Simple to Splashy

Filed in Design and Decor by on May 20, 2014

calla lily 1

Photo Source: Calla Lily Designs

The living and family rooms might be named for gathering, but we all know where we spend most of our time entertaining – the kitchen. Even if it’s just your immediate family sharing breakfast or a few friends over for drinks, the kitchen plays a central role in your home and should reflect your style and personality. Thankfully, there are as many ways to design or upgrade your kitchen as there are meals you can make in it.

New countertops and cabinetry will make a huge impact on your kitchen. Today’s trends include white painted or cherry stained cabinetry, with plenty of glass and open cabinets. Granite, quartz and laminate are popular countertop choices. Magazines and websites will give you a feel for what’s available, and professional designers are ready to help you choose what’s best for your kitchen.

The following are some suggestions for countertops and cabinetry for a variety of budgets.

Going All Out

When building a new home or completely remodeling your existing kitchen, professionals recommend first taking some time to consider what you want from your kitchen countertops and cabinetry. How much storage do you need? how durable do your cabinets and countertops need to be? how much maintenance are you willing to put up with? Do you want to follow the current trends or do you prefer a more traditional style?

If you’re going to splurge on anything in your kitchen, Kristi Foell, interior designer with Showplace Kitchens in Fargo, suggests doing so on your cabinetry.

Photo Source: Calla Lily Designs

Photo Source: Calla Lily Designs

“They are the workhorse in your kitchen,” she says. “They hold up everything and you’re working with them all of the time. And most people don’t replace them very often.”

There’s a strong trend toward cabinets with a furniture feel, including furniture feet, decorative molding and kitchen islands designed as pieces of furniture. Designers are combining that with professionally painted, glossy cabinetry and granite or quartz countertops.

While the latest trends in countertops include concrete and recycled glass, among other matreials, local building professionals are seeing mostly granite and quartz in this area. Mike Thorson, owner of Cornerstone Countertops in Fergus Falls, recommends asking where your countertop stone will be purchased and whether you can choose the actual slab for even more personalization. Stone Holding Company in Fargo sells to several businesses, he says.

“Their people are very knowledgeable,” Thorson says. “They can tell you everything you want to know.”

Explore several options for your kitchen layout, as well as how a variety of cabinetry and countertop options will best meet your needs and preferences.

Middle Ground

You can shave off the costs of construction, electrical and plumbing work by passing on a complete kitchen redesign. Instead, work within the context of your current kitchen layout and see what new cabinetry and countertops can do on their own to update the room.

When it comes to countertops, multiple tones and surfaces are hot right now. In magazines, for example, you often see an island that’s a different color or medium than the rest of the kitchen, says Thorson. Instead of using granite throughout, you could limit it to the island and use laminate for the kitchen perimeter.

“You can save thousands of dollars but still get the impact of granite,” he says.

Cabinetry costs vary widely, depending on the wood species, finish and door styles, says Jamie Wallace, certified kitchen designer and owner of Calla Lily Designs in Fergus Falls. She recommends being upfront about your budget and asking your designer to help you find options within it.

“You will also need to consider the quality behind the scenes, from particle board to plywood, standard overlay hinges to full overlay,” Wallace says. “All those details need to be considered.”

Modest Improvements

If you’re looking to make some noticeable improvements to the kitchen with the least impact on your checkbook, consider laminate countertops. Jerry Swedberg, vice president of Swedberg Wood Products in Alexandria, says the new laminates wear well and are very cost-effective.

‘There are good laminate countertops out there now,” he says. “Laminate is the best bang for your buck.”

Wilsonart Madura Laminate Countertop

Wilsonart Madura Laminate Countertop

You can find laminate countertops at major home improvement stores, but for more color and texture options – as well as a custom fit – your best bet is a specialty store. Many laminates are mimicking stone with both their color finish, but at about a third of the cost of actual stone. It’s a great option if you need to keep your expenses down or want something that’s still classy while saving up for a more extensive kitchen remodel, says Thorson.

“There have been many advances in the last seven years in laminate,” he says. “There are a lot more choices than there used to be.”

Because cabinetry can be so expensive but make such a big impact on the look of your kitchen, you may want to replace just the doors of your cabinets or add an island. Bring in a new wood species, replace hardware and add a backsplash for more impact.

“That’s a high-end remodel on a light budget,” says Foell.

Whatever your budget, consider what you want from your kitchen and what’s most important to you.

“Designing a kitchen can be a very detailed process, but it needs to also be fun, as you are showcasing your family’s personality throughout the heart of the home – the kitchen,” says Wallace.

by Amanda Peterson, a writer in Moorhead. 

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