Maximize Your Kitchen Remodel with Clever New Features

colorhome/flickrPlanning to remodel your kitchen? How exciting! You are about to fulfill what is most likely a long-term dream. Granted, you're going to have some hectic weeks ahead of you, but it helps to focus on what's truly important: equipping your kitchen with features that will make it more functional and beautiful for you and your family. If selling your home is another dream of yours, remember that buyers of mid- to high-end properties are also very attracted to remodeled kitchens with the latest devices, like the following.

Soft close kitchen cabinet doors and drawers. Today's open plan homes have an attractively airy flow to them. But along with that comes an increase in the NOISE LEVEL!! Quiet things down with soft close cabinet doors and drawers. These will also extend the life of your cabinets by reducing the impact of constant slamming and eliminate the risk of pinched fingers to boot.

Full extension drawer slides. Want to easily take stock of what's at the very back of kitchen drawers? Concealed undermount full extension slides will allow you to pull drawers out fully on their track. They come in capacities of up to an amazing 500 pounds -- just about the weight of a typical kitchen junk drawer.

Pullouts. Speaking of pullouts, seems like there's one for just about every kitchen task these days. How about a discreet pullout trash drawer with compartments for sorting your recyclables? Or the space-efficient dynamic duo -- a pair of pullout cutting board and knife rack?

Desk shelf. While the once popular large-scale kitchen office is going the way of the landline, there will be times when you want a place to sit a spell and plan your menus or pay your bills. Yet another kitchen pullout, the desk shelf, is purpose-built for exactly this function.

Drawer dishwasher. True, a dishwasher is a major convenience ... and running a full load is generally more water-efficient than washing by hand. However, it may not work out so well for singles or couples who have just a few dirty dishes to take care of. Now you can sub in a mini dishwasher tucked out of sight in a kitchen drawer. Perfect for a small space.

Plate rack. Take today's trendy open shelving concept one step further into the future with plate racks that will organize your plates, glasses, and cutlery. Europeans have used these for years as dish dryers, but they are also perfect for display. Made out of stainless steel, plate racks add a dash of industrial chic to your kitchen.

Smart stove. Multitasking just got a lot easier. Synch a smart stove to your phone to search for tasty recipes that make use of ingredients you have on hand, then cook according to the specified time and temperature. Soup's on!

Hands-free faucet. Here's another smart kitchen feature. The hands-free faucet turns on automatically when you place your hands under the spout. This no-touch fixture is fantastic when your fingers are goopy from kneading dough or cutting up a chicken. It's also simple for young children and elderly or disabled individuals to use.

Charging stations. Traditionally the kitchen has been the hub of the home, a warm and welcoming place to sit and connect with family and friends. Now it can become a place to connect with virtual friends far and near. Juice up your smartphone or tablet at a convenient in-kitchen charging station and you'll always be ready to connect to your favorite social media.

Cabinet mat. Let's throw in a low-tech kitchen feature that we happen to love. Life happens and one of life's little unpleasantnesses is the occasional plumbing leak. Protect your undersink cabinet floor with a heavy-duty rubber cabmat, ridged to help keep stored items dry.

Laura Firszt writes for

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