineral surface’s popularity is on the rise, and has even surpassed the popularity of granite, an old kitchen standby, according to a 2018 study published by Houzz. That study also noted that granite’s use as the most popular countertop material has seen a steady three-year decline.

What is it about quartz that makes it such an “in-demand” material? One of its major selling points is its reputation for being a low maintenance countertop option. Unlike granite, which homeowners may have to worry about sealing regularly, quartz lacks the need for regular maintenance due to the resins used during the fabrication process.

2.) LEDs & Smart Lighting

Have you thought about changing the lighting in your kitchen to LED bulbs, or installing a full smart lighting system? These can both be stylish and environmentally friendly ideas — a true win-win.  

According to a report from Slate, “LEDs use 80 percent less electricity than traditional bulbs to produce the same amount of light.” This helps to ensure the longevity of your lightbulbs, while also helping to minimize utility costs for current and potential homeowners alike.

Smart lighting is a way to take your LED bulbs to elevated levels of sophistication and versatility. With a smart lighting system, you can control and program your kitchen’s lighting from a smartphone app, or an in-home console. This gives you an incredible level of control over your lighting.

For instance, you may be able to adapt the lighting level and color to fit the mood of the space, or accentuate the smaller details in the kitchen you want others to notice. At the same time, you can build in features to your smart lighting that increase the security of your home, while also letting you maximize your energy use and stay “green.”

3.) Cabinets

When was the last time you gave your cabinets a facelift? You may be surprised by just how much a new coat of paint on your cabinets can totally transform the feeling of your entire kitchen.

Whether you decide to paint your cabinets a shade of crisp white or choose to go down a more colorful route, a fresh coat of paint can give your kitchen an instant makeover. Changing shades can help brighten up the space for owners here and now, while also giving the kitchen an appealing look for buyers down the line.

Repainting kitchen cabinets can also help to give a new life to seemingly dated cabinetry, without forcing the homeowner to purchase an entirely new set of hardware.

Beyond painting the facade of a cabinet, the smaller details of your cabinetry can also play a part in helping your kitchen stand out. Switching out dated cabinet details, like brass or plastic handles, for more modern finishes, like matte bronze, may also be an easy way to bring your cabinetry on-trend in a flash.

4.) Reclaimed Wood

Though it has long been popular for flooring, wood is no longer only used for the parts of the home that you walk on.

In fact, adding wood elements to the kitchen is a design trend that buyers and sellers can’t get enough of in 2018.

Distressed and reclaimed wood can provide plenty of extra warmth to a kitchen. You may see this popular product used as an alternative to traditional tile backsplashes. Or, reclaimed wood can be used as part of a kitchen island, helping to generate additional depth and richness in the space.

You may also want to consider adding wood as a design element for open shelving, a great way to add a modern feel and extra storage functionality to your kitchen space.

5.) Natural Light & Flow

How does the kitchen fit into the floor plan of your home – and how does this impact the feel and flow of this important space?

Many kitchens follow the long-standing trend of the open plan concept, an idea popularized by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who famously designed and helped build homes all over the Chicagoland area.

Many buyers and current owners have a preference for open concept kitchens; that is, open kitchens, which flow into other rooms in the house. There are certainly advantages to this layout, including an increase in space, the potential for flexible use of a room, and, often, added natural light.

If the structure of a home doesn’t allow for an open concept kitchen, there are still many ways that you can make this space feel more open, airy, and connected to the rest of the home. A big factor may be increasing the amount of natural light in the space.

Focusing on emphasizing bright and light colors can help to increase the illusion of space in any room, especially the kitchen. For instance, adding bay windows or floor-to-ceiling windows to the kitchen can help illuminate your space, and add an additional layer of comfort.

You can also decorate in light colors to make this space feel brighter. Similarly, decluttering your kitchen can help make it feel larger and more open. You can help get rid of clutter by moving unnecessary cooking accessories to a more out-of-the-way storage area, or by adding smart, hideable storage solutions strategically throughout your kitchen.

Finding the Space That Works for You

At Baird & Warner, we’ve seen design trends come and go for more than 160 years. We’ve always focused on what was best for our clients and our Chicagoland community. Finding easier ways to turn the American dream of home ownership into reality has been part of our DNA from the start, and that guides us into the future.

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