To Mix or Match in the Kitchen?

When you look through interior design magazines for remodeling ideas, there are a lot of different approaches to update your kitchen. Some of them completely contradict one another — on one page, everything will match, while on the next, there are contrasting colors and styles everywhere.

With so many opinions, it can be hard to decide on a design theme for your home. It’s an important choice, too, as renovating will not only be an investment but will affect the place where you will live and shape your memories. Different designers and professionals can offer advice on what is trending, and it may make your head spin — to match flooring and cabinets or not? Colored backsplash? Dark floors or light?

The good news is that it’s completely up to you! No one has more important vote in the remodeling process than the people who live in the home. However, a professional can help answer questions and help you determine what might be the best choice for you.

Mix and match trending

One of the emerging trends features colorful accents and mixed cabinets and flooring. More homeowners are moving away from the traditional wood and color coordination of the 1990s and early 2000s and choosing contrasting shapes, woods and paints for their kitchen spaces. Everyone has been in a kitchen with too much of one color or texture, where everything starts to blend together. Just like in a painting, if the featured items blend right into the background, everything can drive the eye away and make for an unappealing look.

Cabinetry goes through trends just like flooring, and there are a lot of options, such as stained wood cabinetry or bright paint, smooth doors or beveled carving, fancy handles or none at all. But one rising trend in homes is the natural look, with stained woods and textures. Contrasting design elements can add depth to your space — for example, a dark wood floor with light cabinets and black appliances can really stand out. While it may not be practical to replace all the elements of your kitchen in one fell swoop, thinking about the elements you do want to renovate in relation to the existing parts of your room will help create a striking room.

It’s important to make sure the cabinetry and floor still work together — not all contrasting wood species or colors complement one another. If you opt for wood flooring in a kitchen, we will recommend it be three shades lighter or darker than your cabinetry to help your design stand out.

Hardwood in the kitchen

Unlike other rooms in your house, your kitchen will likely get traffic every day, multiple times per day. Though hardwood floors can be done in the kitchen and will look beautiful, there are some technical considerations when you’re choosing them.

For one, because of the traffic and use, you’ll want a dense, hard wood species for the kitchen flooring. Softer wood species may be more sensitive to water damage and stain wearing away. That doesn’t necessarily limit your staining options for color in the overall look, but a professional will help you choose a wood type based on your kitchen design and the type of use it gets.

Finishing with a surface polyurethane is also very important in a kitchen, as there’s likely to be water damage and washing in the future. If water makes it below a finish through minute gaps in the floor, it could lead to serious damage over time and leave you with an expensive problem. Keeping floors clean — wiping up spilled water immediately and sweeping often — can also help prolong the life of wood floors in kitchens.

Kitchens: Function and feature

Kitchens are complicated spaces that also have to be functional — not only do they have to look beautiful, they also have to let you efficiently cook Thanksgiving dinner. They have a lot of elements that can be subtly designed to be beautiful without cluttering your space. For instance, designed or contrasting color backsplashes can also add a pop to the space without taking up more room.

Floors are not always the most noticed design item, but if done right, they’ll tie a room together perfectly. Though matching can provide continuity, contrasting floors will help the existing elements of your kitchen to stand out. Color, texture and tone all play into the design choices you and a designer will work on for your kitchen.

On the other end of the spectrum, too much contrast could lead to tired eyes in your kitchen. If you have busy cabinets with a lot of color or textual feature, a softer texture and darker color in your floor might help the visuals round out. The same is true the other way if the cabinets are a solid, muted color: a more vivacious texture in the floor might help your room pop and look livelier.

Choosing flooring for your kitchen doesn’t have to be an intimidating process — after all, it’s ultimately up to you! Asking a professional can help you achieve your design goals and leave you satisfied with a kitchen you and your guests will love both to look at and to cook in.