By Marsha Fottler.
September is National Home Furnishings Month and the room getting the most attention lately is the kitchen. Even in tough economic times homeowners are renovating kitchens. We all seem to be on a mission to maximize beauty, comfort and efficiency. Nationally, kitchen renovations account for 70% of home improvement projects.
The average cost of a kitchen renovation is about $45,000. Nearly everyone goes over budget so to reclaim your investment at resale time, experts say to set your kitchen renovation budget at 15% of the overall value of your home. To keep costs down, don’t change the location of the sink. It can cost as much as $2,000 to move it. Cabinets and countertops claim the biggest share of the budget.
The top trends in kitchen renovations are these: a large center island, stainless steel appliances, granite counters (but quartz is coming on strong) and floors of wide-plank hardwood, wood-like laminate, engineered wood, stone or ceramic tile in big sizes (at least 24×24-inches). Linoleum, bamboo and cork flooring continue to gain in popularity because they are environmentally friendly.
Homeowners want cabinets of cherry or maple for traditional or transitional kitchens and sleek, high-gloss laminate or glass cabinets (some that open garage-door style) in modern kitchen designs. Often those maple cabinets are painted antique white, which is the most popular cabinet color right now. Shaker-style cabinets rule because the look is so versatile.
Upper cabinets are disappearing and they are being replaced with open shelving or art work. Lower cabinets feature deep pull-out drawers with an easy-glide feature that allows the drawers to close with a slight nudge.
Homeowners are still enamored of the apron-front farmhouse sink and gas cooktop. Oil-rubbed bronze and brushed nickel are the chosen metals for traditional kitchens. Polished chrome is the choice for modern kitchens. Homeowners with big families are opting for two dishwashers and everyone wants a walk-in pantry. A breakfast nook with plush banquette seating is highly desirable. A kitchen that is open to the family room is preferable to one that is closed in and separate from all the action.
Theme kitchens are still big with vintage country, farmhouse, Mediterranean and French Country topping the list. But modern kitchens are gaining in popularity. We’re not talking minimalism, but a rather a soft contemporary look that banishes clutter in favor of a clean, pared-down, sophisticated look. Pendant lights over the island, breakfast bar and banquette are a must. Three are better than just one.
Philosophical trends matter to homeowners. Most of us would be more “green” conscious if environmentally-friendly appliances, building materials and kitchen cleaning products were more competitively priced and more available in stores where average people shop.
But the biggest trend today is homeowners’ insistence on intrinsic value. We want products to last, to perform as promised, to be backed up by professional service and we want it all for a reasonable price. Intrinsic value is the new luxury and American homeowners are buying into it.
Flavors and More Magazine – September 2009