Freestanding Kitchen Design
A vaulted bamboo roof covers a kitchen with a concrete floor, stainless steel appliances, small kitchen island, white kitchen table, and black counters. Above the kitchen is a storage area, accessible by ladder.
Whether your kitchen is an intimate affair or a vast expanse, storage and efficiency are probably two of your chief concerns—and a freestanding kitchen design may be one of the ways to address both issues simultaneously.
Gray is the New White
Wondering what color to paint your cabinets? The kitchen industry's leading manufacturers say that while white cabinets continue to be tops, gray is the shade they're betting on to break white's top spot. This kitchen by Wellborn pairs soft gray cabinets with richly stained wood showcasing yet another kitchen trend — combining cabinet colors is a trendy look that's holding strong. Image courtesy of Wellborn Cabinets
Opt for New Functionality
Not only is the color of kitchen cabinets changing — hardware manufacturers, like Blum, are changing the way cabinet doors and drawers function. These hydraulic, easy-close doors fold up and out of the way with the touch of a button making them perfect for kitchens where space is an issue. Image courtesy of Blum
Classic Black and White Palette
The look may change as styles evolve, but the appeal of a black-and-white kitchen never dies. It's all about high contrast this design from IKEA juxtaposes white lacquer cabinets (from IKEA's LIDINGÖ line) and Absolute Black granite countertops, but it also benefits from the tension between country and modern. Warm rustic hardwood floors are an effective counterpoint to sleek cabinet materials. Image courtesy of IKEA
Fresh Hues for Sinks
Like kitchen cabinets, sinks are trending away from basic white or stainless steel. This eye-catching green apron-front sink by Kohler was designed by tastemaker Jonathan Adler. A colorful sink is a great way to pop in a small amount of color in a neutral kitchen or make it more of a focal point by using the same hue in the backsplash. Image courtesy of Kohler
Choose Bold Fixtures
Bold color isn't the only way to create excitement. Kitchen designer Vasi Ypsilantis used these oversized light fixtures with black fabric shades from Tech Lighting to add some wow: "They're about 2 feet in diameter and are slightly larger than you would expect for the space," she says. "But they give a great sense of depth perception and create drama in a room with a typical low ceiling." The luxurious cabinets are Poggenpohl's Marsh Oak Veneer with a rich near-black stain. Image courtesy of Poggenpohl
Contrast Light and Shadow
In the same kitchen, Vasi chose Caesarstone "Blizzard" for the countertops and used a glass mosaic backsplash from Mixed-Up Mosaics that combines milky white and eggplant colors with a mirrored tile. "Keeping the cabinets such a dark finish in a small space worries most homeowners because they think it will make the kitchen look smaller," she says. "But it actually creates drama, as long as the countertops and backsplashes are kept light or white to balance light and dark in the space." Design by Vasi Ypsilantis
Maximize Kitchen Storage
Kitchen storage is always an issue, especially for apartment dwellers or any homeowner whose kitchen is short on space. To remedy this, manufacturers like Hafele are doubling up storage in new, custom kitchens with clever multi-tiered drawers. Image courtesy of Hafele
Add In Automation
The kitchen of the future is here today. From sensor-activated lights that illuminate the kitchen only when it's in use to meat thermometers that alert your smartphone when dinner is done, kitchen technology is here to make your life easier. If you're new to automation, a great introductory product is a hands-free faucet, like this one by Moen. Perfect for homes with small children who can't yet reach the handle or any kitchen where busy cooks often have sticky hands. Image courtesy of Moen
This residential kitchen with commercial flair was designed by Poggenpohl team Tedd McKee and Rosemary Porto in collaboration with architecture firm CUBE 3 Studio. Functionally, the room was laid out to maximize prep space for cooking; visually, the sense of immense space was heightened by using three different types of engineered stone for the backsplash, the countertop and the island topper. The neutral background is broken with a dash of bright orange in the light fixtures an easily changeable feature when you're in the mood for a different color. Image courtesy of Poggenpohl
Save Money With a Look-Alike
Countertops continue to define a kitchen's style — but they don't have to be a budget-buster. This granite look-alike from Wilsonart is actually laminate but unlike previous laminate countertops features a more realistic, larger stone pattern and rounded edge for a high-end granite look at a fraction of the price. Image courtesy of Wilsonart
New Colors for Quartz
Along with natural stone, quartz countertops continue to be tops. Caesarstone recently introduced a line of six neutral colors for its durable quartz countertops. Shown is the grayish-beige "Linen," whose subtle color gradation lends itself well to sleek contemporary designs. Nonporous and are resistant to heat, quartz countertops are also resistant to spills and scratches, making them a smart choice for families or busy cooks. Image courtesy of Caesarstone
Mix Countertop Materials
if you're in the market for a fashion-forward countertop, granite, quartz and laminate are no longer your only choices. Wood countertops are coming on strong. This kitchen by EnGrain combines the warmth of wood with cool Calacatta marble for the best of both worlds. Image courtesy of EnGrain
Timeless Farmhouse Flair
Kohler's apron-front cast-iron sinks come in a variety of colors, including new neutral tones Dune, a soft sandy shade, and Suede, a dark hue that pairs well with granite countertops. "Apron-front sinks have never gone out of style," says interior designer Christine Baumann. "They add a timeless focal point to any kitchen. From a practical standpoint, they're deep enough to hold large pots and platters for easier cleanup a shorter person can even benefit from better access to the sink." Christine notes that because of their visual weight, apron-front sinks are best suited to medium-size or large kitchens. Image courtesy of Kohler
Marry the Kitchen to Your Home's Style
"Gone are the days when kitchens were just kitchens now they're so pretty they could be any room of the house, says designer Jo Ann Alston of her French Normandy-style design. Jo Ann integrated the appliances for a seamless look and combined light fixtures with different styles and finishes to give the look of having been acquired over time rather than purchased all at once. The mixed gray and brown tones in the Chinese slate and oak flooring complement the island's Jerusalem gold limestone countertop, offering a rich look that never strays far from a neutral color midpoint.
