Install a New Kitchen with Timeless Style

    Photo: Boa-Franc/flickrA new kitchen installation will cost you about $55K for a high-end job these days and take a minimum of 15 to 20 weeks ... during which time, you'll be without any but the most basic cooking facilities. Unless you're addicted to both excitement and takeout food, you'd like your investment of money and time to stand you in good stead for years to come. To make the most of your kitchen remodel dollar, choose a classic look that will never go out of fashion.

    Color -- White

    A white kitchen, like a diamond, is forever. White goes with everything, makes any space look larger and lighter, and offers the essential of curb appeal -- classic, neutral style. It also has a pristinely clean appearance -- exactly what you want for your food prep area. Finding appliances, cabinets, and accessories to match will be an absolute breeze. What goes better with white than white? If you find it a little bland for your esthetic, punch it up with a few dashes of color (but limit yourself to three coordinating hues to avoid a "busy" feel). Best of all, a cool vanilla background will not steal too much thunder from your kitchen's star attraction -- your delicious food!

    Classic Style

    Look at kitchen designs from the last few decades. Don't just listen to designers who tell you things like, "Subway tile has always been in fashion," for instance. It hasn't. See which elements have stood the test of time. What makes them stand out?

    Avoid any design that is too custom or too cluttered. Remember the hanging pots that were clustered over every kitchen island in the 80s? Those were a little scary. Also stay away from hard-to-fix fads. For instance, setting floor tile diagonally, considered the height of modernity around the turn of Great Recession, is already starting to make otherwise elegant kitchens look tired. An overly quaint and "old-fashioned" renovation will also tend to date a kitchen within a relatively short time.

    What works? Simple cabinets with flat doors or Shaker style edging are great. If you'd like an eventual kitchen "remodel" on a dime, simply give them a paint job or change the hardware. Freestanding appliances work well, too; they are much easier to replace than built-ins when you're ready for a change.

    Bright, Spacious, and Inviting

    Light never goes out of style. Nor does space. A remodel that is gaining in popularity is a kitchen bump-out, an extension which will add square footage -- and sometimes windows -- to your existing kitchen. It can be used to provide a cozy, sunny, casual eat-in area.

    When you're choosing a kitchen you can live with over the long haul, aim for an atmosphere that is inviting and homey. You'll feel more cheerful while cooking and both family members and guests will be drawn to socialize in this welcoming atmosphere. Make sure the layout is drawn up with careful attention to traffic flow patterns.

    Don't forget to plan for plenty of storage. Utilize "forgotten" spaces such as the gap between your fridge and cabinets or the inside of a banquette to stow canned goods or kitchen linens.

    Hardwearing and Practical

    If any kitchen item requires too much maintenance, within a year or two you will be tempted to tear it up and redo no matter how good the condition of the material still is. For example, tiled countertops, which some designers are very keen on these days, are a pain to keep clean. The grout lines seem to act as a magnet for dirt, grease and crumbs.

    On the other hand, take it from experienced, qualified carpenters: functional features such as drawers or pullout shelves for your bottom cabinets, and lazy Susans for corners, will serve you well for the future. They offer convenient access even to someone with arthritic fingers or creaky knees.

    Laura Firszt writes for


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