It's the busiest room of the house, where families eat, entertain, and play. This is why today's kitchen is getting a facelift.

According to the latest release from Pulte Homes, one of America's largest home builders, good kitchen design can sell a home. That's why they're putting their design efforts into model homes all across the nation.

"The kitchen is the center of activity for families," said Janice Jones, vice president of merchandizing for national homebuilder PulteGroup.  With the popularity of open floor plan designs, Jones said the kitchen – more than ever before - has evolved into the most important part of the family's communal space. "In the past, home design was driven by practicality, but now homeowners want function and design to meet – and it starts in the kitchen."

Here are some of the latest trends:


  • Islands: These multi-functional spaces are perfect for informal meals, working on homework, and even family craft and art projects. In order to keep these spaces looking their best, for both personal enjoyment and resale, it's important to keep them clutter free.


  • Color & Appliances: Kitchen design has gone two-tone! The newest emerging trend is for two-tone and contrasting colors on cabinets, counters, and even appliances. PulteGroup is rolling out new Black Ice and White Ice appliances offered by national partner Whirlpool. The new appliance designs are the outcome of extensive consumer research showing kitchens are trending toward more timeless, contemporary styling.

    "This is the biggest visible news in the appliance world in years," Jones said, adding that the new look was inspired by popular cutting edge high tech gadgets like Smartphones.



  • Storage: Can you ever have enough storage? For most families the answer is no. That's why its important to maximize the use of all storage areas. Adding larger, deeper drawers, pop-up cabinets for heavier kitchen appliances (e.g. mixers), vertical pull-out drawers for large trays, and even shallow storage compartments in previously wasted areas under the sink or stovetop.

    "Right now it's all about style and selections meeting convenience and multi-functionality in the kitchen," Jones said.



  • Finishes: Every few years, it seems, finish trends change in homes and kitchens across the nation. What was once in is now passe. Just consider the avocado appliances or country blue counters of yesterday!

    Today's trends lend themselves to old world vintage charm. Oil rubbed bronze fixtures reign supreme. In addition you'll find:

    • Tile with natural-looking materials and larger formatted designs
    • Glazed cream colored cabinets
    • Painted cabinetry in grey tones
    • Contrasting wood floors
    • Larger islands that serve as nook spaces
    • Contemporary cabinet hardware
    • Quartz solid surface manufactured surfaces – "they are becoming favored as much as granite and are expected to continue to gain popularity"

    "Only 20% of homebuyers have the confidence to visualize and colorize the space.  Most homebuyers we talk with tell us they want help in designing their home because going through all the options themselves is a lot of work and stress," Jones said.  "This is why showing the latest trends and demonstrating what's possible is so important."

    Images on pulte.com allow users to visualize a custom kitchen space by selecting from a variety of colors and finishes - from flooring to wall color.


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