Kitchens are the social center of many homes. Whether it is nightly dinner or a family gathering, the kitchen will always accumulate a crowd. Utilizing developments in appliances, cupboards, and layouts, your kitchen can become an easier place for cooking and cleaning, affording more time for leisure activities.


Countertops
Kitchen countertops come in a wide variety of materials with a wide variety of appearances and expenses. Common materials are:
• Stone – versatile and durable, expensive, not stain resistant
• Stainless steel – versatile and durable, stain resistant, not good for cutting, shows scratches and fingerprints
• Laminate – inexpensive, difficult to repair, requires use of cutting boards, does not handle heat well
• Tile – great for heat, tile is stain resistant but grout shows stains, artistic looking
• Wood – great for cutting upon, moderately priced, requires resealing
• Concrete – great for heat, artistic looking, not a good surface for food prep, shows stains
Choosing a countertop material is a functional and economic decision. Material may be mixed depending on the application (a built in wood cutting board is a nice addition to stone countertops) to provide flexibility for the cook. Countertops are accompanied by backsplashes to prevent spills from getting behind cabinets.

Sinks
A new kitchen countertop is nicely accompanied by a new kitchen sink. Single and double basin sinks are available to fit a variety of cooking styles. Some double basins have a large and small basin that caters to food prep and cleaning. Common materials for sinks are stainless steel, ceramic, tile, and stone. In addition to a new sink, new kitchen faucets incorporate a pull out sprayer, affording greater convenience when washing and rinsing.

Cabinets
Cabinets are available with features to ease life in the kitchen. Each is specifically designed for its application, and is able to store food, plates, and small appliances. Cabinets are premade or custom made.

Pantries
If space is available, the addition of a pantry may solve all storage demands in the kitchen. Pantries are used to store dry and canned food, kitchen appliances, and cleaning supplies. They range in size from a large cabinet, small closet, or walk in room. No matter the size, a well organized pantry is a welcome addition to a kitchen. The added bonus of a large pantry is that is does not need to be directly attached to the kitchen. The space under the basement steps is easily converted into a clean, dry pantry.

Ventilation
Kitchen ventilation is critical to handle smells and heat. Ceiling fans move air to dilute smells and cool the air. The addition of an exhaust fan can remove hot air from the kitchen and quickly remove unwanted smells.

Additional Workspace

Because of the central nature of the kitchen, many new homes have built in desks in the kitchen. These are a convenient area to store recipes, pay the bills, do homework, and use the home computer. If the space is available, adding a desk to the kitchen creates a nice workspace.