If there’s one room that’s prime for a splurge it’s the kitchen. Adding elements that turn your kitchen into a hub of luxury yields a daily pay-off because it is the most used living space in the home. Moreover, when it’s time to sell, kitchen improvements generally earn the biggest returns. When investing in upgrades, these days it is possible to create a custom kitchen that is the epitome of luxury thanks to the new technology and materials that are available. According to designers and builders, these are some of the most desirable ways to turn your kitchen into the family’s high-end haven.
Add a Stunning Backsplash
Yes, backsplashes have an important function but aesthetically, they add great drama to a kitchen. Forget the typical mosaics and subway tile and look for something different that expresses the style of your kitchen as well as your personality. Large format tile designs, like the one in the Officine Gullo kitchen below, unexpected materials and patterned or engraved tiles make a huge difference. The luxury feeling comes from having something that’s striking. Traditionally, a backsplash was all about function — keeping the area around the stove easy to clean — but now it has become a major design element. This example of a designer backsplash helps define the work area, carries through the design flair of the cabinetry and range, and the central design provides a focal point.
Install a Touchless Faucet
Long gone are the days where the kitchen faucet had a tap and a separate little sprayer. Today’s fixtures combine those elements into one sleek pull-out, and now it can even include touchless technology. No more having to touch the faucet when your hands are covered in raw chicken or household grime. The motion-activated sensor in the tap turns the water on and off with just a wave. It’s far more convenient and sanitary than the usual type of faucet and is a high-end upgrade to any kitchen.
Go for More Drawers
Along with more drawers, discriminating homeowners are opting for increasingly organized drawers as well. Even regular cabinets now open to reveal pull out shelves that are much like drawers because they are more functional and easier to use than large, open cabinets. New designs incorporate LED lighting that illuminates the contents, making it quick to find needed tools. Better sectioning and specialized storage for things like knives and cutlery are also becoming commonplace. Getting cooking utensils off the counter and into highly organized drawers helps keep the space clutter-free, sleek and chic.
Choose Luxury Lighting
A functional kitchen needs a variety of lighting for workspaces, dining areas and other functions. While some will be unobtrusive and purely functional, the lighting you choose to hang over your kitchen island or dining table makes a tremendous impact on the entire space. Choosing a fixture that complements the design and conveys a dramatic, special feeling is key to a luxury kitchen. Whether you opt for multiple pendants or a single, large statement fixture that is suspended over the table or island, comes down to personal preference. Whichever you choose, the materials and the overall look are important in making the kitchen appear luxurious. LED lighting has given designers a while new range of possibilities for creative lighting fixtures and it would be hard to find a wide variety of styles. The hard part will be choosing just one.
Jazz up the Ceiling
Called the fifth wall by designers, ceilings are beginning to assume a more prominent role in home decor schemes and are a great way to instill a sense of luxury in a kitchen. Adding a tray or coffered ceiling is a wonderful technique for adding dimension and detail in a sophisticated way. This kitchen has a round tray in the middle that is accented by crown molding. Speaking of molding, it is another method for highlighting a ceiling. A plain ceiling can be made special with the addition of molding around the sides, adding another layer of interest to the room. How ornate the molding is will be driven by the style of the kitchen: The less detail, the more modern the look.
Luxury kitchens usually have all the appliances, both large and small, that make cooking a pleasure, but that doesn’t mean they need to be on display all the time. In fact, “hidden” kitchens have been in vogue for a number of years in high end homes. The trend is still popular and the look is being adapted to different decorating styles. While it originated in the sleek, minimalist designs of modern homes, more contemporary configurations like this one from Marchi are also using the concept to camouflage all the small appliances, as well as some of the major ones. Hidden behind the coordinated wall of cabinetry are things like state-of-the art coffee stations and small appliances. Other cabinets hide refrigeration units and freezers, as well as wine collections. How much you leave out in the open is entirely up to you. Accent shelving breaks up the expanse of cabinetry and allows room for displaying small niche items or accessories.
Customize Your Cooking
“Custom” for a kitchen has taken on a whole new meaning when it comes to cooking. Not only can you choose from among ranges, ovens and cooktops, but now you can choose specialty components to configure the cooking station that best fits your family’s lifestyle. Love french fries? How about a built-in deep fryer. Or, perhaps you prefer to cook teppanyaki or have a grill unit. In addition to your cooktop, you can choose only the components that you want, as in this Thermador kitchen. These individual options mean that you can have only the cooking units you want, and don’t have to buy a plethora small appliances.
