Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Calm cooking: relaxing kitchens are in

by Karl Fendelander
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Cooking should be a relaxing, almost meditative activity. When you come home from a long day at work, the cold function of wall-to-wall stainless steel isn't calming, nor is the notion that your newly remodeled kitchen cost half as much as your entire house. This might sound like common sense, but for years trophy kitchens have been all the rage. In the wake of countless cooking reality shows and a recession, America's kitchens are calming down.

According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), the average 2013 kitchen remodel costs nearly $4,000 less than what it did in 2012, declining from $51,050 to $47,308. Showing further evidence of this trend, Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report 2013 shows that the more expensive kitchen remodels have lower returns on the initial investment:

  • Minor kitchen remodel (mid range): $18,527 and 75.4 percent ROI
  • Major kitchen remodel (mid range): $53,931 and 68.9 percent ROI
  • Major kitchen remodel (upscale): $107, 406 and 59.7 percent ROI

One of the biggest mistakes people make when remodeling a kitchen is going with the latest fad, regardless of how misguided -- linoleum over hardwood floors in the 1950s or the ostentatious, outdoor Tuscan kitchen that appears surgically transplanted from an Italian villa into your American suburban home. The latest trend toward simplicity and practical function, however, is one you're less likely to regret following, whether you're looking to sell in the next few years or you just want a nice place to play chef. Specific elements trending this year include the following:

  • White cabinets. In 2011, 47 percent of kitchen remodels included white painted cabinetry. This year, more than two-thirds do. White makes things feel clean without looking austere, makes it easy to repaint in the future and brightens up the whole kitchen. Painting your cabinets is a great do-it-yourself project (or a quick, lower-cost refacing project for a contractor).
  • Gray accents. Another neutral and clean color, shades of gray jumped from being used as accent colors in 9 percent of kitchens in 2010 to 55 percent in 2013.
  • Quartz countertops. Granite was at the top of everyone's list until it turned out that it could crack and scorch from everyday use and needed to be sealed. Synthetic quartz countertops are far less expensive and far more resilient -- they're also in 80 percent of this year's kitchen remodels, according to the NKBA.

Talk to a bonded, licensed and insured* contractor like those in our network of pre-screened professionals about making your kitchen a calming place to cook and hang out; and take solace in the fact that practical and calm are totally in this year.

*See terms and conditions: http://www.streetcertified.com/about/Terms.jsp

About the Author
Karl Fendelander cut his teeth on web writing in the late nineties and has been plugged in to the newest technology and tuned in to the latest trends ever since. With an eye for design and an ear for language, Karl has created content and managed digital media for startups and established companies alike. When he unplugs, Karl can be found biking about town and hiking and climbing throughout the West.

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