Renovating your kitchen is a great way to add style, function and appeal to the most used room in the home. 1 The big three are still big Granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors have always been favorites for a trendy kitchen. We’re seeing a little more quartz and even soapstone for countertops, but the classic looks are still in right now. 2 Two-tone cabinets Mixing materials such as wood and glass or mixing wood styles and stains can achieve this effect and we’re getting customers asking for it more and more. You can also think about having the cabinets and island be different types of materials. 3 Going green One of the easiest ways to help the environment is by using Energy Star appliances. More people this year will choose a “green kitchen” featuring sustainable products, such as concrete counters, bamboo floors, recycled wood and recycled glass. Some of these products are still a little higher in price, which might keep them out of the mainstream. 4 Maximum dining and prep space Island/peninsula combinations, dual islands and tiered islands leave plenty of room in the kitchen for meal preparation, storage and dining, and are still very popular. Tables and pullout cutting boards are also great space savers. 5 Functional storage-space Kitchen storage is an important issue. Pullouts make it easy to organize your pots, pans, dishes and bake ware. A pullout pantry is a great way to organize your dry and canned goods. You can keep all of your utensils in place by organizing them neatly in kitchen drawers. 6 Convenient and “niche” appliances There’s an appliance for almost any task these days: small refrigerators, drawer dishwashers, wine coolers, beverage coolers, trash compactors, and warming drawers accompany the traditional oven and microwave combos. Many of these are made to fit under the counter and are a great way to add functionality to your kitchen without creating clutter. Consider a universal design when you choose your kitchen appliances and install them where they can be accessed easily by everyone. 7 A splash with a backsplash The purpose of a backsplash is to protect your kitchen walls from water, oil and other elements. However, it may also be used to give your kitchen a more elegant, decorative look. The higher they are the better (within reason, of course). Glass tiles, especially the ones that come from recycled glass, are becoming more and more popular in the kitchen this year for easy-to-clean backsplashes behind stove and sink areas. In addition, backsplashes are also commonly made from solid surface materials, metal, laminate and porcelain tiles. No matter if your kitchen design is traditional, country, modern, eclectic, cottage or Tuscan, you should be able to create a backsplash that perfectly accentuates your own personal style. 8 Crown molding When you add crown molding to your kitchen, it will give a more finished look to your cabinetry. In addition, it will also add a little more architectural appeal to your space. There are a number of types of crown molding from which you can choose for your kitchen remodeling project, including Dentil, Ogee and Rosevine. The type of crown molding that you choose should depend on the style of your home and the way the crown molding conforms to your specific kitchen. 9 Combine kitchen and dining rooms: OK, I’m going out on a limb with this one, but I’m finding that for many people in this day of downsizing that one of the least frequently used areas in most homes is the formal dining room. Take a look at your floor plan. If possible, you may want to consider tearing down a wall separating your kitchen from the dining room. This will open up your kitchen space and make your home more functional. An extended space will make it possible to add additional storage space or even add an office area. 10 Lighting under the cabinets: Compact florescent and LED lights are incredibly energy efficient and easy to install under the cabinets in your kitchen to brighten the room and illuminate workspace.