Kitchen Design Tips From HGTV Stars

Between them they've designed hundreds of great-looking, hard-working kitchens. HGTV Magazine features some of your favorite stars' never-fail rules.

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  • Sarah Richardson, Sarah's House

    \"Not every kitchen redo involves a gut job. I say, 'Love what you have, and make it look new!' We updated these drab wood cabinets with paint and gave the room a retro diner vibe,\" says Sarah.

  • Colors and Countertops

    \"Dark wood islands have been a recurring kitchen trend for a decade, but why not be a little daring and do something light and bright? This one's small, so it can easily be repainted another color if the urge strikes. I love natural stone and I always will, but I have quartz in my own kitchens, and I recommend it to clients, too. It's super durable, and heat- and scratch-resistant — plus, it doesn't stain, and it comes in tons of colors,\" says Sarah. Get the look: Breath of Fresh Air paint color by Benjamin Moore

  • Cabinets

    \"Drawers can be more expensive to build than cabinets, but I find they're more versatile and less likely to become a disorganized mess. For extra storage in this kitchen, I used inexpensive wooden stair treads from Lowe's to create open shelving in front of the sunny window,\" says Sarah.

  • Lighting

    \"A kitchen without pendants can feel institutional, but add too many and you have a lighting showroom! That's where recessed ceiling lights — to illuminate work zones — pick up the slack,\" says Sarah. Get the look: Kichler Fresnel Lens pendant in polished nickel, $253, lampsplus.com

  • Floors

    \"Know your limits, both financially and functionally. We replaced the existing linoleum floor in here with marbled-finish Marmoleum tiles. Changing to stone would have raised the height of the floor and crept into the baseboards, and it would've cost double,\" says Sarah. Get the look: Marmoleum Click vinyl tile, from $7 per square foot, forbo-flooring.com for buying info

  • Backsplash

    \"Here's the place to make a statement and tie your whole color scheme together. This mosaic tile — a mix of glass and stone — had all the colors we used in the room, and it came in 12-inch x 12-inch sheets that were easy to install without any special cuts,\" says Sarah. Get the look: Merola Rustica subway porcelain tile in neptune blue, $17 per sheet (11¾\" x 11¾\"), homedepot.com

  • Meg Caswell, Meg's Great Rooms

    Meg says, \"Just because a kitchen is a functional space doesn't mean it can't be fun. It should reflect your personality: If you love to throw parties, make it party central!\"

  • Colors

    \"I like kitchens to have a sophisticated feel. So here we did rich gray on the cabinets but added color with a fuchsia-red glass backsplash that extends all the way up to the ceiling behind the range. The floral Roman shade on the window adds a little more color to the space, and the butcher-block island calms down the palette,\" says Meg. Get the look: Galveston Gray by Benjamin Moore; window shade fabric, Zahara in Raspberry by Fabricut

  • Cabinets

    \"If I'm building custom cabinetry, I love to specialize it with dividers and rollout devices. But in this room, we kept a lot of the existing cabinets, so I added function with really cool backsplash organizers. They store everyday items like spoons and spices while keeping the counters clear,\" says Meg.

  • Counters

    \"Carrera marble has an elegant look that goes with everything. People shy away from marble because they think it can be hard to keep up, but it's actually an extremely lasting material, and history proves it: Europeans have been using it for thousands of years! Sure, it absorbs stains, but I think that just adds to its pretty patina,\" says Meg.

  • Lighting

    \"I always use can lighting above the counters, plus under-cabinet lights so the prep space is illuminated. But I never miss a chance for a decorative fixture in a kitchen, like a striking chandelier over the island,\" says Meg. Get the look: Haggas pendant lamp, $60, IKEA stores

  • Appliances and Backsplash

    \"You don't have to stick to one suite if the individual appliances don't suit your needs, but stay with one finish and style of handle to tie everything together. As for the backsplash, tempered glass that's painted from behind has a smooth, solid color throughout. And it's amazingly functional: Just spray it with glass cleaner and run a cloth over it,\" says Meg.

  • John Colaneri and Anthony Carrino, Kitchen Cousins

    \"We design a lot of \"transitional\" kitchens: They're in between traditional and contemporary, which is easy to live with for a long time,\" say John and Anthony.

  • Colors

    \"Color is our staple, so we're always going to throw something bright in the kitchen. We chose the pink, gray and white palette in this room based on a scrap of wallpaper that reminded the owner of her childhood home,\" say John and Anthony. Get the look: Fashion Gray and Platinum Gray paint, both by Behr

  • Cabinets

    \"Ask yourself how many cabinets you really need. Just because you have the space doesn't mean you have to fill it with cabinets. We kept the cabinetry pretty spare in this room because the homeowner didn't have much to store,\" say John and Anthony.

  • Counters

    \"We're huge proponents of quartz for countertops because it's practically indestructible. Plus, it comes in all sorts of finishes, from solid colors to marble and granite look-alikes,\" say John and Anthony. Get the look: lowes.com; Queen of Hearts quartz counters, $100 per square foot, caesarstoneus.com for buying info

  • Appliances

    \"We tell clients to look for counter-depth refrigerators instead of deeper models that stick out from the cabinetry. You get a more custom look that way. And anything Energy Star helps with the bills,\" say John and Anthony.

  • Lighting and Backsplash

    \"Recessed high hats are a go-to for us. They do the hard work of lighting up the kitchen but still create a warm look. We put decorative lighting over either an island or the sink. Black grout accentuates the pattern of a backsplash — in this case, a diamond pattern — and it never looks dirty, like white grout can,\" say John and Anthony. Get the look: Little Diamonds ceramic tile, $24 per square foot, heathceramics.com

  • Casey Noble, Design on a Dime

    \"Some rooms should feel like calm retreats. But a kitchen is filled with life and energy, so you can make bold choices,\" says Casey.

  • Colors

    \"I'm always working on a tight budget, so paint is one of my staples. In here, we used bright green on the cabinets for a throwback feel. I added red on a repurposed dresser-turned-island that can wheel around the kitchen. It doesn't look too Christmasy because the green is minty and the red has a lot of orange in it,\" says Casey. Get the look: Thyme Green and Firecracker, both by Behr

  • Cabinets

    \"Open shelves expand a room, but there's a lot of pressure to make everything on them look nice. That's why you need plenty of closed space for canned goods and other things you want to stash away. Here we added extra storage in the dining nook with a lift-top bench, which holds pots and pans,\" says Casey. Get the look: Amerock knob in cherry-stained maple, $3, sears.com

  • Counters

    \"Resuscitate original tile countertops and backsplashes by adding a thick enamel coating. You have to hire a professional to do this — it's similar to refinishing a bathtub. It gives the tile a consistent finish that makes it look new without any demo,\" says Casey. Get the look: Use fabric to conceal storage behind half-cabinets. Try Ticktock in scarlet, $25 per yard, calicocorners.com

  • Lighting

    \"I'm a fan of pendants, so we added one over the banquette to make the room feel more intimate. When you have the space over an island or counter, a trio of pendants always looks great,\" says Casey.

  • Floors

    \"Black and white linoleum tiles are a kitchen no-brainer. They're totally classic, so cheap and really easy to install yourself. A checkerboard pattern never goes out of style,\" says Casey. Get the look: Alterna Premium Groutable vinyl tile, from $5.50 per square foot, armstrong.com for buying info

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