©Knight Photography Adding an island is a great way to expand kitchen workspace.

A kitchen is a place where memories are made. Eying a child's first drawing, opening a perfect report card, or making an engagement announcement often occur to the tune of a whistling kettle. It's not surprising that a workable, pleasing kitchen is one of a home's top-selling attractions and a pleasure for all who frequent it.

To accommodate the ebb and flow of family and friends, a good layout is essential. While you might like having company, you don't want them underfoot. Instead, there should be well-defined traffic routes and a zone where the chef functions undisturbed.

How many people cook at one time (experts advise 48 to 54 inches of space for one person to pass safely behind another), children's ages, and any special needs family members have should all be taken into consideration.

There are four basic kitchen layouts:

  • The galley shape with two walls of appliances squaring off opposite each other
  • The L-shape that locates the three main elements (sink, stove, and refrigerator) along two perpendicular walls forming a natural triangle
  • The U-shape that puts the elements on three walls
  • The G-shape, which is essentially a U-shape with a fourth wall (which could be a handy peninsula) to provide room for more counter space, cabinetry, and appliances.

For efficiency, consider the classic work triangle formula according to how it coincides with the configuration you choose. Two work areas -- one for cooking, the other for serving and clearing, each with a sink -- is also a popular strategy.

In this article, you'll learn about a number of kitchen decorating styles, including:

Cultivating a Vintage Look

There are many new options for older homes when it comes to redecorating a kitchen. Cabinetry, appliances, and wall-covering with vintage flair allow you to create a new kitchen with a custom vintage feeling to maintain the look and feel of your classic home.

Using Bold Colors

Use bold colors to make a statement in your kitchen, but choose and integrate colors wisely so that they have the most impact.

Integrating Wood in Kitchen Decor

Rely on wood's natural texture, look, and feel to make your room look bright and clean.

Southwestern Styling

Bold colors style techniques used in the open kitchens of New Mexico develop a warm look and feel for your kitchen.

Comfortably Casual

Kitchen decor that welcomes guests and provides a feeling of coziness to family is an essential element to any home. Learn the tricks to adding an element of comfort to your kitchen.

Clean and Neat

Creating ample storage, yet giving your kitchen an open look and feel, can be a challenge. Find tips to streamline design and maximize storage in your kitchen.

Stainless Steel Ideas

Stainless steel is an extremely popular choice for appliances, but there are other ways to incorporate it into the look of your kitchen. Find ideas to help you creatively use stainless steel in your kitchen.

Restaurant Styling

Want a kitchen that's as elegant and functional as an upscale eatery? Use this contemporary kitchen to get ideas for adding an element of sophistication to your own kitchen.

The Vintage Look

Whether you want a fully updated -- yet authentically vintage -- kitchen, or just want to use vintage details to give your kitchen character, you can find inspiration in the vintage look of this kitchen.

Chef's Kitchen

A place for everything, and everything in its place -- that's the motto of the Chef's Kitchen. With storage for every conceivable appliance, tool, or utensil, the kitchen can be an organizational dream. Find useful ideas to keep your own kitchen looking good and running smoothly.

Adding Color

A dash of color can provide your kitchen with a lively personality boost. Find out how to get the most dramatic effect by adding color to your kitchen.­

Modern kitchens maintain their clean look by providing a niche for every element. Cabinet manufacturers feature hundreds of options including clever interior fittings for silverware, appliance garages (great for taking advantage of deep corners), and custom panels for disguising appliances. In general, cherry- or mahogany-paneled and glass-front doors afford traditional appeal.

Blonde wood, laminate, metal, and new options like mesh inset panels are typical of contemporary rooms. Oak or maple raised panel doors that are painted or stained say country.

Be ingenious about finding extra inches. Attempt to have 12 inches of landing space on either side of any cooking surface as a safety feature. If there's no room for an island, what about extending the counter to accommodate stools? Will a built-in folding table that extends when you need it and drops down when you don't provide a roost? Also, consider pullout work surfaces for various chores.

Extend a row of cabinets into the breakfast area to visually link the areas and to gain storage. Repeating a surface, laminate on the counter-tops and the tabletop in the bay lends cohesion, so will echoing tile or wallpaper colors in cushions and curtains. Forgo upper cabinets to render a cramped kitchen more open.

Glass-door cabinets -- like all gleaming surfaces -- help bounce light around and keep a kitchen looking sunrise-fresh. To capture light from an adjoining dining room or enclosed porch, install French doors. And consider knocking down the wall to a room that's rarely used to create a convenient pantry.

©Knight Photography Glass cabinet doors reflect light and make your kitchen gleam.

White appliances continue to rule, but black and stainless steel are close behind. Many homeowners opt to blend refrigerators and dishwashers with cabinetry, but appliances can also be used to garner attention. A commercial-style stainless-steel refrigerator takes on a sculptural quality in a sun-washed modern kitchen.

There are several ways to give your contemporary kitchen a nostalgic twist. Get great vintage decorating tips in the next section.

To get more decorating ideas as well as tips and information on decorating your home, visit: