One of the most interesting trends I’m seeing as a kitchen remodeling contractor is this: couples in their 40s and 50s designing kitchens today so the counters, lighting and layouts will continue to accommodate them when they’re in their 70s and 80s. Even if you don’t necessarily plan on being in your current home forever, the reasons behind this trend are solid – and worth considering as part of your own kitchen remodeling project.
For starters, the features that make the kitchen friendly to people who may have disabilities or mobility issues when they’re older also make the kitchen friendlier to the whole family today. Kitchen counters of variable heights that might one day accommodate a cook in a wheelchair, for instance, are also the perfect height for adults of different heights and for inviting children to help in the kitchen. Activities like kneading bread and chopping are also easier with counter heights of 30″ rather than the standard 36″.
Lighting is another factor to consider. The more natural light you can bring into the kitchen, the better. Aging eyes need far more light to see well, and today’s cooks can enjoy a sunshine-filled kitchen. In addition to windows, glass blocks, skylights and other sources of daylight, a forward-looking kitchen remodel should also include a variety of lighting: ambient sources for general lighting and brighter, more focused lighting for tasks.
With thoughtful design, today’s kitchen remodeling can even find elegant ways to incorporate safety features. Today, for example, the sturdy bar across the front of a sink holds kitchen towels. Down the road, it will also become a grab bar that can steady the balance while reaching down to pick up something that has fallen to the floor. Contrast is another key to safety. As our eyesight dims, it can be harder to see where the floor ends and cabinets, doorways or even stairs begin. By looking ahead now, you can use colors and textures to create strong contrasts – and extremely handsome designs as well!
Remember that today’s kitchen remodeling contractors have access to an amazing array of fixtures, finishes, products and materials. So a kitchen that’s designed for “forever” can still look stylish – and gorgeous – today.