If the right piece of statement jewelry can make an outfit, think what adding statement design pieces can do to your kitchen. From flooring to lighting and walls to cabinetry — even your appliances, — there are more ways than ever today for homeowners to personalize their kitchens and give them the “wow” factor.
The Tile Shop, with several Connecticut locations, including Norwalk and Brookfield, uses tile to create statement areas in the kitchen. These aren’t your grandmother’s backsplashes, either. “Waterjet mosaics have become a way to incorporate pattern into backsplashes that plays off different styles, whether curvy and feminine or more geometric,” says Brandy Janke, product designer. “You can use them on a backsplash, over a sink area or a range or stovetop where you have that natural gap in cabinetry space. Art glass tiles (large-format tempered glass pieces) are another great way to add a statement. They are singular works of art on their own. It’s a way to personalize and add personality to your space with just one piece.”
Notable among tile trends today is that bigger is better. “We’re seeing a lot of large-format tiles. They have fewer grout lines and are easier to wipe down and keep clean, which is an important consideration in the kitchen,” Janke notes. “Some large-format tiles have the subtleties of texture and repeating patterns like a wallpaper. Sculptural tiles are another way to add dimension and depth in a subtle and smooth way, so it’s still easy to clean and functional.”
Many people consider changing out cabinets or replacing hardware when seeking a new look, but you can just as easily change out your appliances and no, you don’t have to buy all new appliances. You can accessorize your appliances just as easily as your wardrobe with GE’s Café Matte Collection of appliances, in which you can change out your hardware (knobs, handles, etc.) for those with different metallic finishes to give your appliances personality. Hardware finishes come in a variety of brushed tones, including stainless, black, bronze and copper.
A thoughtful interior design marries textures, patterns, finishes, and materials to create harmony throughout the home, creating a layered look that brings warmth and balance into each space.
“A great way for homeowners to accessorize their kitchen spaces is by adding beautiful metallics,” says Gretchen Black, interior designer and president of Greyhouse Designs in Louisville, Ky., which partnered with GE as a design curator for its collection of matte white and matte black appliances. “The new Café appliance line offers some gorgeous metallic finishes with its new customizable appliances. My current favorite is a matte white stove with gorgeous brushed bronze handles. It really brings a wow factor to a kitchen!”
Kathy Currie, director of design and partner at Curry and Kingston LLC in Cos Cob, echoed Black’s comments, noting that “metals, such as satin brass and polished nickel, add a touch of ‘jewelry’ to the kitchen, when integrated into the appliances, hardware, plumbing or lighting fixtures. Pattern can also add a ‘wow’ factor, when used in mosaic tiles, wallpaper, and fabrics.”
Today’s kitchens often feature neutral color palettes of whites, beiges, or grays and using natural materials, such as wood and stone, can add warmth and texture. “These neutral color schemes allow clients to add accents in hardware and accessories without clashing with the overall kitchen theme,” Currie says.
People are also looking for design solutions to declutter their kitchens and give them clean lines. “People like the idea of getting everything off the counters. If it doesn’t perform a function, we don’t want it,” says Marianne Delgado, kitchen designer for Ring’s End in Darien. She touts options such as a base utensil pull-out for cabinets that keep utensils handy, off the counters and organized neatly, instead of jumbled up in a drawer. These units are often accompanied by a knife block, adding extra clever storage.
Delgado’s clients are choosing to use more appliance garages today to reduce counter clutter. Keeping small appliances hidden behind closed doors (and not the old style of tambour doors but modern and sleek doors) offers creative storage solutions.
Kitchen lighting should not be an afterthought but an integral part of a kitchen design as lighting is the jewelry of the kitchen, adding not only sparkle to the kitchen but improving its functionality, as well. “If homeowners have a beautiful island and a beautiful backsplash but not a beautiful light fixture, which adds that extra ‘oomph’ — that little piece of jewelry over the island with a nice island pendant lighting — it kind of looks naked,” says Candace Pereira, co-owner, with Rina DiMarte, of Chloe Winston Lighting Design in South Norwalk.
Pereira likes to layer kitchen lighting. “You have your general task lighting, recessed lighting, and under cabinet lighting, which is task lighting for your countertop to highlight the backsplash and give you task lighting on the counter for cooking,” she says. Like tiles, bigger is better for lighting. “A couple years ago, clients were choosing three little tiny pendants … now a larger pendant is trending,” she says, adding that while clear glass is still very popular, they are also selling a lot of painted lanterns, which add a nice pop of color that can tie into the backsplash or wallpaper.