What do you get when you combine hundreds of kitchen design options and a buyer who isn’t sure what they want, in an area of the home that has high emotional impact? The answer is often a very confused, frustrated and overwhelmed customer.
Here are some helpful tips that builders can use to influence the kitchen selection process and turn it from a hair-pulling process into a productive and fun experience that their customers will be raving about for years to come.
When it comes to surfaces, the consumer is desperate for design expertise! Many only select granite because they feel they are expected to. This is a huge opportunity for education and incorporating the home buyer’s tastes. The first question to pose to the customer is not about materials choice, it’s about acoustics and reflectivity: Do they want a room that is loud with a shiny finish or a room that is quiet with matte finish? Kitchens that are quiet with a matte finish tend to have seamless, integrated materials that absorb light and sound, while kitchens that are loud with shiny finishes are highly reflective of both light and sound and can appear brighter.
Regardless of a kitchen’s size, islands not only serve as focal point of the room, they also expand the prep and seating areas. Islands are often the connecting factor between the cooking area and the entertaining area. In the past, people congregated in the kitchen. Today, the island is the jewel in the ‘Great Room’ that not only works for the cook but provides a common area for communication, work, hobbies and homework. Islands are taking on different shapes and frequently have different finishes that serve as an accent to the rest of the kitchen. Add statement light fixtures above the island and “voila”—it takes center stage!
While walls have disappeared from the main living space of a home, zones still exist within the ‘Great Room’. These zones can include places for cooking, entertaining, dining, and relaxation, plus computer centers, back kitchens, pet suites, and drop zones (the place to put things down after coming in from outside). Some homes even extend these spaces outdoors through creative uses of large windows or moveable wall systems. In an open plan, where walls are not present, it is important to keep in mind functional adjacencies and the importance of forms. For instance, from the kitchen, a home owner should not have to walk through the living area to reach the dining table, and a person entering the home from the garage should not have to walk through the kitchen prep area to reach the drop zone.
Kitchen cabinets can increase efficiency in a kitchen if used properly. For standard nine- and ten-foot ceilings, wall cabinets should go all the way to the ceiling. For a clean, modern look, select cabinet door profiles with simple lines, and maintain one cabinet height throughout the entire kitchen. Cabinets are also a great place to integrate appliances and features for pets while maintaining a uniform look within the space. Overall, simplicity is key in today’s kitchen designs.
There isn’t one single color choice that will appeal to all home buyers. The key is to present options—but not too many. A good place to start is with contrasting colors. Select dark-colored cabinets and flooring and balance it with light-colored countertop and backsplash selections or vice versa. This is a popular way to add drama to a space without adding cost. Another option would be to select cabinets, counters, and flooring that are neutral, and add a bold pop of color either through paint, backsplash or both! Blues, greens and all shades of pink are all popular this year.