12 Ways to Add Instant Luxury to Your Kitchen

You don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a kitchen overhaul to get a more luxurious cooking space. While some of these ideas are cheaper than others, all of them will turn up the heat on your kitchen’s function and style.

By: Alyson McNutt English

Photo By: Delta

Photo By: Kara O'Connor

Photo By: Ariel Camilo

Photo By: Cory Holland

Photo By: Blanco Solon

Photo By: M.A. Allen

Photo By: Todd Douglas / Getty Images

Photo By: Joshua Lawrence Studios INC

Photo By: Nar Fine Carpentry, Inc. ©PhotographerLink

Photo By: Photo by: David A. Land, styling by: Jennifer Berno

Photo By: Thermador

Touch-Sensitive Faucet Fanciness

You’ve finished breading the chicken cutlets for dinner and it’s time to wash up. But instead of smearing your potentially pathological palms on your water handles, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to tap your faucet with your arm and have water stream down? These touch-sensitive faucets are a luxury with a practical payoff: fewer germs and less mess to clean after dirty-handed recipe cleanup. And most come with manual handles still integrated, so when you want to get hands-on, that option is available.

Make Waves With Your Backsplash

One way to really get some wow factor in your kitchen is to splurge a bit on backsplash magic. You don’t even have to go all-over with your eye-catching tile: sometimes you get the biggest bang for your buck by choosing a flashy look and concentrating it in one focal area, like over the stove. Look for stainless steel tile, a funky mosaic or metallic tiles to really catch the eye of kitchen visitors.

From: Kara O'Connor

Peek-a-Boo Power Outlets

Power outlets are obviously crucial for a fully-functional modern kitchen, but they’re not exactly brimming with beauty. It may not seem like a super-luxury move, but small details like relocating power outlets behind hidden panels, inside drawers, or under cabinets can really improve the overall look and flow of your kitchen design.

Dramatic Drawer Makeovers

Done digging through drawers for that particular whisk, or picking through five-deep rows of half-inch-tall spices one-by-one? There’s a specialized pull-out for that now. In fact, there are organizers for drawers and cabinets to sort and store most anything in your kitchen or pantry area. Pots, pans, cookbooks and cans: between pull-out cabinets and drawer organizers customized for your particular kitchen quirks, you will feel like everything is at your fingertips.

The Secret Compost Garden

Composting is a fantastic thing to do, both to reduce waste and to improve your garden. It’s not always super-convenient, though, and it can be ... unattractive in the kitchen. The Blanco Solon comes to the rescue for both issues, however. This stainless steel system can be inset into a countertop and has a cover to obscure the cuttings waiting to be relocated to your outdoor compost pile. It saves space, makes composting easier and looks like something that belongs in a luxury kitchen.

Light It Up, Under Cabinets

Under-cabinet lighting makes your culinary area more usable and more beautiful: it’s the classic kitchen win-win. By illuminating your workspace, under-cabinet lighting makes reading recipes, chopping and other countertop-area work safer and easier; and because it adds diffused, mid-level ambient light to your overall room at the same time, it is about form as well as function. 

Get a Handle on It

Cabinet handles and pulls can date your kitchen as quickly as avocado-colored countertops. The good news is that if your cabinets are basically age-neutral, upgrading the handles can give them a quick facelift when replacing everything just isn’t in the cards. Just remember if you had a handle before, with two screws, you’ll need to replace it with the same thing — using a pull where a handle once was will leave you staring at an uncovered hole in the door. If you want to use a handle when you only had a pull, you can, but it will be more than a simple switch-out — you’ll have to drill, baby, drill.

Let the Light Shine In

Light is one of the most important factors in making a kitchen feel bright, airy and like a place you want to be. If your house will allow it architecturally, adding a skylight to your kitchen can brighten it up unlike any artificial light ever could. While recessed lighting, pendant lights and under-cabinet lights can really make your kitchen feel warm and inviting, a skylight’s natural rays offer an extra dimension of brightness that those who love bright kitchens will truly take a shine to.

Crown Molding Jewels

Crown molding is another detail that you might not pinpoint as a luxury until you know exactly what a big difference it makes in how your kitchen looks. Using crown molding to finish off cabinets so they meet the ceiling will make a monumental difference in the value perception of your kitchen. Baseboards where the bottom cabinets meet the floor will complete the polished, finished feel. Cost-to-value, adding crown molding can be a huge difference-maker in how luxurious your kitchen looks to you and your guests.

Ceiling the Deal

Want to make a statement? Ditch that plain (or popcorn!) ceiling and add some viv and verve with some specialized ceiling decor. Try some beadboard paneling, aluminum tiles or even just some molding around lights or painted details, and before you know it, things will really be looking up for your kitchen decor.

Hidden Appliances

It’s a luxury kitchen staple: covering some, if not all, appliances with panels to integrate them into the cabinets. In minimal, modern kitchens, designers like to do it so appliances don’t break the sleek flow of the room; in more traditional kitchens, appliances are often covered to blend in with wooden cabinets for a warmer look. See more of this kitchen from HGTV Magazine.

Full Steam Oven Ahead

Your oven bakes. Perhaps it convection bakes, too. But now ovens do more: they steam. That’s right: Now steam ovens are the new thing, and they’re hot in more ways than one. Most offer the traditional baking option (and sometimes convection, as well) along with steam, but the steaming function is the star of the show. It’s a healthy way to cook because it keeps more moisture in with less butter and oil, and it offers a lot of flexibility for cooks. If you’re looking for a splurge to really heat up your cooking, steam ovens are gaining quickly in popularity and availability.

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