Often, when we talk about prioritizing function over form in a Chicago kitchen design, we’re speaking of things like layout and personalized workflow, smart storage options and extra nooks or niches to better serve your family. However, for busy homeowners – as well as those planning to age-in-place – a functional design is one that also considers what it takes to clean and maintain the beautiful new kitchen from day-to-day - and year-to-year.
Smart Tips for a Low-Maintenance Chicago Kitchen Design
Here are some of the features and ideas to consider if you’re interested in designing and building a low-maintenance kitchen.
There is no doubt that quartz countertops are the lowest-maintenance option out there. Firstly, they can be cleaned and/or scrubbed with virtually any cleaning product or sponge without becoming marred. Secondly, quartz countertops are non-porous, which means they don’t have to be sealed from year-to-year the way their natural stone counterparts do. Finally, their resistance to staining, etching, chipping and cracking mean once it’s installed, you’ll never have to worry about repairing or replacing a quartz countertop down the road.
Minimize cabinet details and glass
The more details there are on cabinet doors and edges, the more space there is to fill up with dust and grime over time. This makes detailed cabinetry notably more difficult to maintain that “just like new” look, requiring consistent, detailed wipe-downs and polishing. Similarly, anything that spills down the cabinet faces will land and fill-up any crevices or reliefs, which makes those clean-ups more involved as well. Flat-panel designs and flush cabinet ends are your best bet if you want to keep cleaning and maintenance to a minimum.
Along those same lines, glass cabinet faces are best left to the upper-regions of cabinetry where they’re less likely to be smudged, smeared or broken.
Say goodbye to decorative trim, moulding, etc. (or minimize the embellishments…)
Similarly, we don’t recommend installing a wealth of trim details. Things like ornate crown moulding, corbels, decorative legs or feet on kitchen islands, etc. – all add more to the cleaning detail. As with more ornate cabinet door panels and trim, these wood details are catchalls for dirt, spills, dust, grease and grime.
Opt for stain, rather than paint
There are pros and cons to stained versus painted cabinets. However, there is no debate about which hides smudges and stains and is easier to touch-up. If you see marred cabinet faces in your future (especially if you have young children and/or pets), stained cabinets are the easiest to touch up without an obvious patch. Also, invest in a high-quality finish that is easy to take damp wipe-downs without easily wiping off along with the debris.
As long as we’re on that subject, grainier patterns and darker finishes mask stains better than lighter-stained cabinets with minimal woodgrain.
Install cabinet hardware
If you don’t plan to wipe down the edges of cabinetry on a regular basis, take the time – and spend the extra money – on installing cabinet hardware. This minimizes the amount of contact between fingers, hands and cabinet faces. Also, the chunkier the hardware (bar pulls versus knobs) the easier it is for kids and elders to open doors and drawers without struggle or contact.
Is a low-maintenance and easy-clean kitchen a goal for your Chicago kitchen design? Speak with us here at Kitchens & Baths Unlimited. We’ll design a luxury kitchen that is surprisingly easy to take care of.