7 insider tips to elevate your kitchen design

Gorgeous kitchen with marble countertop island and wood seating

It’s the season for creepy tombstones adorning lawns and cackling witches on brooms. So we figured, why not address what makes many a homeowner tremble in fear (cue the scary pipe organ music)... a kitchen remodel.

Here are ASI’s insider design tips on how to create a custom kitchen that screams of luxury and is totally to die for – any time of the year.

So, you wish to remodel your family kitchen to make it custom and contemporary. But there are so many questions about renovating that torture you. What are kitchen trends that won’t date quickly? I want my kitchen to look customized and uniquely mine, but how?

Read on to discover interior design expert Amanda Shields' insider tips on how to elevate your kitchen space.

  1. Don’t be afraid to mix your kitchen finishes

Kitchens traditionally tend to have unified finishes, featuring one stain or single shade of cabinetry throughout. Today's kitchen style trends, however, reveal that you don't have to settle for just one. Combining finishes is a totally on-trend way to make your kitchen look designer. For example, pairing wood stain cabinets with one or two painted cabinet colours.

In my own home kitchen renovation that is currently underway, we are combining white oak cabinets with painted black cabinets on the island. To add further visual interest, I've varied the counters, too. Concrete-look quartz counters are paired with marble porcelain on the kitchen island. By incorporating different neutral tones that complement each other, I've pulled these textural layers together that will result in one elegant and elevated look.

Beautiful grey and white kitchen with black accents

2. Be brave about colour on cabinetry

Today's designer kitchen is about breaking away from the ubiquitous, uniform finishes and colours, adding interest with a complementary mix instead. Painted cabinetry also elevates your kitchen style if you're not quite ready to boldly vary finishes, like I mentioned earlier.

Check out how stylish and stately Van Court land Blue by Benjamin Moore (below) is on this kitchen cabinetry in our recent kitchen remodel of a North Toronto home. Adding both colour and calm, it totally elevates the family kitchen into a contemporary space. Super on-trend and customized for the win.

Stunning white and slate blue kitchen
Designed by ASI, Photo: Kiely Ramos Photo

3. Mix your metals

Again, we throw all the old matchy-matchy rules out the window with metal finishes, too. When it comes to the metals in your kitchen, from faucets to hardware to lighting, you can pair different finishes. To achieve the best look for your kitchen, I'll share a chapter from my personal design rulebook. When mixing different metals, don't pair two different high-polish finishes. Instead, if one of the metals has a high polish finish, always make sure the other is matte. Black metal is the exception because it literally goes with everything. The variety of painted metals available right now is truly awesome, like the white-powder-finish-on-metal trend we are seeing to my current brushed gold obsession. I highly encourage you to experiment by following these pro pairing tricks.

4. Splurge on kitchen light fixtures

Lighting is everything. It sets an atmospheric mood while the fixtures themselves add visual interest. In our kitchen remodel projects, we layer different types of lighting. I like to start with a statement pendant light over an island, then incorporate sconces and ceiling pot lights for a luxe and layered look. Consider adding a cool ambience with hidden LED lighting under an island or even inside glass cabinets. Besides elevating culinary spaces, under mount lighting also adds beautiful and warm candle lit dinner vibes.

Seriously, you don’t want to skimp on having quality lighting fixtures, which can take a kitchen from uninspired, to designer, in a flash – literally.

Fresh white and black kitchen
Designed by ASI, Photo: Kiely Ramos Photo

5. Revamp with porcelain

If you really want to sink your teeth into creating a customized kitchen, then get into the mind of an interior design expert. The hottest kitchen trend right now is to have real stone, marble or quartzite counters because of their large and dramatic patterns. If these luxurious natural materials exceed your budget, you might wish to consider using porcelain instead. Unlike quartz, which is the most commonplace and budget-friendly countertop material, with porcelain slab you can replicate those on-trend bold, natural patterns which are guaranteed to elevate your kitchen's look.

6. Integrated appliances are your secret weapon

What are integrated appliances, you ask? As the name suggests, it means that the appliances are made to blend, or integrate with, your cabinetry’s appearance. This is definitely a look that is sophisticated, seamless and stylish. Nothing says custom more than this technique. The appliances might be integrated to work in harmony, however the kitchen on the whole is sure to stand out.

7. Create (at least) one special moment

Last, but definitely not least, to really elevate your kitchen design, our team always creates a unique "moment" within the space. This component of a kitchen remodel also shows it was custom-built for you and your family. These special design touches are part of ASI's signature style that we create in collaboration with you during our six-step design process.

For example, we may handpick artisanal tile as a backdrop behind open shelves instead of standard drywall, then illuminate it with a single sconce light. In my own family home kitchen renovation, instead of the usual stainless steel hood range, I've chosen on-trend porcelain which will look great for years to come.

Beautiful kitchen bar with sink and storage for wine and glasses

There you have it, design lovers. Just because you bake cookies in your kitchen doesn't mean it should look cookie-cutter.

Ready to sit down with Amanda Shields Interiors to strategize how we can elevate your kitchen design? to book a free discovery call.

Amanda Shields is the Creative Director and Principal Designer for Amanda Shields Interiors

The design firm is known for offering diverse designs that are both stylish and thoughtfully curated that enhances your everyday living.


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