Designer Mark Donnell and architect Michael Cook chose the finishes in this open kitchen to coordinate with the existing tile floor. The Poggenpohl cabinetry in Curit (a warm reddish brown), Titan Gray and Light Yellow makes a cozy combination. Plus, using flat-front wood veneer cabinets like these along with a traditional wood-plank table gives this midcentury home a contemporary vibe. Image courtesy of Poggenpohl
"Keeping a kitchen neutral allows you to personalize it to reflect your style," says IKEA spokesperson Mary Ann Barroso. "This RAMSJÖ kitchen in red-brown can be matched to be on trend with lavenders, purples and mauves we have a kitchen in our showroom accessorized that way right now." The real treat in this otherwise traditional kitchen is the unexpected light fixtures: IKEA's industrial-chic OTTAVA pendant lamps in aluminum, with shades made of mouth-blown glass. Image courtesy of IKEA
Opt for Architectural Lines
Sometimes a touch of modern architecture is all you need to update your look. Kohler's Purist faucet line has a minimalist profile, a 360-degree swivel spout, lever handles, and high clearance for pots and pans. All finishes are complementary to a neutral palette: Polished Chrome (shown), Vibrant Polished Nickel, Matte Black and Vibrant Stainless. Image courtesy of Kohler
Freestanding kitchens—which generally incorporate a fully functional kitchen island that may even be mobile—can help create a much more flexible and convenient kitchen space.
Your first decision when considering a freestanding kitchen is exactly what kitchen functions you want the main island to feature. For some homeowners, cooking, cleaning and food preparation have to take place on the island, or freestanding portion, of their kitchen because they don't have the requisite water, gas or power elements in any other areas (or they don't want to remodel the kitchen in order to install them). For others, a fully functional kitchen island is simply a more appealing and convenient option, effectively allowing them to do "one-stop shopping" when it comes to cooking, cleaning and storage.
If you choose to incorporate a fully functional freestanding kitchen in your home, you'll first need to ensure that the gas, water and power supplies are in place—or you'll likely need to hire a contractor to create these hook ups (assuming you're not one yourself, or a DIY expert). Once these are in place, your freestanding kitchen can feature a stove, sink, dishwasher, microwave, toaster, blender, coffee maker, refrigerator and any other cooking, cleaning and storage elements you can dream up (assuming it's got the requisite space).
Speaking of space, storage is often an important and challenging element of freestanding kitchens. Many kitchen islands — particularly larger ones in freestanding kitchens — feature both drawers and cabinets for storage. However, if this selection of storage spaces isn't sufficient to cover your storage needs, you may want to explore adding ancillary shelving, a standup pantry fixture or tall cabinet, or even a built-in pantry. To continue the efficient and "close-at-hand" theme of the freestanding kitchen, try to keep shelving and drawers in any other storage elements shallow and narrow as opposed to deep; this way you'll avoid foodstuffs and supplies stacking up and migrating to the back of the pantry, never to be seen again.
Finally, consider adding some convenient or decorative elements to your freestanding kitchen, if you have the space. You can increase the storage space and efficiency of your kitchen by adding a lazy Susan or pull-out trashcan to the island. And since you're likely to have a fair amount of prominent countertop surface area if you invest in a larger freestanding kitchen, you can likely decorate the area with attractive storage canisters, flowers, baskets of fruit or other attractive and eye-catching elements.
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