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Top Kitchen Design Trends for 2011

The key ingredients in kitchen design for 2011 are adding multifunctional elements that can do more for you and your family. Architects and designers are feeding this trend by designing more open and flexible kitchens so consumers can create the ultimate gathering space. Even as the footprint of a new home construction shrinks, the size of the kitchen will not. Homeowners will forego space elsewhere in their home by modifying their floor plan to keep their kitchens functional.

To mirror the way family activities are evolving in the kitchen, homeowners are looking for appliances, furniture and products that can do more. They're looking for innovative products that give added value. For example, a kitchen cart is valuable because it provides extra workspace and shelving. Adding a pullout or pull-down function, different spray modes and a pause button to a stylish faucet easily gives it added value.

Create a gorgeous, green functional kitchen by using the latest appliances from Sub-Zero® and Wolf®. This professionally designed kitchen features a side-by-side, stainless steel refrigerator with glass door, dual fuel range, non-convection microwave and hood liner.

Although it's not a new trend, going green is here to stay. It's easy to see the impact you can make on the environment and your utility bills by making a few simple changes like using water-saving kitchen fixtures. Look for fixtures that have been certified to meet the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) WaterSense® labeling criteria to ensure superior performance and water-saving elements.

Look for an array of interesting countertops to find their way in new kitchens, like butcher block tops, concrete, glass, aluminum and eco-friendly solid surfaces that mimic granite and marble. Consumers are interested in new materials that reflect their individual taste and can handle the demands of their lifestyle. Also look for multiple sinks designated for specific tasks like prepping and cleaning.

When it comes to appliances consumers are looking for professional-grade products that are functional, aesthetically pleasing, technologically advanced and energy efficient. For the most part, the lifestyles and interests of the homeowner will dictate the appliances they select. For example, if you collect wine you may choose a wine cooler. If you're into eating healthy, you may want an oven that combines steam and induction cooking.

Seamless, integrated kitchen appliances are another key design trend. Top-quality performance is vital, but artistic appeal still plays a key role in the selection of appliances, particularly in open kitchen floor plans.

Eco-friendly flooring like bamboo, recycled wood and natural stone tile remain a favorite among homeowners looking to create an eye-catching design to complement their kitchen's décor.

The needs and lifestyles of homeowners may be different from family to family, but the one constant is that everyone is busy, which is why they seek products that are efficient, convenient, durable and stylish.