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By Alice Lesch Kelly
Would you feel most in your element in a modern, minimalist kitchen or a cozy, traditional one? Somewhere in the middle?
Take this short quiz to find out which kitchen design style is your best match. Then, get some tips on using that style to guide your next kitchen refresh.
Once you determine which design style—New England modern, contemporary chic, cool classic, or trendy transitional—most closely aligns with your personal taste, you can start having fun expressing your style in your kitchen.
“Everybody is spending so much time in their homes these days that it’s a great time to make some changes,” says designer Steven Santosuosso of Squarehouse Studios in Somerville, Mass. “Even small modifications can make a big difference.”
Use these tips to revamp your kitchen, whether you’re planning a major renovation or just want to give your kitchen a fresher look.
If your style is New England modern…
Tackle clutter. “Modern design is clean and sleek, with minimal accessories,” says designer Shannon Tate-Giordano of Shannon Tate Interiors in the Pioneer Valley. “Store things inside your cabinets rather than on counters and surfaces.”
Grab your paintbrush. “Painting is a minimal-cost, low-effort way to give your kitchen a huge facelift,” Santosuosso says. Get a modern look with a color palette that includes whites, grays, and cool neutrals.
Change your hardware. Modern design minimizes or eliminates cabinet hardware. Replace fussy knobs with sleek knobs or simple pulls. If you’re switching your cabinets, choose plain fronts with finger pulls or notched edges.
Buy new dishware. Swap ornamentally designed tableware with sleek, clean designs. “Choose simple patterns like earthenware or off-white or gray dishes, something symmetrical with clean edges and a very modern look,” Tate-Giordano says.
Replace your flooring. To get the modern look you love, go with cement or glossy white tile.
Modernize your appliances. Choose appliances with sleek, professionally inspired designs in stainless, black stainless, or panels that match your cabinetry. To get the look of a built-in refrigerator without a full kitchen overhaul, opt for a KitchenAid counter-depth refrigerator that stands flush with your cabinets.
Edit your accessories. Contemporary design isn’t as stark as modern design, but it does incorporate some of modern’s sleekness and simplicity. You can start getting that look by removing some clutter and accessories. “Pare things down and be thoughtful about what you leave out,” Tate-Giordano suggests.
Refresh your cabinetry. For a contemporary update, choose plain, inset-free cabinet fronts or a cabinet in a less detailed Shaker style with simple hardware. “It’s really easy to swap in new hardware, and that gives cabinetry a whole new look,” Santosuosso says.
Change your colors. Contemporary tones include tans, beiges, and warm neutrals. For help choosing a color that’s perfect for your kitchen, use online tools such as the Benjamin Moore’s Find Your Color or Sherwin-Williams’ Digital Color Wall.
Replace your backsplash. Simple, pattern-free backsplash materials such as subway tile or marble provide a more contemporary look. “Or you can even extend your countertop material up the back in one slab to give a more contemporary, less visually cluttered look,” Tate-Giordano says.
Brighten your lighting. Replacing old, out-of-date fixtures with fresh lighting can give your kitchen a more up-to-date look. Consider contemporary fixtures such as chrome suspension fixtures or glass pendants.
Update your appliances. Old appliances can give your kitchen a tired, outdated look. Replacing them with new appliances provides a more contemporary look as well as modern functionality. A new KitchenAid range hood can freshen your kitchen’s air as well as its look.
Channel your inner farmer—or Don Draper. Classic design, which is more traditional than modern or contemporary, brings in other styles such as farmhouse (by featuring wood and natural fibers, for instance) or even “Mad Men” style mid-century design (think Eames-style furniture).
Install new faucets. Let your style flow with a curvy new faucet design.
Invest in new counters. Replacing your countertops can give your kitchen an entirely new look. “By using a lighter colored marble or quartzite or a less-maintenance quartz product, you can create a more updated feel and also extend the life of your kitchen,” says Justine Sterling of Justine Sterling Design in Melrose, Mass.
Pick playful patterns. Have some fun with new fabrics or dishware with decorative touches. “Even replacing your dishtowels with a fresh pattern can make a difference,” Tate-Giordano says.
Introduce some color. Classic design typically uses whites, blacks, and warm neutral color palettes with splashes of color. “Try experimenting with small moments of color,” Santosuosso says. “Flowers, fruit, vegetables, and art are all a great way to exercise your color palette without a permanent color commitment.”
Spring for a new oven. Achieve an updated classic look with a single or double KitchenAid wall oven in stainless, black stainless, black, or even white. Or cook in color with a KitchenAid commercial-style oven in splashy colors such as scorched orange, passion red, yellow pepper, or misty blue.
Combine different aesthetics. “Transitional is a mixture of all kinds of designs,” Tate-Giordano says. “In a transitional kitchen you can have modern dishes, traditional cabinet doors, and a contemporary faucet.”
Replace your flooring. Choose hardwood or tile, and feel free to choose darker wood tones or decorative tile styles.
Celebrate ornamental features. Use lighting or paint to draw attention to design elements such as decorative archways, curved millwork, or carved woodwork. “Modern design would minimize them, but transitional leans into them,” Santosuosso says.
Add flair to cabinetry. Choose fronts with double-beveled insets and ornate hardware, such as knobs or pulls with decorative elements around the edges.
Have fun with color. Choose neutrals or cool blues, greens, or purples.
Don’t be afraid to mix appliances styles. Even if you don’t need all new appliances but are dying for a more functional range, mixed styles can mesh with a KitchenAid commercial-style range that comes in a variety of colors.
Use the map below to find a local KitchenAid appliance dealer in your area.
Sponsored by KitchenAid & NEAEG
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