Enrich the Kitchen: How to Add Style and Substance to Your Home’s Command Center | Seattle Times


If you’re planning big changes for your kitchen this year, it’s worth investing enough time and thinking about how you want the space to look and how you need it to function. After all, today’s kitchen isn’t just for cooking – it’s become a domestic center for gathering, working, learning and more.

“The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it’s also where people spend most of their time,” says Terence Tung, owner of Luna Kitchen and Bath, located in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood.

Houzz’s 2022 Kitchen Trends study, published this month, reports that homeowners spent an average of $40,000 on major kitchen renovations and $10,000 on minor kitchen renovations last year. . These figures represent an increase of 14% and 25%, respectively, over the previous year. Whether due to increases in labor and material costs, or layout changes and improved finishes, the numbers represent a significant investment. So it’s important to get the most versatility for your money.

“The pandemic has influenced our needs within the home, and we’re seeing it in the kitchen, which is often called the command center of the house,” says Marine Sargsyan, senior economist at Houzz, a design and renovation company. of houses. business.

An example of this, Sargsyan says, is an increase in the percentage of survey respondents who said office work is a main activity in their kitchen island: 20%, a 4% increase year on year. former.

And as the need to work on our islands increases, so do the islands themselves, says Sargsyan.

“The owners adapt [space for work]lengthening and brightening up their islands,” she says. “Almost 2 out of 5 islands are over 7 feet long.”

But accommodating work isn’t the only reason homeowners are renovating their kitchens. Cosmetic changes are a common driver, as are changes that add functionality, technology, and fuel efficiency.

Here are some kitchen trends to be aware of this year when planning your next project.


White shows few signs of ending as a perennial favorite hue in the kitchen. A generous use of white on the walls, cabinets, and backsplashes helps the room feel brighter and adds a clean feel.

Another key to white’s popularity is its versatility, Tung says. White walls can blend into a space or stand out when surrounded by darker colors, he says.

“It’s so flexible in choosing your countertop, your backsplash, the color of your walls, the light fixtures,” he says.

Tung adds that black “is getting really loud,” with black and white combinations often used in popular modern farmhouse kitchen design.

Patricia Brennan, owner of Seattle-based Patricia Brennan Architects, says she sees whites and woods as popular choices for Northwest kitchens.

“We just completed a project with a client who installed all-white glass backsplash tiles and then white countertops,” she says. “It might sound a little austere, but it’s very soothing and warm.”

Another way to add warmth to the kitchen is to use natural wood elements. “Halnut is very popular right now,” says Brennan.

If you plan to use a lot of wood in your kitchen, make your selections carefully, says Tung. “Wood on wood is sometimes a challenge,” he says. For example, “you have to have the right flooring with the right wood for the cabinet. Otherwise, they clash with each other and you won’t get that complete look.


According to the Houzz report, countertops were the most common item upgraded during kitchen renovations last year, and more than a third of respondents spent more than expected on the upgrades.

“It’s clear that homeowners are willing to spend a little more to get exactly what they want for countertops that are both beautiful and practical,” says Sargsyan.

Engineered quartz is by far the most popular material for kitchen countertops.

“Countertops have gone from stone to almost exclusively quartz or quartzite,” says Brennan. “Quartz” refers to engineered quartz, while “quartzite” is the natural stone version of the quartz product, she says.

Granite, once the darling of countertop materials, was the choice of less than a quarter of respondents in the Houzz survey.

Tung says one of the great benefits of engineered quartz is that it remains consistent in color and appearance, whereas the appearance of granite and natural stone is much harder to predict or replicate. .

This is an especially important factor in the context of current supply chain delays, Tung says, because the natural stone piece you prefer today could be gone — and impossible to match — in a matter of months. On the other hand, he says, quartz has a more consistent design from piece to piece, so there’s less urgency to buy it before you need it.

“If you find [a natural stone piece]you like, you have to buy it right away, and then where are you going to store that big slab? It’s going to be very heavy,” Tung said.


Appliances are particularly attractive to kitchen remodelers, according to the Houzz report, as half of respondents who remodeled in the last year said they replaced all of their appliances. Additionally, 27% ended up spending more than they planned.

For those looking for higher-end models, there is a range of high-tech kitchen accessories available, including wireless and smartphone controls. Refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, and dishwashers are all available with features like color touchscreens, built-in apps, and voice commands.

Many of these appliances are installed in kitchen islands for convenience and accessibility, especially microwaves, garbage disposals, and beverage refrigerators.

Stainless steel is the most popular finish choice for appliances, with three-quarters of remodelers choosing it, according to the Houzz survey. Tung calls the look of stainless steel “timeless” and adds that choosing this finish helps ensure consistency if you need to replace an appliance later. Other colors offered by manufacturers may come and go, he says.

Brennan says she’s seen a desire among her customers for durable, energy-efficient appliances, especially in the Seattle area.

“What is important to me as an architect, but which is not always indicated directly to a potential client, is [the value of]sustainability and technology, and working with low VOC and sustainable materials,” she says. “Especially in the North West, I think people are aware and care.”


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