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Gathering season is almost here, but those who love to entertain year-round know the enduring importance of the right place to host. Whether it’s a dinner party or an intimate gathering with the family, the kitchen inevitably becomes the center of attention – so it’s only natural that kitchen design is top of mind.
To keep track of what buyers are asking for, here are six highly sought-after kitchen design features that make hosting a pleasure.
An open floor plan for easy movement
Buyers want a kitchen that immediately feels like a space they can entertain in. That means it needs to be spacious and open rather than closed and difficult to navigate when there are many guests. A natural flow from the kitchen to the dining area to the living room makes simultaneous preparation, serving and entertaining play for any kind of home event.
Ample table space and several islands
Surface area is key in a kitchen, and buyers are looking for a generously sized island to provide valuable counter space. Personally, I have a 12 x 6 foot island in my own home. Alternatively, multiple islands – especially with stone or granite tops – are a new trend buyers are interested in. A large island or multiple islands are ideal for displaying food and decor so guests can see where everything is and help themselves. More seating can also be built in this way, meaning guests can feel comfortable and at home in the kitchen while the hosts cook.
Lots of storage
Hosting requires a lot of storage space – not only for all the food and drink, but also for equipment, serving dishes and party decor. Kitchens that offer hidden storage spaces, like a built-in or butler’s pantry, are especially desired. Other design features to maximize storage include cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling to utilize more vertical space and cabinets that can give a minimalist look by hiding small appliances like toasters and coffee makers.
Granite or stone countertops
The worktop is often the star of the kitchen – it’s the first thing people notice when they enter. A granite or stone countertop is not only durable for longevity, but it adds character. Right now, dark countertops, such as black or charcoal, are trending and add a bold and luxurious look to these rooms.
Visual interest and color
I see less demand for the ultra-modern, monochromatic white kitchens that were popular during the last decade. As people have spent more time at home, and thus more time hosting, they want their spaces to feel comfortable and inviting. Adding visual interest and splashes of color makes a kitchen feel more personal. We see this with open and floating shelves used to display beautiful dishes, patterned floors, colorful accent walls, statement light fixtures and the use of ambient lighting to create a mood.
Buyers who see themselves frequently entertaining at home are also likely to be interested in chef-quality, name-brand appliances to help them create incredible dishes. Walking into a chef’s kitchen is a huge “wow” factor for potential hosts, especially if they see top-of-the-line brands like Miele, Gaggenau, Wolf and Sub-Zero. And it’s a bonus if these appliances also offer smart-home technology to make entertaining even more effortless.
People can be particular about what they want in their “dream kitchen”, possibly more than any other room in a house. Ultimately, if a home is otherwise perfect and the kitchen doesn’t live up to their expectations, I ask buyers to make sure the space is large enough to ensure they can create their own dream kitchen after they move in – and I let them know that this is what I did in my own home. Then they can design the space to their heart’s content to include all the hosting features they want.
As a homeowner and someone who enjoys flipping and rehabbing properties, Janet Moore is known for patiently educating her clients and offering a no-pressure environment. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a Master of Business Administration from the Anderson School of Business and has sold real estate in the Charlotte, Manhattan, Queens, Long Island, Dallas and Tampa Bay/Sarasota areas. In the past year, Moore has sold 313 homes. She specializes in EB-5 visa clients from China – a program that allows for permanent residency (not citizenship) with $1 million in real estate purchases.
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