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Kitchens are the heart of the house and most likely are centrally located in the house plan as well. With open floor plans the kitchen may also open into a formal living area or great room which creates a dilemma on how to decorate the kitchen so that it is durable and can hold up to the heavy traffic it will have and still make it blend with the softer, more comfortable surrounding of the living area.
Finishes For the Open Floor Plan Kitchen
When selecting finishes for your kitchen, think durability! No other room in your house is going to receive as much abuse and traffic. Floors should be easy to clean, durable and compliment the living areas that they open up into. If the living area has a wood floor, consider carrying the same floor into the kitchen area. With all the new finishes on the market, a wood floor can hold up well to water and spillage. If you want a flooring that is even more durable, look into ceramic tile. Tile is available in almost any finish or color that you desire. The new distressed sun-washed tiles are ideal because they usually make a wonderful transition from living areas that may have wood or carpet. The biggest down side to a ceramic tile floor in the kitchen is that glassware and plates will most likely break if they are dropped. Sheet Vinyl and Vinyl tiles are a good solution if you're watching your budget or if you prefer a floor that you can change with your decor every few years without guilt. Vinyl is very easy to maintain and is comfortable and quiet underfoot.
If you would like an elegant kitchen that blends well with other spaces in your open floor plan, then check into a granite countertop. It is resistant to heat, spills and will last and look new for years. Downside: it is expensive. You may want to incorporate certain areas to receive a granite countertop (such as around the cooktop) and use another material for the other surfaces. Ceramic Tile is a beautiful and practical surface. It also comes in almost any color, texture or pattern you would want. Handpainted tiles can be used on the backsplash to give color and interest to the kitchen. Corian countertops .... Plastic Laminate is a good alternative if you are watching your budget. There are hundreds of colors and styles. Just avoid the high gloss finishes for countertops which will show knife marks and scratches quickly.
The cabinets are a serious consideration in an open kitchen because they are usually very visible from the living areas. Try to repeat the decor and finishes in the rest of your house. For instance, if your living area is full of antiques and has an "old-world" feel, steer clear of high gloss shinny white cabinets. They will stand out like a sore thumb within the context of your entire design. Go with either a wood that you have used in the other areas of the house or a painted color that compliments your total design.
Glass front cabinets are a wonderful addition to the kitchen, but before purchasing, consider what you will be storing within these cabinets and will that view compliment your open living area. If you have a formal living area, you won't want glass front cabinets to hold peanut butter jars or boxes of food. If you have beautiful glassware that would be appropriate. If you have a country kitchen and living area, the glass front cabinets may be appropriate for food storage. It depends on your tastes, just keep in mind the view you will have of the kitchen from the surrounding open living areas.
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