Black ceramic kitchen from "150 Best New Kitchens"

Hey, want a new kitchen? Maybe a better question would be: Who doesn’t? The kitchen is one of the two most popular rooms to renovate, and quite possibly the star attraction for most buyers looking at a home. After all, It’s a place to make food, share food, socialize (while eating food), and spend time with family (no food necessary!). Bottom line: You’re likely to spend a disproportionate slice of your time in this part of your home. So why not make it great?

And as with any remodel, there are endless style possibilities, which basically means opportunities to agonize over the renovation road not taken. Quartz or granite countertops? Knock down that wall or improve it? Stainless-steel appliances or ones that look like wood cabinets?

Well, we’re not going to make any decisions for you—sorry!—but for ideas and inspiration, we turned toManel Gutierrez, author of “150 Best New Kitchens.” For his new book, Gutierrez curated a selection of the most exciting kitchen designs from around the world, and we’ve presented some of those highlights here. Enjoy!

Mixed materials shine in an airy space.

Snaidero

Kitchen with mixed materials from "150 Best New Kitchens"

Don’t just open up your kitchen, integrate it

Yes, everyone knows that an open-plan living area is brighter and airier, but somehow the kitchen always ends up looking like … a kitchen. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Pick appliances with finishes that mimic cabinets, and show off your shelves with objects and books, just like you would in your living room.

Gutierrez says the design solutions he profiles in his book aren’t just focused on the kitchen—they also “seek to achieve an aesthetic unity” with the living and dining areas.

“The best results are truly original, beautiful, and, above all, very practical.”

Shelves in the kitchen are used as they would be in a living room—to show off objects.

LEICHT Küchen AG

Shelves in the kitchen are used as they would be in a living room—to show off objects.
Eye-catching ash wood connects the kitchen with the rest of the living space.

LEICHT Küchen AG

Eye-catching ash wood connects the kitchen with the rest of the living space.

Play with materials

Gutierrez says one of the main trends he noticed was the wider-than-ever variety of materials being used in kitchens today. Ceramic, stone, glass, and lacquer are taking their place alongside stainless steel. And best of all, designers are mixing and matching them with abandon.

“The more different the materials, the more interesting and intense the resulting combination,” he writes. While concrete is “the preferred construction material for modern architecture,” ceramic is an up-and-comer that’s both attractive and resistant—it’s even been used in space exploration. Hey, if it’s good enough for the astronauts, it’s good enough for your kitchen.

But it’s nice to know that traditional materials haven’t lost their luster either. The all-time favorite? Good ol’ wood.