Looking to remodel your home? Make sure the heart of it looks as good as it possibly can. We’re here to help: We have you covered with plenty of kitchen design ideas to inspire your next renovation.
To get you started, we tapped Amanda Reynal, the Des Moines-based designer and head of Amanda Reynal Interiors, to share some of her best tips and tricks when it comes to reimaging your space. “When designing a kitchen, I prioritize our clients’ needs as well as function, and then imagine a beautiful design around the working space,” she says. From finding the right combination of lighting to ensuring you have plenty of seating and storage, it’s important to identify the must-have kitchen design ideas on your list before getting down to the details. Budget is also a major consideration; researching what fits your price range will help you select the right materials and styles.
Once the basics and budget are covered, you can start infusing personality into the space, from glossy backsplashes in playful designs to eye-catching drawer handles and sink faucets in the perfect metallic finish. Ahead, more of our best tips for ensuring your own kitchen remodel is a stylish success.
Think About Flow
Are you altering your existing space to accommodate an open floor plan? If so, think about how you want your new kitchen to function. Will your culinary area be a place where your family congregates and eats? A large kitchen island with seating is necessary, but if you want your dining space to be regularly utilized, you should think twice before spending time and money on a kitchen eatery.
Another major consideration? The layout of both spaces, which should feel complementary and connected, not disjointed and incongruous.
Create Plenty of Storage
You can never go wrong with added storage. “There are so many new and clever kitchen storage ideas that our clients love to utilize,” says Amanda reynal, the Des Moines-based designer and head of Amanda Reynal Interiors. “From keeping plates in large drawers at a lower level to hidden coffee bars behind doors, there are many ways to maximize space. Even in the areas behind doors, pull-outs can help with accessibility and still allow everything to be hidden.”
Turn Up the Lighting
Reynal is big on lighting, and she recommends having a mix of styles within your space. “Typically, we light the island with pendants or multi-light chandeliers,” she says. “Surface-mounted lights that are flush or semi-flush help light the ceiling as well as the area below it, which makes a room feel cheerful and bright.” She also suggests using recessed lights, especially on a dimmer if the kitchen is used for dining and entertaining. Under-cabinet lighting is also a must.
Prioritize Form and Function
This is especially important when it comes to the more utilitarian components of your kitchen, including your stove hood. We love how this sleek white stove hood holds its own above a subway tile backsplash, but doesn’t compete with the kitchen’s more interesting features, like the dark island and exposed brick beam.
Elevate Your Hardware
Reynal puts an extra emphasis on the details, too. “Hardware and ‘faucetry’ can elevate a kitchen to the next level,” she says. “Warm-toned metals such as brass have become more common, and there’s also a wonderful selection of shapes and brushed finishes to choose from.” From matte black to champagne bronze, check out the selection at your local plumbing and hardware vendor to see what’s available, Reynal recommends.
Consider All Cabinetry Types
If you want cabinetry, weigh all of your options. Do all-opaque iterations work for you? Or would a few glass-front options—which might help kids navigate the space better or allow you to show off your prized china collection—elevate the space? Consider the pros (accessibility and aesthetics) and the cons (finger smudges and constant curation) before you decide, but note that see-through “window” cabinets could be exactly what your existing space is missing.
Add a Splash of Color
Although the ubiquitous white kitchen is always in style, Reynal has been incorporating more and more color into her clients’ homes. Look to eye-catching wallpaper or paint all of the cabinetry in your favorite hue. You can also opt for a smaller color commitment, such as choosing a contrasting wood finish for the island. “We’ve been using grained wood finishes on cabinets more frequently than in the past,” she says. “There are many new updated wood finishes that have contrasting grain which look earthy and sophisticated.”
Add Personality with a Backsplash
Backsplashes are a great way to add an extra pop of personality to your space, whether you prefer a crisp, clean look made with quartz or something more adventurous, like a colorful glass tile. “I often choose a backsplash in a marble mosaic pattern to add interest and sophistication to a simpler kitchen,” says Reynal.
Opt for Quartz Countertops
It’s no secret that white marble is a sought-after kitchen stone, but it’s also hard to maintain. Reynal has found a similar alternative. “While I feel that a natural stone countertop adds a living original element to the kitchen, there are new durable and attractive engineered stone options called quartz,” she says. “This product can withstand high heat and doesn’t scratch or stain easily, making it an extremely practical workhorse option.” Want the best of both? Reynal suggests using quartz on the perimeter countertops and a natural stone on the island in a coordinating or contrasting color.
Choose Panel-Ready Appliances
Another game changer in the kitchen: panel-ready appliances, which are available through most appliance companies these days. “Having an integrated look with cabinets and appliances all blending together makes a kitchen feel more like a room,” says Reynal. “Ranges also come in many finishes and, in some cases, bright colors, which can add an original focal point to the room.”
Select the Right Flooring
Gone are the days of closed-off kitchens. In order to keep the kitchen feeling like it’s part of the rest of the home, Reynal suggests using the same flooring as the surrounding living areas to create a unified look. However, there are opportunities where a different flooring is preferable in a kitchen. “When using a tile floor, it’s nice to add underfloor heat if in a climate with cooler seasonal temps,” says Reynal. “With in-floor heating, stone or ceramic tiles don’t feel cold and uninviting underfoot. This is also an opportunity to add a texture or pattern to the floors that tie the rest of the design scheme together.”
Don’t Forget the Ceiling
The ceiling is often overlooked, but Reynal has some ideas for bringing it to life. “Just as I like to keep a ceiling well-lit and bright, I also like to acknowledge and incorporate it into our design scheme,” she says. “This can be as simple as painting it a contrasting color to the walls and cabinets or as elaborate as adding beams, wood planks, or applied coffers.”
Make Room for Seating
“Depending on size and use of the kitchen, we always suggest having at least a couple of stools at the island,” says Reynal. “This could be a space for casual dining or a perch for guests to sit and chat with the cook while the meal is being prepared.”
Dealing with a tight space, but still have room for a table? Do as Reynal does and incorporate a banquette into the kitchen. “The banquette can be under a window or in a corner or even as an architectural divider to separate an open plan kitchen from the living area.”
By Andrea Crowley