Make Your Kitchen more Efficient and Stylish with These Kitchen Design Ideas

It’s the hub of the house and the space most often upgraded or refreshed: The kitchen. Improvements in technology and materials have expanded the options for new kitchen design ideas, whether you are considering an upgrade or a complete renovation. From functional details to the newest appliances, stylish choices abound to help make the kitchen more comfortable and efficient.

A Standout Kitchen Island

Just about every kitchen can benefit from an island because it provides space for food preparation, cooking and entertaining. It is the focal point of a kitchen and the rest of the space revolves around it. Gone are the days when it was just a set of cabinets topped with a counter. Today’s islands can feature seating, cooking units, the sink, retractable venting and a host of other options to ramp up the functionality of the kitchen. Most of all, a modern kitchen island is very stylish and made from the latest materials that are beautiful, durable and easy to care for — no matter what the decor style.

For a modern space, this concrete island is a marvelous kitchen design idea because it features drawers for storage, a sink with low profile hardware, and an induction cooktop that is integrated into the surface of the island. It’s a sleek look that has a bit of an industrial edge thanks to the material. It is a versatile kitchen idea that could be incorporated into an existing design.

The concrete finish is modern yet earthy and the induction technology is cutting-edge.View in gallery
The concrete finish is modern yet earthy and the induction technology is cutting-edge.

Innovative Kitchen Lighting

Ceiling lights or pendants above the island are standard choices for this hard-working space. New alternatives for kitchen design ideas when it comes to lighting are moving from up above to lower, functional areas of the space. This Bauformat design features lighting under the edge of the counter that casts light into the drawers when opened. This a great feature that makes it easy to find needed items. No more digging around in dark drawers, searching for a specific tool.

The light under the countertop edge makes the top seem to float.View in gallery
The light under the countertop edge makes the top seem to float.

Lighting under cabinetry is one of the best things to add to a workspace because of the directed illumination it provides. This great kitchen design idea is integrated under-shelf lighting from Cabinet Lab. The custom design integrates the lighting strip into the wood, making it as much a design feature as a functional addition. The light makes a geometric design that is a modern visual touch.

This kitchen design idea is a visually pleasing way to add light to a dark corner.View in gallery
This kitchen design idea is a visually pleasing way to add light to a dark corner.

Attractive Wine Storage

First we had the small under-counter wine refrigerators that were all the rage. Since then, wine storage as become more sophisticated — and much more attractive. Rather than just an appliance hidden under the counter, wine lovers can now display their favorite vintages in an attractive system that becomes an integral part of the design. This distinctive wine storage tower from Biefbi features interior lighting that highlights the bottles and the way they are placed, along with the glasses that can hang on the pegs. It’s a perfect way to feature wines that need to be stored at room temperature, as well as some glasses that are at the ready when guests arrive.

A stylish, integrated wine tower is among the more striking kitchen design ideas.View in gallery
A stylish, integrated wine tower is among the more striking kitchen design ideas.

The Latest Technology

If there is any room in the house where the latest technology can shine, it is in the kitchen. New capabilities for long-standing kitchen necessities are opening up an array of design options. From cooking to cleaning and other kitchen chores, technology is making them easier to accomplish and with more style. Even the kitchen sink is benefitting from new technology. This chic kitchen faucet from Blanco features touchless technology that allows you to turn on and off the water using a motion sensor. No more touching the faucet to wash your hands after slicing up raw chicken — just wave your hands in front of the sensor. Best of all, if that is too much technology for you, the design is also available as a standard faucet.

Kitchen sanitation is better with a touchless faucet.View in gallery
Kitchen sanitation is better with a touchless faucet.

Ventilation is another area of kitchen tech that has seen big changes. Not all venting has to come down from the ceiling. New, modern kitchen vents like this one from Jenn-Air are retractable, disappearing into the countertop when you aren’t cooking. This one also has integrated illumination, which improves visibility for working at the cooktop. This style of vent is an excellent kitchen design idea when the goal is a sleek or minimalist space with few protrusions or appliances to break up the sightlines.

