Thinking about remodeling your kitchen? The current kitchen design trend is creating a streamlined, bright, and open space.

One of the most important things to focus on when remodeling is providing adequate lighting. Use a mix of fixtures to layer different types of light – from ambient, to task and accent lights, to dining and mood lighting. Recessed ceiling fixtures provide the best overall light, while chandeliers or pendants work well for islands and dining areas. For work areas in the kitchen, under-cabinet task lights are popular choices. Make sure to offset the reflection of these lights onto the countertop by using fixtures with diffusers or frosted glass. Also consider incorporating skylights, which add brightness and create a feeling of spaciousness.

Islands are practically a must-have these days – but make sure you choose one carefully. Allow sufficient space on all sides of the island, enough so that you can open cabinet doors and still have room to spare. Reserve most of the island’s space for seating, allowing enough room for three to four people to sit and dine comfortably. Also, do not try and cram multiple appliances onto the island. Incorporate either a sink or a stove, but definitely not both. This allows for more dining and conversational space.

Create enough storage so that countertops can remain wide-open and clear of clutter. We all know that frustrating feeling of taking a 400* pan out of the oven and having nowhere to put it down. Consider adding item-specific storage, such as a spices drawer near the stove, or a cabinet with cookie-sheet dividers installed. Proper storage and clear countertops completely opens up the kitchen, making it look bigger and more organized.

Another big kitchen trend is adding wood elements. Wooden countertops, wood cabinets, and wood flooring all soften the overall look to the kitchen. Choose one of these to add warmth and give off a homey vibe. Try contrasting light countertops with dark brown cabinets, or use wooden beams or rafters on the ceiling to add dimension.

If you are doing small updates to your kitchen, try re-facing your cabinets. This is a quick and inexpensive way to give your entire kitchen a new and fresh look. Keep the cabinet boxes and frames intact, while replacing the doors and drawer fronts. You can paint or stain the drawers, add new hardware for the hinges and knobs, or polish old and faded wood.

Finally, think smarter. Today’s average person wants efficiency and effectiveness. Consider installing an induction stovetop – they provide more consistent heat than gas stoves, augmenting the cooking process, and saving energy in the process. Also look into motion-sensors for faucets.It is more sanitary to wash up by simply running your hand under the faucet, rather than touching knobs or levers. Think healthy – steam ovens are becoming more and more popular, as they provide a more efficient, and healthier, style of cooking.

Sources: ZillowBlog, BobVila, IRepairHome