Can a kitchen change your life? We think so. A few of the newest, innovative kitchen trends are more than just fashionable – they can significantly improve your quality of life. These five kitchen conveniences will help you get more out of your home’s most utilized space and improve its timeless accessibility.
1. Drawers, Drawers, Drawers
Traditional kitchen layouts favor upper and lower cabinets. Today’s more open kitchens reduce the number of cabinets–especially upper cabinets–and utilize drawers to improve accessibility. This allows you to easily reach everything in the entire storage space without straining, bending, crawling, stooping, or climbing a ladder. Separators, double-level sliders, and other inserts help keep drawers neat and organized. All these features help people with limited mobility as well as people who just don’t enjoy sorting through haphazard stacks of pots and pans.
Using drawers to store your tableware can allow your children to more easily help with food preparation and tasks like setting the table. Modern designs also utilize drawers for everything from keeping food warm to expanding freezer and beverage chilling space. Improved access to both storage and functionality helps family members of all generations easily participate in making and sharing meals.
2. Lighting for Your Life
Far from the fluorescent light-drenched kitchens of old, today’s modern kitchen is bright and airy, with abundant task and ambient lighting. LED lighting technology is part of this revolution. Ribbons of tiny, bright LED lights are popular along lower toe-kicks to give your kitchen a soft nighttime glow, on the inside of glass cabinet doors to showcase your collections or heirlooms, and above cabinets or crown molding to make the ceiling seem higher and the whole room feel cozier.
LEDs come in a variety of colors, from bright and soft white to a rainbow of vibrant shades. LEDs are extremely energy efficient, lasting 50,000 hours on average (five times longer than traditional CFL bulbs). They emit virtually no heat, allowing you to keep them on forever without creating a fire hazard or scorching cabinets or walls. These lights allow you to easily perk up the mood of your kitchen as well as enhance your safety.
3. Automatically Safer Appliances
Another innovation that can help boost the safety of your kitchen is a trend towards automatic appliances. Fixtures like touchless faucets and soap dispensers allow you to more effectively prevent cross-contamination of food.
Induction cooktops are a safe alternative to gas or electric stoves. Induction cooking elements heat pots and pans using magnetic fields, so only the cookware (not the cooking surface) gets hot, reducing the risk of fire and injury. Induction cooktops can also provide quicker cook times, more precise temperature control, and greater energy efficiency than traditional stoves. They also reduce the danger of gas leaks and carbon monoxide, and help kitchens stay cooler (helping to lower energy bills). Plus, their ceramic surfaces are a breeze to keep clean.
4. Power Where You Want It
Eliminate one of the most frustrating drawbacks of many kitchens by increasing the number and location of power outlets. Running power to a central island can increase your viable workspace exponentially. Tucking strips of multiple outlets under hanging cabinets or countertops can also allow you to easily have power where you need it without dragging around appliances or interrupting your workflow.
Remote controls and “smart” controls, linked to your smartphone or touchpad, can allow you to easily turn on, turn off, and manage your appliances and lighting. This is both convenient and power-saving. Imagine preparing yourself an espresso before you even get out of bed or making sure the oven is off mid-morning from the office!
5. Kinder, Gentler Floors
Ceramic tile floors are easy to clean, but they can wreak havoc on your knees and cause fatigue if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Today’s popular alternative flooring choices, including sustainable bamboo and cork, are not only better for your body but also good for the environment. Additional built-in floor cushioning can add even more comfort in front of sinks and stoves. In cold climates, in-floor radiant heating can make winter mornings more bearable.
If you’re ready to get started on your own life-changing custom kitchen (and a beautiful custom home to surround it), contact Castle Brook custom home builders today!
Editor’s note: this article was originally published on May 31, 2016.