We find that islands are now one of the most requested features in a kitchen. The functionality of the kitchen has changed. Modern kitchens are a gathering space for family and friends, as well as, a space to prepare and cook meals. Due to this change, the design of the kitchen had to be adjusted as well. There are so many options and possibilities when considering an island. What will its main function be? Will it have seating? Will it be a prep area? Will it house appliances? Those are important questions when designing for functionality.
However, kitchen islands are not only about usefulness, aesthetics are just as important. What style are you aiming for? Will it be a simple design or will it be more elaborate? There are endless design details that relate to this topic. Islands can have matching panels, detailed legs, intricate corbels, and many other options. The trick is to make sure that those details all match with the overall style of the space and how you plan on using it.
Those details are what make infinite possibilities for the design of any island. An island can be small, re-purposed, and easily moved, such as the island on the left, which was created using an antique dresser. It is smaller that the average cabinets and can be moved. With a slight design change, the top would be able to collapse so the seating could be moved. This would allow for more walking space around the island if needed. This island is perfect for the person who needs their space to transform on a day to day basis to best suit their needs at any given time. The photo in the middle is a larger and more permanent version of the first island. The seating is permanent, but because the space and the island itself is larger there is no need for it to transform. The photo to the right has another added component, which is a built-in appliance in the island. This is most often home to a microwave drawer, dishwasher, or under-counter oven. One thing all of these have in common is counter height seating.
In the photo above on the left there is also seating, but this is different than the previous ones. This island incorporates banquet seating, which allows normal table height and will often negate the need for a formal dining table. The island on the right has a unique feature; the counter tops cascade to the floor. This is referred to as a waterfall counter top. However, this one is unique in that the material changes from one end to the other, which is not common.
There are thousands of different combinations of design and functionality that will create the perfect island. It is only a matter of discovering what is most important to have. Function? Design? Most of the time it is a marriage of the two, which creates a happy balance.
The White Shaker Kitchen, a popular and timeless design style, however, it has become so popular that it has become static. When going with a white shaker, people tend to make more subtle design choices. This is normally because they are worried that if they make a choice that is more unique or different that it will go out of style in a few years and make their new kitchen feel dated. However, I like to tell clients that as long as they love it, it will never go out of style to them.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a simple White Shaker Kitchen. It is classic, neutral, and will never go out of style. However, the design is all about the details. A design can be enhanced tremendously by making some minor, but bold design choices. For example, switching things up and doing some contrasting cabinetry can certainly spice up an otherwise monotonous kitchen. By thinking outside the box the world of kitchen design gets much more interesting. The possibilities are endless.
By thinking outside the box, a homeowner can take an ordinary design and make it extraordinary! Contrasting cabinets is one of the easiest ways to add some flare to your kitchen. Some common ways to do this are to have a contrasting island or hood. Another way could be to have the wall cabinets and base cabinets different finishes.
This effect will bring some much needed diversity to any kitchen. This can also be done by simply changing the color of a painted door or by switching things up with a stained door to add some warmth and texture to the space. Either way, the space will pop with the added interest.
Backsplash is another area that holds serious potential. The classic 3 x 6 subway tile is a classic choice, but it has also become the safe choice! Even in the world of subway tile there are hundreds of different options that create a different look. From beveled subway tile to hand formed subway tile, the options are endless.
There are also other options out there that can spice things up a bit. One of the things missing from the average white shaker kitchen is texture. Texture can add so much visual interest to a design and break up some of the more monotonous finishes. Faux brick, for example, is a great way to bring some texture and color to a bland white kitchen. There are endless options out there for backsplash, including tile, metal, wood, stone, and more! So get creative!
Just like with back splash, there are many different options for countertops as well. Most commonly people tend to lean towards Granite and occasionally Formica, but thanks to the advances in technology there are so many different options. Quartz is now one of the most popular materials for countertops because of how durable and low-maintenance it is. Quartz has also advanced so much that it can now look similar to other less durable materials, such as marble.
In addition to the materials mentioned above, some other materials that can be used for a cooking surface include, concrete, butcher block, and stainless steel. Although these options are a bit unique that is exactly what will make a plain white kitchen stand out a bit. These options will add interest and further enhance the overall style that the homeowner is aiming for.
The ceiling is one of the most forgotten feature of any room. It is not often not even thought of as something that can be changed or designed. It is something that should always be thought of in terms of the design, but that does not necessarily mean that it always has to change. The best time to think about having a detail on the ceiling is when the space feels empty with out it. In a kitchen that has very little detail, it can turn it into something beautiful and interesting.
Ceiling details are also brilliant ways of adding texture to a space. The feature can be something that is simple and just enough to complete the look or it can be dramatic to make it a focal point of the room. For example, rustic beams on the ceiling is a rather simple look, but when paired with ship lap running perpendicular it makes a statement and adds more depth. These touches wrap up the look nicely and complete the design by adding a unique touch. Without adding some detail to the ceiling in a plain kitchen it looks somewhat unfinished.
Last, but not least, is another way to add interest into an otherwise ordinary kitchen. Open shelving is a perfect way to break up wall cabinets or to get some storage into an otherwise difficult space. They can store dishes or can be a place to house a small kitchen garden. By placing shelving in the space means that you have thought more about the overall design and style of the space instead of just following the norms. Open shelving is both functional and beautiful.
There are different ways to incorporate open shelving into any space. Floating shelves are perfect for the person who wants a very polished, clean look. Shelves with brackets are ideal for a more organic, modern approach. As far as placement goes, they can be used in a corner where it is normally very difficult to reach or they can be used in place of a standard wall cabinet. To be very bold some people will even replace all of the wall cabinets with the open shelving. Either way, the kitchen will be far from boring.
Lets face it, the White Shaker Kitchen is here to stay, but with these tips hopefully we can bring some fun twists to the tired classic! When designing your space, don’t be afraid to take some risks. They can be big or small, but as long as you love it you will never regret it; no matter how much time passes!