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Ask anyone to name the most important rooms in a home.  Chances are, the kitchen will be on every list.  You might be purchasing a home that’s new construction or about to undertake a major remodeling project.  In either case, you’ll want a kitchen that meets your needs and that also contributes to the resale value of your home.  This means designing a space that’s both timeless and flexible.  Here are six elements that earmark a classic kitchen.

Cabinet Wizardry

Cabinets as design elements are important because they provide a mixture of aesthetics and practicality in a kitchen.  Shaker-front cabinets go well with almost any style of architecture thanks to minimal decorative touches. This translates into a clean, streamlined appearance.  For a timeless cabinet look, consider avoiding cabinets with a wood stain in favor of white, black, or natural paint tones.  Adding a bit of bold color might be the perfect expression of personal style and is easy to change in the future.  However, wood stain preferences come and go and can eventually make a kitchen look dated.

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Signature Lighting

Many homeowners choose light fixtures exclusively on how they expect them to illuminate various parts of a kitchen.  However, lighting is also a distinctive decorative piece .  A chandelier over the table in an eat-in kitchen might be a lovely eye catcher.  Another opportunity to show personal style is placing a light fixture over a kitchen island.  Classic lighting pieces will pay for themselves at resale and still look current after years of use.  Lantern styles have a timeless appeal and are available in a number of sizes, finishes, and price ranges.  Consulting with a design professional is often a good idea to avoid purchasing the wrong size lights or incorrect lighting placement.

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Classic Countertops

The focal point of a kitchen is often its countertops.  If there’s one word that describes timeless countertops, it’s marble.  Both sophisticated and elegant, it creates an Old World ambience and is one of the most common upgrades to add luxury to any home.  Both white and gray, with soft or dramatic veining, are classic and tasteful.  The investment in marble is well worth the return when resale is on the horizon.  Although marble requires a bit of maintenance and is somewhat easy to stain, most homeowners and prospective buyers can’t resist its look and appeal.

Neutral Mixes

The classic kitchen is not necessarily all white or even black and white.  Mixing in some neutral tones yields a timeless look that appeals to a variety of style preferences.  How can do you that?  Mix and match palettes and tones on the main kitchen design elements:  cabinets, islands, and tile.  Even the shade of grout you choose affects the final look.

Simple Architectural Points

The hallmark of a classic kitchen look is keeping architectural details simple.  While homeowners often opt for a few items like a paneled hood, architectural add-ons such as crown molding, legs on an island, and furniture-style toekicks should be sparse for a timeless look.

Design Flexibility

A kitchen can undergo a number of changes over the years and still be appealing when it’s time to sell a home.  Design flexibility is important because it allows homeowners to avoid boredom while maintaining maximum resale value.  Imagine, for example, keeping the same counters for years but adding updated barstools.  An eclectic touch created by installing some contemporary tile is a way for an owner to enjoy a bit of a different look.  Another is simply changing the table and chairs in an eat-in kitchen.

A timeless kitchen design is an expression of a homeowner’s personal style.  Since it can boost the resale value of a home, it also represents a significant investment.  To make sure your kitchen is still appealing 10 years from now, avoid design fads and stick with classic elements .  Your only limit is your imagination.  Need some ideas to achieve the look you want?  Consider asking your local real estate professional for some help.

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