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The season for gathering is almost here, but those who love to entertain year-round know the enduring importance of the right space for hosting. Whether it’s a dinner-party soirée or an intimate gathering with family, the kitchen inevitably becomes the center of attention — so it’s only natural that kitchen design is top of mind.
To stay on top of what buyers are asking for, here are six highly coveted kitchen design features that make hosting a joy.
An open floor plan for ease of movement
Buyers want a kitchen that instantly feels like a room they can entertain in. That means it should be spacious and open, rather than closed off and difficult to navigate when there are lots of guests. A natural flow from kitchen to the dining area to living room makes simultaneous preparation, serving, and entertaining a breeze for any type of at-home event.
Ample counter space and multiple islands
Surface area is key in a kitchen, and buyers are looking for a generously sized island to provide valuable counter space. Personally, I have a 12 x 6-foot island in my own home. Alternatively, multiple islands — especially with stone or granite tops — are a new trend that buyers are interested in. A big island, or multiple islands, is ideal for displaying food and decor, so guests can see where everything is and help themselves. More seating can also be incorporated this way, meaning guests can get comfortable and feel right at home in the kitchen while hosts are cooking.
Plenty of storage
Hosting requires a lot of storage space — not only for all that food and drink, but for equipment, serving dishes, and festive decor as well. Kitchens that offer hidden storage spaces, like a built-in or butler’s pantry, are especially desired. Other design features for maximizing storage include cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling to leverage more vertical space and cabinetry that can render a minimalist look by hiding small appliances like toasters and coffee.
Granite or stone countertops
The countertop is often the star of the kitchen — it’s what people notice first when they walk in. A granite or stone countertop is not only durable for longevity, but it adds character. Right now, dark countertops such as black or charcoal are trending, infusing these spaces with a bold and luxurious look.
Visual interest and color
I’m seeing less demand for the ultra-modern, monochromatic white kitchens that were popular over the past decade. As people have been spending more time at home, and thus more time hosting at home, they want their space to feel comfortable and welcoming. Adding visual interest and splashes of color makes a kitchen feel more personal. We’re seeing this with open and floating shelving used for displaying beautiful dishes, patterned flooring, colorful accent walls, statement light fixtures, and the use of ambient lighting to set a mood.
Buyers who see themselves frequently entertaining at home are likely also interested in chef-quality, brand-name appliances to help them create incredible dishes. Walking into a chef’s kitchen is a huge “wow” factor for would-be hosts, especially if they see top-of-the-line brands like Miele, Gaggenau, Wolf and Sub-Zero. And it’s a bonus if these appliances also offer smart-home technology to make entertaining even more effortless.
People can be particular about what they want in their “dream kitchen,” possibly more than any other room in a house. Ultimately, if a home is otherwise perfect and the kitchen falls short of their expectations, I tell buyers to just make sure the space is large enough to ensure they can create their own dream kitchen after they move in — and I let them know that it’s what I did in my own home. Then they can design the space to their heart’s content to include all the features for hosting that they desire.
As a homeowner and someone who enjoys flipping and rehabbing properties, Janet Moore is known for patiently educating her customers and offering a no-pressure environment. She has a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a Master of Business Administration from the Anderson School of Business and has sold real estate in Charlotte, Manhattan, Queens, Long Island, Dallas, and the Tampa Bay/Sarasota areas. In the past year, Moore has sold 313 homes. She specializes in EB-5 visa customers from China — a program that allows for permanent residence (not citizenship) with $1 million in real estate purchases.