Today's sleek cooktops pair well with retractable vent hoods.View in gallery
Today’s sleek cooktops pair well with retractable vent hoods.

Colorful Options

Gone are the days when appliances were only available as black, white or stainless steel to fit into a mandatory neutral kitchen palette. Today’s newest appliances and cabinetry come in a host of hues to enliven your kitchen and bring life to this heavily used space. Here, BlueStar has created a spectacularly eye-catching design that is meant to evoke the Pacific Northwest with its red oven units and rich green cabinetry. Combined with chic copper-colored hardware and a dramatic, riveted hood, the colorful combination is classy and definitely not cheesy. It is a kitchen design idea that is warm and homey — perfect for a fun family space.

Kitchens increasingly use color to display a homeowner's unique personality.View in gallery
Kitchens increasingly use color to display a homeowner’s unique personality.

In addition to changes on the outside of appliances, such an array of bright hue options, the inside of today’s appliances is evolving technologically as well. New functions and configurations make them easier and more convenient to use. A French-door refrigerator from Miele has plenty of room on the shelves, as well as in the door. Moreover, this style accommodates long platters and sheet pans, which is not always possible in side-by-side refrigerator models. Adjustable shelving in the door also makes it easier to fit taller containers in the shelving when necessary.

New refrigerator technology is more efficient as well as user-friendly.View in gallery
New refrigerator technology is more efficient as well as user-friendly.

Specialty Appliances

The choices for kitchen appliances have grown far beyond the standard stove, oven and dishwasher. Today’s cook can choose from a variety of special appliances that fit his or her particular cooking style. Just about every cooking surface or appliance imaginable can be incorporated into kitchen design ideas. A fun kitchen from Monogram of Canada features the company’s built-in wall pizza oven that has its own integrated ventilation system. No more take-out because pizza lovers can get professional results at home!

This pizza oven makes pizza as good as the pizza parlor.View in gallery
This pizza oven makes pizza as good as the pizza parlor.

Another item you won’t have to go out for is a morning capuccino or afternoon latte. Most kitchen appliance companies have introduced a home coffee machine that makes the local barista obsolete. This model from Thermador has a touch-screen that allows you to program a variety of favorite drinks. And, you can serve everyone’s favorite coffee beverage with ease at the next dinner party. These appliances also have functions that make them easy to refill and to clean.

Built-in coffee machines are perfect additions for coffee lovers.View in gallery
Built-in coffee machines are perfect additions for coffee lovers.

Amateur chefs can also create a cooktop that has all their favorite cooking surfaces and appliances. A customizable countertop cooking area from Wolf has different units that can be built in. Whether you want a grill, deep fryer, gas burner or teppanyaki surface, they can be mixed and match in an island or countertop. It makes producing great meals very easy when specialty appliances are at your fingertips.

A customizable array makes cooking a breeze.View in gallery
A customizable array makes cooking a breeze.

Easy to Clean Sink Designs

Even the kitchen sink is getting style and technology upgrades that are new kitchen design ideas. New materials make it easy to have a fully integrated sink with no seams. This makes cleaning a very easy task when all you have to do is wipe the surface. These materials also let homeowners customize the sink area with regard to sink size and depth, as well as number and placement. You can’t have a kitchen without a skin, but that doesn’t mean you are limited to porcelain or stainless steel. It’s a far wider field of options these days and many are exceptionally modern and stylish, like this one from Scavolini. Actually, the material here is a textured porcelain surface that is easy care, and does not resemble traditional porcelain in the least.

New materials and integrated sinks easily update a kitchen space.View in gallery
New materials and integrated sinks easily update a kitchen space.

Any one of these new kitchen design ideas will upgrade the space and bring it in line with what today’s designers and technologies have to offer. These elements make a kitchen more stylish as well as functional. As with most one remodels or upgrades, adding one of these kitchen elements will make you ask yourself “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”