Prep, Eat, Play: The Perfect Modern Kitchen

Many homeowners are choosing an open-concept design to integrate their kitchen and living space

The National Kitchen and Bath Association reports the average homeowner will spend $47,308 for a kitchen renovation project. Additionally, experts say more people are likely to invest in remodeling projects this year than they have in recent years, as the economy continues to recover. 

"During the recession, a lot of what got cut were bigger-ticket discretionary items," Fred Miller, managing director of the Home Improvement Research Institute, told the Boston Globe. "If your water heater went out, you weren't going to take cold showers, but because some kitchen remodeling can be pretty pricey, many owners decided they could live with their existing kitchens for a year or two."

When it comes to kitchens, open-concept designs remain popular. These spaces allow families to integrate the kitchen with the rest of the home. The result is ideal for everyday life as well as entertaining. 

Designer Lita Dirks recently told AOL Real Estate that the perfect open-concept kitchen is flexible and casual. In order to achieve this, remodeling experts suggest creating a "prep-eat-play" triangle to maximize efficiency and ease of use. 

According to Dimensions Design Center, the perfect triangle is achieved by creating three primary work centers - refrigerator, range and sink area - that are arranged in a triangular path. Experts suggest that the edges of the triangle don't exceed 26-feet  and the path should be free from features, decorative objects and cabinetry to maximize efficiency.

While creating an open-concept kitchen may require an addition in some homes, experts say there are other ways to achieve a  more modern, comfortable feel in a room, regardless of the space available.

Transitional design
Kitchen experts say modern kitchens are a little less traditional and a little more contemporary. This means fewer elaborate details and trims, but an overall classic feel. Designers call this style "transitional."

Eco-friendly
Whether they choose more energy-efficient appliances or sustainable materials for a kitchen, more and more homeowners are choosing elements that are environmentally-conscious and safer for their families.

Another way to achieve a more eco-friendly kitchen involves installing infrared heating in order to save energy, maximize efficiency and increase the comfort of the space.

Natural color schemes
Grey is the new "it" color in home design. However, other color schemes including greens as well as classic black and white. Brighter, bold colors should be reserved for accent pieces, according to design experts.

Large islands
As kitchens are becoming bigger, many people are integrating large islands into their spaces. They not only look great, but can serve as an additional food prep area and are ideal for casual seating for family members and guests. 

Whether you opt for a total renovation or decide to commit to a few smaller projects, remember that small changes can help make your kitchen a more efficient, beautiful and comfortable space for anyone who uses it.

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