Lights, Counters, And Kitchen Remodeling

From top to bottom, kitchen remodeling can be the most challenging redesign for a homeowner. Whether you want a stylistic tour de force or something practical, finding the right balance between aesthetics and function can make for a kitchen that's as easy on the eyes as it is on the stomach.

Let There Be Light

Lighting, of course, is essential. Lights can serve many purposes ranging from ambient to task oriented.

As general lighting goes, a central fluorescent fixture is the most efficient and inexpensive. For a warmer feel, several incandescent domes in the ceiling can create an even distribution of light. To add ambiance, track lighting on top of high cabinets can spice things up a bit by accentuating vertical surfaces.

Task lighting can be practical over work areas such as a sink or stove. Canister lights or recessed downlights are inset and flush with the ceiling and can be placed to focus on these areas. For a more chic approach, pendant lights can be hung for the same purpose and are particularly attractive over a kitchen island.

If you're looking to add more color and decor with a touch of class, a chandelier can work as general lighting, and wall sconces can be installed for tasks or just for their beauty.

Countertops To Count On

Countertops can be more than just a canvas for creating fine cuisine. Laminate counters are the most affordable, and they can conform stylistically to any kitchen remodeling, as they come in many colors and patterns. Tile also offers an endless array of designs and hues, and it is inexpensive. Both are easy to clean but may be more susceptible to damage.

Sturdier tops can be had for a little more. Marble is attractive and durable, though it is limited in variety. Granite is strong and heat resistant while offering more color options and patterns. Though less likely to suffer damage, these surfaces require periodic resealing.

For a more traditional look, unfinished maple could be the way to go. Wood counters are fairly priced, relatively solid, and can be sanded and stained to match the decor.

For a more modern feel, stainless steel is waterproof and low maintenance. Available with custom-etched designs, these tops have little downside, which perhaps makes them most expensive.

Feet First or Floors?

Like with counters, laminate is cheap for floors and can be made to resemble wood, stone, or tile. Vinyl is easy on the feet while offering variety, and tile is the easiest to clean. While broken tiles can be replaced individually, the other surfaces require greater care. Otherwise, they may need replacing altogether.

Carpet, though comfortable and perhaps colorful, is less practical, as it can retain moisture and is prone to staining.

Hardwood flooring is sturdier than the other options while having a traditional appeal. Concrete may be dull, but it can by far be the most durable. Strategically placed throw rugs can brighten the decor on both solid surfaces while keeping the cook's feet happy.

Kitchen remodeling may offer many hard choices, but when your chandelier reflects off the shiny stainless steel countertops - or whatever configuration you choose - you'll know it was worth it.