3 Kitchen Necessities: Lights, Cabinets, Wine

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  • Built-in cabinets that look like furniture, with decorative details like crown molding and feet.
  • Mixing and layering of woods and finishes. Combining white or ivory glazes with natural woods like cherry warms up a traditional kitchen, says Jennifer Runner, a designer at Normandy Remodeling in Hinsdale, Illinois. Remodelers seeking a contemporary look may combine glass and metals with either ebony-painted woods or natural woods with a light color, like honey maple.
  • Light cabinets with darker countertops.
  • Bright-colored cabinets in orange, blue, green or brown. Richly colored cabinets can draw attention to the island, or ground the room through lower cabinets while the other cabinets are painted a lighter color, says Runner.
  • Cabinets with glass doors either for displaying accessories or simply to “break up the monotony of wood,” Runner says.
  • Fewer upper cabinets to avoid obstructing the view of other rooms.


  • A chandelier that contrasts with and softens modern appliances and countertops.
  • Decorative task lighting – lighting that both serves as decoration and for a practical purpose – especially when lights can stretch to more than one spot on adjustable arms.
  • Under-cabinet lighting for ambiance.
  • Pendant lights above kitchen islands to “bring style into the mix.”
  • Black, brass or iron-colored fixtures.
  • A large light fixture to center the room.

Wine Storage

  • Cabinets specially built for wine bottle storage
  • A “butler area” where guests can enjoy drinks and converse with the cook without distracting them from work. Originally, a corridor between the kitchen and the dining room to serve as a buffer and allow the butler to stay close while keeping drinks and dishes close to him. Today, this might be a countertop and with a cabinet with glasses and utensils away from the fridge, sink and cooking area where guests can enjoy pre-dinner cocktails without getting in the way of the cook, says Runner. It might even be the island.
  • Coolers, from under the counter to refrigerator size, with features such as UV-blocking glass to dual-zone designs that allows storing red and white wine in different temperatures. However, Runner cautions from buying one as an accessory for a few new bottles. “It’s a big investment,” she says. “The nice ones can be very expensive, and, typically, people gave them to display their collection. So, if you just have one bottle of wine in it, you probably shouldn’t have bought it in the first place.”

Tags: lights, cabinets, wine, tips, redecorating