It is not everyday that you renovate your kitchen, and so when you do in fact embark on a renovation you should be aware of some new features that your kitchen MUST have! These features are by no means the only things you should try to integrate into your new kitchen design, but they should be seriously considered by every homeowner out there.
1) Large Format Tile
Although some homeowners opt for hardwood flooring in their kitchen (which can be a good choice, depending on the circumstances), the other option, if doing a full scale demolition and remodel, is opting for a brand new tiled kitchen floor. A large format tile is defined by the TCNA (Tile Council of North America) as a tile which has a length of greater than 15 inches on any one side. Today, you might find that 18x18 and 12x24 and even 24x24 tiles are the norm. These tiles are much larger than the common 12x12 square floor tiles you may be used to seeing in many homes that have not been recently renovated or updated. Sometimes, when people renovate their kitchens, they may choose to keep an old tile floor and only install new cabinetry and countertops with the objective of achieving a cosmetic update on a tight budget. While this may initially be perceived as a way of saving money, at least in the planning phases of the renovation project, any good general contractor will forewarn you of the regret that you may harbor after the project is completed. This is because great looking, highly functional kitchens are designed as a full package, and your modern dark maple stained cabinets with new island and LED pendant lighting that seemed great as a concept is now held back thanks to those old ceramic floor tiles with wide, dark, and weathered grout joints.
The bottom line: Do consider going with new tile flooring at the outset of your project, especially if the existing tile is older and smaller. The boost in overall appearance and value will be well worth it, and the cost and aggravation will be lower than trying to install a new tiled floor after the renovation is completed and you change your mind.
2) Pot Filler
Are you used to dragging large pots to the kitchen sink for a fill-up only to dread having to lug that heavy thing back onto the stove top? You are not alone. Having a pot filler that folds out and fills up your pots on the stove is a great way of saving your back while adding big-league value to the kitchen. A tremendous way of improving your kitchen design is by adding something that most other people would not even think of; in this case, it would be a pot filler! The styles of pot fillers are nearly endless, and you can certainly match your pot filler to your new kitchen faucet (most faucet manufacturers will have collections which are designed to match and help you coordinate finishes for a more professional and cohesive appearance).
3) Recessed LED Lighting
Incandescent lighting is old, tired, and inefficient. Although you may have grown used to the warm yellow glow of your old light fixtures, recessed LED lighting can give you a number of big-impact benefits:
- Recessed LED pot lights can be purchased in cooler colour temperatures, giving your kitchen a cooler and more modern look. Even if you select a colour temperature of around 3000k, which is designed to replicate daylight, you will notice a significant change from incandescent light fixtures.
- Undercounter LED lighting can serve to highlight a well designed backsplash and quartz or granite countertop. Not only is undercounter LED lighting a great design feature, it is also highly functional: You can easily see what you're doing with the added benefit of this type of lighting being indirect (easy on the eyes).
4) Tiled Backsplash
Going with painted drywall for the backsplash is both outdated and unecessary. There is a vast selection of different tile and mosaic materials that you can acquire to make your new kitchen backsplash truly one of a kind. There is also no reason why you cannot combine and contrast a number of different materials to create a truly unique look. For example, rather than simply choosing a plain subway tile backsplash, you could integrate a mosaic strip to break up the look and match colours elsewhere in the room. You could also use travertine or marble to create a special border containing an intricate pattern just above your stovetop and below the range hood. The limitations here are only what you can imagine!
P.S. Going with a tiled backsplash also means that you can avoid the monotonous look of having a huge slab of granite as your backsplash - you already used that on your countertop! Try going with something different to add style to your space.
5) Urethane or Single-Component Floor Grout
I cannot tell you how many times I have entered a kitchen with a tiled floor and seen filthy floor grout. This is never the fault of the homeowner, though. Sanded cement based grout is the standard for residential floor applications. It is strong, cost effective, durable, and easy to use. However, in your particular application, there might be a more valuable approach to grouting your floor, which I will explain below.
Firstly, if you select a bright floor tile, you will probably want a grout that matches closely to this to keep the flooring looking as seamless as possible. While this is a great idea and highly recommended, you should also keep in mind that kitchens are the heart of your home, and high traffic areas. Plenty of people walk through the kitchen on a daily basis, and there will often be unavoidable spills and accidents that involve dirt and liquids getting on the floor. A standard cement based grout is porous, which means that it will absorb liquids and dirt much, much easier than a non porous grout (such as urethane or epoxy grout). This means that grout becomes a maintenance issue over time that most people don't want to have to deal with in their busy day to day lives.
In comes single component grout: This grout is designed for spaces where you want to achieve a colour uniform and maintenance free surface. This grout is non porous, meaning that it will not absorb liquids, making for an easier to maintain surface over the life of your kitchen. It is also colour consistent, meaning that it does not have the tendency to dry to a different or lighter colour after the floor has been grouted (this can be an issue with plank tiles, where the homeowner wishes to replicate the look of hardwood in their kitchen with the durability of tile, only to have grout joints that don't properly blend in. This is unfortunately one of the downfalls of sanded grout, whereby the colour of the cured product appears significantly different than the sample on the bag; this can even occur in cases where the grout is mixed properly and according to manufacturer's specifications.
In short: Contact your general contractor about your grouting options if you are going with a new tiled floor in your kitchen. They should be able to present to you the various options available, as well as the costs, drawbacks, and benefits of each.