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Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing
 

2012 kitchen design trends: simple, comfy and eco-friendly

by Patricia Davis Brown
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

The open kitchen is the heart of today's modern home. It's a multi-purpose room where you not only cook and eat, but just as often help your kids with homework and socialize with your friends. The way we live is constantly changing, and kitchens continue to adapt.

Old World is out

Kitchens of 2012 will mirror the simpler life style of the last few years. It's about nesting: families are staying home more and looking for comfort in their home design. Instead of the heavy moldings and paneled doors seen in the Old World kitchens so popular during the past two decades, you're going to see fewer moldings and more simplicity, like slab doors of warm natural wood and eco-friendly material, such as the bamboo cabinetry shown below. Terms like "green design" are heard frequently enough now to become a standard request this year.

Bamboo slab kitchen cabinet_doors

Creativity and new materials are in

Internationally recognized kitchen designer, Mick de Giulio, author of "Kitchen Centric," thinks 2012 is going to be an exciting year for kitchen design. He says homeowners want more creativity in their kitchen designs, and their decision-making is more thoughtful."People's expectations are higher now," says Mick. "They want green design, but they are not willing to compromise looks versus function."

You can already see these demands being met by manufacturers, who are offering more options in materials like countertops, for example. Granites and marble, which are practically the only materials you have seen for a decade, are making way for countertop materials with less movement--a welcome change from the busy-patterned stone of yesteryear. Homeowners can look forward to more countertop materials in calmer finishes like quartz, glass and wood. Using more than one countertop material in a kitchen design layout has become very popular. The contrasting colors allow you to add different shapes, textures and colors to the design, creating a "wow" statement.

Combining kitchen countertops is in for 2012

Look for manufacturers such as CaesarStone, Compact Quartz and SilesStone, who offer quartz material in a full range of colors. It is virtually maintenance-free for a lifestyle that exemplifies today's "no worries" attitude.

CaesarStone and concrete combined countertops

A splash of glass for your counters can bring nature indoors: ThinkGlass offers two color choices and several patterns imprinted on the underside of their glass for the look of flowing water and bubbles. You can see a picture gallery of their selections on their website.

Glass countertops are a trend for 2012

Wood countertops can provide texture and warmth while striking a perfect balance to the smooth finishes in these transitional designs. Wood works well for a seating area or in a prep area, and it's easy on your knives. Forget the bad rap you've heard about wood: a study done at the University of Wisconsin showed wood counters harbor less bacteria than stone or solid surface tops.

Wood kitchen countertops are a trend for 2012

Saving energy and the environment are in

Environmentally-conscious homeowners are asking for ways to avoid ecological wastefulness and be more energy-efficient. One of the best ways is to effectively light your kitchen workspace. Work with a professional lighting designer who can help you with all the latest technology in fixtures. A great way you can improve energy efficiency and realize savings in your kitchen is to start by using compact florescent bulbs. They last ten times longer than standard incandescent bulbs, use two-thirds less energy and provide the same amount of light output. CFL bulbs generate 70 percent less heat--and that can reduce energy costs associated with cooling your home. Finding ways to save money is a trend that continues to be in style.

Kitchen trends in 2012: CFLs for energy savings

Your 2012 kitchen design plans will be in vogue if you keep it simple, energy-efficient, and comfort-oriented. De-clutter, go natural, lighten up and make it work for you and your household.



About the Author

Interior designer Patricia Davis Brown specializes in kitchen and bath renovations, and is the owner of Patricia Davis Brown Designs. Brown's work has garnered 15 national and several state awards and been recognized in numerous national publications over her 26 years in the design industry. In 2010, she took her mastery of space planning and design national by launching a virtual design company, ProfessionalKitcheandBathPlans.com and her online store PDBhomestore.com. If you want to know more about Patricia, visit her flagship site, www.patriciadavisbrowndesigns.com.





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