What better time of year then fall to talk kitchens. With the weather cooling our outdoor grilling days are numbered. Not to mention the holidays are right around the corner bringing welcomed guests into our homes and undoubtedly into our kitchens. Is your kitchen the heart of your home? Are you thinking of remodeling your kitchen? Are you house shopping? Is this the year you’re going to build? Whatever your situation, here is some things to think about. Let’s talk kitchens.

Knowing yourself and what you expect out of your kitchen will help you make the important decisions when it comes to your kitchen. Need a countertop that you can chop, put a hot pot on and roll dough out on? What about baking, do you need double ovens? Maybe you have a small army to feed and a pantry is a must!

The essentials in the kitchen are obvious;  you’ll need appliances, counters, cupboards or shelving, lighting and a sink. These are the must haves in any kitchen. The choices of each of these are limitless. Here knowing your kitchen habits will help you decide what you need and of course your budget has to be considered.

Appliances; choice of color, size, efficiency, and features. For color, stainless steel is still very popular but don’t count out the white or black options. Consider your home style, a country kitchen, victorian or colonial home might look better with colored appliances or even built in appliances (where the appliance doors match the cabinetry).

Countertops come in a variety of choices. Stainless steel, stone, quartz, solid surface, laminate, wood, concrete and tile. Let’s break this down in usability. Best for placing a hot pot; stainless steel, stone (granite/marble), concrete and tile. Best for rolling dough on;  stainless steel, stone and  quartz. Best for cutting on; stone and quartz. Most expensive, depends on your choices. Least expensive is laminate.

Cupboards and or shelving. There are all kinds of ways to store your pots and pans, your grandma’s dishes, the sippy cups and silverware. Here again consider the style of home you live in. A craftsmen home looks great with mission style cabinetry, a Victorian with decorative arches and painted doors. A country kitchen might look good with some open shelving.

Kitchen lighting is important. Depending on the size of the kitchen and again, how you use your kitchen. Your options include light fixtures, pendants, under cabinet, in cabinet, over cabinet, can lights (recessed lighting) and the over the sink light.

Now, let’s talk luxuries in the kitchen. Double ovens, a pantry, a prep sink, an island, pull out shelving and soft close cupboards. When building or remodeling some of these options might appeal to you. Double ovens are great over the holidays but also during the week to keep something warm in one and while you’re baking in the other. A pantry is defined as a room or closet in which food, dishes and utensils are kept. Things to consider in the pantry is space you’re working with, roll out trays, shallow shelving (to line up food side by side vs. burying it), as well as distance between shelves. Some of those cereal boxes are quite tall. A prep sink is great if you’ve got the space. Somehow the main sink is a magnet for all those dirty dishes making it hard to wash veggies or strain noodles. An island is also an amazing addition for any kitchen. Not only will it allow more counter space, more storage and more seating space but think about bigger gatherings and the instant buffet you can set up.

The kitchen is the heart of the home. Making yours efficient, user friendly and welcoming can be achieved with all the options now available. The take away here is knowing yourself. Maybe your kitchen only needs a drawer for take out menu’s, a refrigerator and microwave . Maybe you’re a baker, enjoy entertaining and experimenting and you need a full service kitchen. Whatever the case stay true to your needs and true to the space you call home.