Cooking up a Storm: What Homeowners Really Want in Their Kitchen

January 17, 2014

Labelled as one of the most popular renovation projects, the kitchen is the heart of the home with its entertaining action and busyness. When designing the room as a focal point, homeowners want next week’s look, today, combined with open spaces, convenience, flexible colour palettes and islands – all the elements of a well-crafted kitchen. So what’s the secret? Finding the balance between style and function and reflecting a touch of innovative personality.

A recent survey with one of the most widespread home design and remodelling platforms, Houzz, finds out exactly what homeowners really want in their kitchen for 2014. Based on the opinions of more than 7,700 people, who are in the middle of, or planning, a kitchen remodel, homeowners are looking for something fashionable, fresh and compelling.

So exactly what jazzy additions are in? Whether you’re gutting the kitchen entirely and starting from scratch, building a new home or simply giving the room a refresh, we take a look at what’s cooking up a storm.

Kitchen Motivations

Previously, it has been common for homeowners to remodel their kitchens to increase home value come resale time. For 2014 however, this has come in only at no# 5 as a motivating factor. Homeowners are more focussed on renovating the kitchen around their current lifestyle instead of thinking entirely of future buyers.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

When it comes to kitchens, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Homeowners don’t mind a small kitchen – as long as there’s a feeling of space. Open-plan living is a huge trend for 2014, with 77% of homeowners wanting to design a kitchen that expands to other entertaining spaces, like the dining and living room.

Houzz’s survey has revealed that the best way to achieve this spacious feel is to add an island to the kitchen – and 61% have plans to do this. Incorporating an island into your kitchen layout adds storage, versatility, extra seating and opens up a world of opportunities.

country kitchen

Eco-Friendly Solutions and Recycled Styles 

It’s becoming progressively popular for homeowners to make their green mark, with conscious minds about decisions and eco-friendly living. For nearly 50% of those surveyed, having green appliances and materials in their kitchen is important to them.

Those that declared choosing eco-friendly products to be of a high priority are more likely to choose tile flooring, whilst all others favoured hardwood.

For tight budgets, green-minded consumers and quirky vintage styles, recycling products to use for storage and décor is a widespread trend. Not only will it get your creative juices flowing, but it adds a unique and personal touch to the home. For above the kitchen island or breakfast bar, consider using old wine boxes as pendant lights.


Conservative Schemes and Colours that Pop 

Most people are opting for colour schemes that are conservative and soft, with 75% of homeowners choosing neutral colours for their kitchen walls and décor. Although only 14% prefer bright and colourful arrangements, breaking up neutral colours with a splash of brilliance makes the room pop.

Keeping a kitchen neutral allows homeowners to personalise and reflect their own styles. But, bold colours isn’t the only way to create a little excitement – using oversized light fixtures with black fabric shades are perfect for creating depth and drama to the kitchen and work especially well with a typical low ceiling.

A solid colour is great way to make your kitchen stand out whilst keeping a flexible palette with light, classic schemes. Choose one element to highlight so you don’t overwhelm the space, such as the island, cabinets or backsplash. If your mood is forever changing, a good idea is to create a splash of colour with the light fixtures. This way you can easily change the feature when you want to try something new.

For homeowners that can’t go past the modern and versatile look of black, the culinary inspiration that the colour brings into the kitchen design is huge. The stylish trend for black appliances, such as the refrigerator or oven is emerging worldwide and tweaking it with white will help to create a high contrast style. The appeal of the black and white kitchen is one that never dies.

Adding a Little Rock to Your Roll

Rock hard stone counters are hot in the kitchen right now, with over 90% of homeowners changing their countertops. There is a love for granite surfacing as the most popular choice, favoured by 50% and quartz also dominates closely behind. For the kitchen island however, many people are opting for a mix and match to add character to the room.

A Haven for a Chef 

Laying out the kitchen to maximise prep space for cooking creates the perfect haven for a chef and adds a little commercial flair to the room. Functionality is of a high importance for homeowners with many choosing appliances that can be totally integrated into the kitchen cabinetry for an uncluttered and sleek look.  Because kitchens are constantly on display, concealing storage has become essential. Big range hoods are in, with over 50% dreaming about having a “chef’s stove”- wouldn’t that be nice!


To heighten the sense of space visually, the use of mix and match stone for backsplashes and countertops has become popular. Tiles were rated as the favoured backsplash option dominating at 50%, with glass following at a very low 15%.

Author Bio

This article is written by guest contributor Jayde Ferguson.

January 17, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Great article! I love that function is now just as important as looks when it comes to kitchens.You can have the best of both worlds. I like to cook AND have a beautiful kitchen, I’m glad that’s the new trend 🙂

January 17, 2014 at 9:04 pm

I really, really love the kitchen in the third photo! The wood is so warm!

That being said, we are just about to embark on a kitchen remodel. We have tons of wood cabinets all the way to the ceiling AND on one whole wall in the dining room area that is completely open to the kitchen. The cabinets are very reddish wood, not well-made (the doors keep breaking), and have a high gloss finish which shows every smudge and defect.

We plan to re-face the cabinets since the bases are good. As much as I love a warm wood, I’m going to switch to a warm white with an espresso glaze in the kitchen area and change the dining room cabinets completely and go pistachio green, also with an espresso glaze. I love stone, but we live out in the country with mobile homes all around us, and there’s no point in going too upscale for the neighborhood, we’ll just be throwing money away. So we’ll keep the very nice mottly beige formica. My stove and one fridge died, so I’ve got new stainless appliances, and I’m switching to propane for the stove. SO excited, as it will be so much easier to regulate temperature when I’m making cheese. The new fridge is a French door one, and I LOVE really being able to see everything in it.

Very funny you should have posted this just when we’re doing a kitchen job! I’m really glad to be able to compare our plans to your insights.

January 19, 2014 at 11:22 am

Hi Susan! Wow, seems like you are going through a big transformation in your kitchen – glad that this article from Jayde was interesting for you! I love pistachio green myself – what a wonderful choice for your dining room cabinets! So curious about fridge with a French door – I am looking at them for quite a while now. Would you share any photos once everything is done?

January 21, 2014 at 6:33 am

Very creative designs. I suppose it all comes down to the kind of layout which makes us comfortable. Ergonomics and Eco- friendliness are core values that most folks remain conscious of today and designs need to keep this in mind.



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