Most of you know by now that my husband and I have recently renovated our 20+ year old kitchen. Although we considered many, many things before committing to the remodel, one of the biggest considerations for us was how we currently use our kitchen and how we plan to use it in the future.
My husband loves to cook – anything and everything, while I am usually the prep and clean up girl. This means that we spend a LOT of time in the kitchen. And, it’s not just us. If you’re anything like my husband and I, you find yourself spending nearly all of your time in the kitchen while hosting dinner parties, holiday events, and other gatherings. And this is not just when you are preparing the food, it’s generally where the guests gather because that’s where the hosts are! So ask yourself, how do you use your kitchen? Merely to cook/clean up or do you plan to entertain in your new space? I would guess that, like us, most people who are heavily investing in a new kitchen, plan to do a combination of cooking and entertaining in their kitchens.
With that in mind, we made a conscious effort to create a highly functional cooking space combined with exceptional style. And by the end, this dual focus helped us create a space that is not only practical but also has a more relaxed and luxurious feel which is key for people who spend hours in the kitchen.
So how did we take our kitchen from dated to dazzling? Let’s take a look at just how we did it!
(Photo: Bistro Chic Kitchen Prior to Renovation)
8 Ideas to Create a Luxuriously Functional Kitchen
1 – Create a Focal Point – When guests walk into your kitchen, what do you want them to notice first? Is it your posh, double oven? Is it a stain glassed window? Or maybe a fancy chandelier? Determine your focal point and put a little extra attention (and sometimes money) into its features to really make it pop. That’s not to say you should spend most of your budget on the focal point and skimp (or skip) everywhere else. This can backfire and turn an unsightly kitchen element into an unintentional focal point.
Given our kitchen is within our great room (a large combined space for living, cooking, and dining) our island has always been the place where guests gather when they are inside our home. But we wanted it to be more than just a gathering space. We wanted the island to be a centerpiece, a showpiece. With that in mind, we made very deliberate choices that helped us make the island stand out – including the size, color, stone choice and more. Stay tuned for more details on our kitchen island in an upcoming post!
2 – Focus on Functionality – When we considered how we wanted our new kitchen to support our cooking style, it was quite apparent that our old current kitchen set up really wasn’t allowing us to optimize our cooking (or entertaining) potential. Although our appliances were nice and rather new, they were on the smaller side because that’s what old cabinet configuration would allow. And although we loved (and still love) our indoor grill, the old grill unit and island cutout only had space for 2 traditional stovetop burners which made cooking large meals challenging.
To make our kitchen more functional and better support our cooking style, we opted for several upgrades.
- Cooktop/Grill – We selected a larger stovetop unit with 3 burners (including one that is extra large) and an updated indoor grill. Furthermore, we selected an induction cooktop, an electric cooktop that gets power from a special type of magnetic technology which allows for precision cooking.
- Oven – We selected a slightly bigger oven with better digital options and more moveable racks.
- Fridge – We went with a larger, counter depth fridge, giving us a better ice/water dispenser and more space within the fridge and outside.
- Workstation Sink – In our old kitchen, we had a double sink, which at that time we selected it 20 years ago was very trendy. However, we quickly realized that having two smaller sinks made if very hard to hand wash large pots, which we used quite often. This time, we selected a larger, single workstation sink, equip with a metal rack at the base, a cool drying rack and a detachable cutting board – all features any at-home chef would love!
- Roll-out Shelving – In addition to having traditional, stationary shelving, we designed most of our lower cabinets (and some of our upper cabinets) to have roll-out shelving. Although we did lose a little internal cabinet/storage space with this, it has helped make our lives much easier as we put away and search for food and cookware!
3 – Define with Tile – In our old kitchen we had zero tile and only a low, granite backsplash. Originally, we intended to use our newly selected brick-like tile for the backsplash only, we decided to expand the style by taking it all the way up the walls and around the entire kitchen. The tile has definitely made huge statement and truly defines the kitchen space.
(Photo: Bistro Chic Kitchen After Renovation)
4 – Keep Appliances and Functional Items Out of Sight – In our old kitchen, our trash can was out in the open and our microwave and stove were in plain sight – all of which stuck out like sore thumbs! In our new kitchen, we designed the cabinets to enclose the microwave and trash can, and moved the oven to the internal side of the island, hiding it from sight. This helps to create a more clean and streamlined look where your eye can focus more on the beauty of the cabinets rather than the every day “working” items.
5 – Optimize Storage and Counter Space – We expanded the length and width of our island making it over 100 inches in length and 50 inches depth. This gave us a larger area for food prep, more storage space via front island cabinets and additional counter seating for guests via the extended countertop.
6 – Spotlight Your Assets – Instead of keeping our old ceiling fan with one, built-in light, we selected three beautiful, modern pendants to put a spotlight on our new island. But we didn’t stop there! We added lighting underneath the cabinets, and two additional sets of can lighting throughout the kitchen space – four light sets in total, with all lights on dimmers. A multi-light kitchen gives you the brightness needed for cooking/cleaning, but the option to turn off or dim certain lights to add warmth and ambience when needed.
7 – Match Your Hardware – For our cabinets, we selected longer, sleek cabinet handles and pulls, very different from the old-fashioned short-pulls and knobs we used to have. Our new handles and pulls also match the handles of our fridge and oven which makes even the little things, like door handles, feel “put together”.
8 – Add Elegance with Height and Moulding – Our old cabinets stopped about 2 feet from our ceiling, leaving the top of the cabinets exposed, which was a huge dust collector for 20 years. Our new cabinets were designed to go to the ceiling and are outlined by beautiful crown moulding. This eliminates the cabinet dust, lifts the eye to the ceiling creating an elongated look, and adds an elegant finishing touch at the very top.
Have others ideas for creating a functional yet stylish kitchen? Add your ideas in the comments below. Stay tuned for additional details on how I turned my kitchen island into an amazing centerpiece!