There was a time when cooking in the kitchen meant hours alone in a hidden workspace for the person who prepared meals for their family. Those days are long gone, however, and today's kitchens are places where families spend a significant amount of their time together. Your kitchen not only needs to possess the functionality to facilitate food prep and cooking but should also possess enough style that friends and family members enjoy time in the space. Fortunately, there are a number of unique kitchen ideas that fit the bill.

Smart Kitchen

A smart kitchen is one that combines automated technology with intelligent design principles to produce a kitchen that is both efficient and convenient to use. There are many benefits of installing smart appliances in your kitchen. These benefits are also expanding at a rapid pace due to the growth of technology.

Smart devices will provide you with an extra set of eyes and alert you to any matter in your kitchen that demands your attention. Your kitchen will advise you of things like a refrigerator door that is left ajar or a dishwasher not responding properly to instructions. Smart cooking appliances are available to keep you abreast of cooking temperatures and will notify you when it is time to take something from the oven. This information can be monitored from your smartphone so there is no need to constantly watch over things in the kitchen.

Outdoor Kitchen

Cooking outdoors is becoming popular as more and more Americans are being introduced to the joys of using an outdoor kitchen to prepare meals in their backyards. According to Keystone Custom Decks, an outdoor kitchen is particularly popular with people who like to entertain. The area still needs some upkeep however, and regular cleaning and decluttering is necessary. Many homeowners have been satisfied with their decision to double up on space by constructing an outdoor kitchen under their deck. You should consult an expert before building a kitchen under your deck to ensure the work is completed properly and with your family's safety in mind.

Rustic Kitchen

A rustic look to your kitchen provides a certain charm that is attached to country living and will warm the hearts of everyone who enters the space. And for lovers of the rustic kitchen look, there is no shortage of decorating ideas. One idea is to use weather wood beams, extra-wide floor planks made of wood, and wooden cabinets with a time-worn look to them. According to Impressive Interior Design, these are all traits of a kitchen that embrace the joys of country living. The wood used should be a dark red color. Visitors should be able to see the knots in the ceiling beams where a tree once grew or hear the wood squeak beneath their feet when they walk. Wood is not the only natural element you can use to give your kitchen a rustic look. Many homeowners have been just as happy using stone to create a natural look and charm in the space. You may also opt for a combination of the two materials.

Mini Kitchen

A mini kitchen is all about maximizing your space. Homeowners with smaller kitchens learn to value each square inch of space they possess. The trick is to use the limited counter space and cabinets as efficiently as possible while moving around in the kitchen to prepare meals. Storage space is at a premium with a mini kitchen. There are lots of things you can incorporate into the design that can provide you with built-in storage space. For example, you could include a kitchen cart or a shelf that glides out of a blind corner cabinet. Many homeowners have also found that the kitchen's perimeter can be used to install open cabinets about an inch below the ceiling to provide adequate storage space in a mini-kitchen.

Coastal Kitchen

A coastal kitchen design will create a vacation-like mood within your kitchen regardless of the distance that may lie between your home and the nearest beach. You can begin with this design option by choosing light colors. The colors of everything from the flowers on the table to the paint you use for the walls should put you in the mind of a bright and sunny day at the beach. The ideal color for woodwork like cabinets, tables, and islands is white in a coastal kitchen. This creates a clean neutral base that will make your kitchen feel open and airy.

Old-World Kitchen

Old World kitchen designs make use of classic styles of architecture that include Greek, Roman, and Old English elements. A number of methods are available for homeowners who want to create an Old-World look to their kitchens. Old World design makes use of light and dark contrasts. The scene in Old World kitchens is often set by using natural stones like granite and marble. These stones can then be combined with walnut cabinetry or cherry-wood floors to create the desired light and dark dynamic.

Mediterranean Kitchen

Mediterranean kitchen designs will cause you and your guests to think of moderate weather, white beaches, and days filled with sunshine. Start with the background and use colors and hues that are common in the Mediterranean region. You can use colors like yellow or mellow cream to create an elegant appeal. You can also add a touch of red, orange, or green in layers to achieve the exciting color patterns that are common to the Mediterranean.

Cottage-style Kitchen

According to Real Homes, plastic racks and open shelving are mainstays of cottage-style kitchens. Brackets and corbels should also be used if you wish for your kitchen to sport a true cottage look. One tip to save money with this design is that you can remove the doors of the shelves already in your kitchen to create an open shelf look in lieu of purchasing another set of shelves. Other important elements of a cottage-style kitchen include wooden doors and small-pane windows that will create a light and airy feel.

The kitchen is an important part of a home that serves as the nerve center of activity for many families. The need to individualize a kitchen to suit the personality of a family has led many homeowners to seek out unique kitchen design schemes. The eight design schemes mentioned above will provide homeowners with a kitchen to match their personality while adding to the aesthetic value of the kitchen.

Some new, modern decor is just the thing to give your new kitchen the final touches it needs. Browse our dining room furniture collection to find the perfect pieces to complete the look!