For many families, the kitchen is the gathering place in the home. It’s where we gather to eat (when we can), it’s where homework is done, where conversations happen, and where our friends and family often gather when we’re entertaining. Because it’s become the focal point of so many homes, people are investing more time and money to make their kitchens meet their exact needs.

There are four general elements of a great kitchen, but the possibilities are endless when it comes to deciding how you want to craft each of them. We’ll take a look at the four elements and touch on some current design trends you may want to incorporate into your own kitchen.

Kitchen with lots of lighting

1. A Variety of Light Sources

The biggest thing to remember with your kitchen lighting setup is that not all of the light has to come from one source. Having one super bright light can lead to excessive glare and shadows not conducive for food prep or entertaining. This means that different light sources are key to achieving a well-lit and functional kitchen.

Task lights underneath kitchen cabinets or in a pantry are key to helping you perform basic kitchen functions like cooking and food preparation. Accent lighting and ambient lighting both help create a warmer environment that people want to spend time in. Accent lighting could be recessed lighting that highlights a particular section or feature in the kitchen, while ambient lighting can be used to fill empty spaces if you have a gap between the tops of your cabinets and the ceiling. Decorative lighting can simply add a unique look to your kitchen.

Kitchen Appliances

2. Appliances That Fit Your Space

The appliances you choose for your kitchen are somewhat dictated by the overall layout and design of your kitchen. If you’re remodeling or designing a new kitchen, you’re going to plan out what appliances you need and the size they’ll need to be in order to fit in the spaces you’ve created for them.

You have tons of options when selecting those appliances – different sizes, colors, functionality and technology. Stainless steel and black are traditionally go-to appliance colors, but neutral grey and even white are trending as clean, modern options as well. Even quirky retro and powerful industrial-style appliances have found a place in certain kitchens designed for them.

More and more technology is being built-in too. From refrigerators with touch screens that allow you to see inside your fridge, play music or stream TV on, to Bluetooth-connected ovens, stovetops and microwaves to coordinate cook times of all your dishes, the amount of innovation is astonishing.

Clean modern kitchen

3. Clean, Modern Cabinetry

Cabinet design trends change and evolve year-by-year, but it’s still tough to beat a clean, modern, white set of cabinets. They tend to make a kitchen seem bigger and brighter, and they’re eye-catching for potential home buyers. They’re especially useful in creating contrast when paired with  darker colors on countertops or appliances, or with pops of color throughout the kitchen.     

Gray cabinets are making a huge push though. Trendy and modern, gray cabinets can give you a neutral look that’s easily paired with different finishes – they can offer contrast or be part of a monochromatic look. They strike a balance between white and black, and will likely remain on trend for years to come.

Traditional wood cabinets are still popular in the right kitchens, and bold or dark colors are on the cutting edge of modern design.

4. Finishes That Complement the Kitchen

The finishes you choose for your kitchen can be used to make a design statement and pull the entire kitchen together. You can opt for industrial, architectural lines with your faucets, use satin nickel or stainless door pulls for cleanliness on your cabinets, plus choose countertops in different compositions and colors or make a statement with a huge farmhouse sink.

Kitchen Faucet

Countertops & Sinks

There are almost too many different varieties of countertops to break down here, and you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to choosing a color or look that works best for your kitchen. Granite has been the long-standing, high-end choice for many homeowners and still is extremely popular thanks to its durability, beauty, and variety of colors. Granite often improves home value too, making it a good potential investment for your kitchen.

However, quartz is making a push in popularity as well, thanks to their scratch/heat/stain resistance and low maintenance. Other options include laminate, tile, butcher block tops, composite tops, soapstone, and marble on the expensive end of the spectrum. 

Sinks come in a variety of sizes and styles too, with large farmhouse-style sinks becoming popular in many kitchen setups. Some homeowners are also going ultra-modern with these style of sinks, using bright, bold colors to provide an eye-catching contrast to the rest of the kitchen.



Adding a backsplash has become a common DIY project for many homeowners looking for a simple way to add an additional design element to their kitchen. This is thanks to DIY-friendly peel-and-stick vinyl tiles like Smart Tiles. With a bit of prep work and planning, these can give you a look on par with many real tile backsplashes, but requiring much less work. There are even real metal peel-and-stick options out there for a high-end industrial look without all the grout work.

Traditional stone and glass backsplashes are always a great option as well, and if installed by a pro often give you the best, most precise look. Reclaimed wood and other salvaged materials can make great backsplashes in the right hands as well.



Cabinet hardware can make or break the look of the cabinets in your kitchen. If you’re refinishing or refacing your cabinets – perhaps getting in on the white or gray trend – you’ll likely want to update the pulls and knobs on those cabinets as well. There are literally thousands of styles out there, and Amerock provides a great selection of them (like this contemporary bar pull) on doitbest.com.

Kitchen Faucet


Much like other elements on this list, there are a lot of ways you can go in terms of style and design. It’s all about the combination of elements that makes a kitchen feel complete. Current faucet trends include increases in technology, such as touch-free faucets, farmhouse-style faucets and handles, or clean, architectural lines for an industrial, modern faucet.

Faucets are available in variety of configurations and finishes to perfectly match your other kitchen décor.