Clear the Counters
One thing is for sure: No luxury kitchen is cluttered. When not cooking, organization is critical for stowing away tools, accessories and food. The major elements of the kitchen that you have invested in will never shine as they should if they are surrounded by too much stuff. This Biefbi kitchen is a good example. Clear counters and a few well chosen accessories help elevate the look of the kitchen. When designing, remodeling or refreshing a kitchen — even if you don’t have luxury in mind — the old adage of “A place for everything and everything in its place” rings true. If you can’t ditch the clutter, the space will never have a sense of luxury.
Add a Culinary Preservation Center
Customization has also entered the realm of the refrigerator. These workhorse appliances have also moved up the style ladder to now be called culinary preservation centers. What makes these different is the fact that you can choose among many elements for preserving food. It’s possible to combine an array of refrigerator and freezer units with wine storage, creating a center that fits your lifestyle. Those who entertain may want a separate drinks fridge in addition to a wine tower. Perhaps you need only a little freezer space, but need additional refrigeration. French door refrigerators like this one from Miele allow for large pans and serving platters. Even inside the units, some have special drawers and tilt-out bins for delicate herbs and fruits. All of these options let you create the preservation center that works best for you.
Mix the Materials
When it comes to materials in the kitchen, mixing them up is the modern way. No longer do all the cupboards or all of the countertops in the kitchen have to match. In fact, many high-end kitchens are mixing wood with stone, with engineered materials or stainless steel. And, speaking of metals, you can mix those too. This trend allows you to create a unique look that combines all the things you like, plus it yields a warmer feel than when everything matches. Ar Tre Cucina has mixed lower wooden cabinetry with white upper units. The design carries the wood onto part of the surface of the island, while the rest is done with an engineered material. Moreover, the lighting fixture has two metallic finishes while the faucet is done in chrome. The disparate materials all come together in a design-forward kitchen that is full of luxury elements.
Upgrade the Range Hood
Another kitchen feature that can easily be swapped out for a more luxurious version is the range hood. An amazing array of options exists for hoods, depending on the look of your kitchen. Below is a massive industrial style hood from Marchi, which really makes a statement over the modern yet industrial cook top and cabinets. If your kitchen style is glamorous, you can find custom hoods studded with Swarovski crystals and thin, sleek models that hug the wall for smaller, more minimalist kitchens. Even the traditional chef’s style hood that dominates a cooking space now has additional features that can bring it from mundane to marvelous thanks to new materials and special detailing. The main thing is not to assume you have to install a traditionally shaped, colored or styled kitchen ventilation hood. Don’t like the look of a hood? You can also opt to install ventilation units that silently descend out of sight into the countertop when not in use.
Choose Distinctive Stools
Lots of people give little thought to bar stools, but in a luxury kitchen, these can have the same effect as designer chairs in a living room. For the most impact, choose a style that incorporates a distinctive factor of some kind. It could be stand-out legs, a luxuriously cushy seat with a back, or a funky design that is really eye-catching. These bars stools from Nick Alain are a little bit steampunk, a little industrial and generally very swanky. The detailing of the seat support, combined with the unusual leg construction, makes an interesting combination that is an excellent match for the mixed material table. Even next to a sleek stone island, these stools would have dramatic impact.
Install Handsome Hardware
The devil is in the details, as they say, and this is particularly true when it comes to luxury kitchens. It can be the little things that elevate a space to a more refined look. Tasteful hardware for your cupboards and drawers is a must for a luxury feel. The knobs and pulls you get from the home store are unlikely to convey a luxury feeling. Instead, opt for hardware that is a little bit different, perhaps larger than normal for some cabinetry, and made from quality materials. You don’t have to go the custom route to find gorgeous knobs and pulls. Many high-end hardware designers have a large array of choices that are ideal for a extraordinary kitchen, like these samples from Lisa Jarvis.
From small changes like hardware and stools, to larger projects like new refrigeration and surfaces, there are myriad ways to turn your kitchen into a hub of luxury. This is one space where it’s more than looks that count. Elements that make kitchen work easier and more pleasant are the true contributions to luxury.