As we move into the new year and a new decade, many people are turning their New Year’s resolutions to the improvement of their homes. January is a great time to ride that wave of motivation and make those long-overdue updates to the room that reaps the biggest financial benefit: the kitchen. Renovating a kitchen, whether it’s merely cosmetic or a to-the-studs remodel, can be fun and uplifting. With that in mind, here are some options to consider for kitchen rejuvenation in 2020.

Open it up

Many older homes have traditionally divided rooms, with a separate kitchen, living room, and dining room, which can feel dark and cramped by modern standards. Within the last decade it’s become increasingly popular to tear down those dividing walls and turn several spaces into a single, unified living space. Not only does this lighten up a room and make it feel good, it’s also useful for entertaining or for families who want to interact with the kids in the living room while making dinner in the kitchen. People love being able to relate to other parts of the home from a single space.

Lower the maintenance

A lot of people want low-maintenance, durable surfaces, from cabinetry to countertops. In answer to this desire, one new option is textured melamine. Salt International carries a line of panels in an array of hues and textures. Their high-pressure laminates are heat-, bacteria-, and chemical-resistant, making them durable and very low-maintenance. Some of their products are even waterproof, ideal for exterior spaces. They also offer sheets up to nine feet long to serve the clean-line trend towards paneled refrigerators and cabinets that go to the ceiling.

Add a high-end touch

Stone is beautiful, but costly. Enter the ultra-compact surface, which gives the appearance of solid stone surfaces without having to invest in expensive slabs of stone. Durable, strong, and ultra-thin, these surfaces are great as countertops, backsplashes, or as entire wall coverings. Until now, the affordable way to mimic a stone wall consisted of large format porcelain tile, which still required the pattern to be mixed and have a thin grout line. Now, at the thickness of a porcelain tile, that grand stone look can be achieved without enormous expense, or mixed vein pattern. Unlike natural stone that will patina over time and needs periodic resealing, these ultra-compact surfaces are maintenance-free. Both Neolith and Dekton carry attractive options in an assortment of shades and finishes.

Color outside the lines

Recently, there has been a movement towards using brighter, more colorful surface materials, often in less traditional colors. Whether it’s a kitchen island in hot pink, or countertops in Navy blue, people are relishing the freedom of using color instead of neutral tones. Krion manufactures a new solid surface, a combination of natural minerals and high-resistance resins, that is 100 percent recyclable and available in a variety of both rich and subtle hues. Similarly, cabinetry and appliance manufacturers have broadened their color options as well.

A word to the wise when considering these bold accents: while a bright orange countertop may be wonderful for you, it might be the glaring detail that makes it hard to sell your home in the future. Take the long term into account when choosing trendy design elements.

Give it visual interest

Everyone is crazy for laser-cut stone mosaics, a product line that’s relatively new to the market. This technology allows for very tailored, elaborate patterns with delicate details. This fresh take is beautiful as an accent or, for a more dramatic look, as an entire surface. Country Floors carries lovely mosaics created, and Marble Systems also touts an attractive laser-cut mosaic line. With super thin grout lines, mosaics offer really cool, interesting patterns that can trick the eye, mimic wallpaper, and provide an intricate visual appeal. If you go with this option, I recommend that you choose something that accentuates the home’s architecture.

Bringing new life to an outdated space makes everyday living that much more enjoyable.

Chandler Prewitt Design is a full service interior design firm serving Santa Fe and the surrounding areas (

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