When it comes to remodeling a kitchen or a bath, start by figuring out two things: how much you can spend and what you want out of the space. • The budgeting, we'll leave to you. As for designing the space, start taking note of how you use your kitchen, or how you wish you could. Do you find yourself longing for a pantry, or a place to do your bills? Write those ideas down. Take notes, too, on things you like about your friends' kitchens or baths, and start a clip file of interesting ideas from magazines. • The National Kitchen & Bath Association (nkba.org) is also a source of inspiration and the entries in its annual design competition reveal current trends. This year's contest wrapped up in April and offers up a range of ideas from color to curves. Times staff writer
Color with Energy: Color makes a vibrant splash in rich blues, purples, greens and citric yellow this year. Colors from nature combined with hues that pop bring a feeling of movement and motion throughout the room. Design by Adel Visser, All About Kitchens & More, Sacramento, Calif.
Japanese Influences: The impact of Japanese design can be seen subtly in clean lines, open spaces and neutral color palettes with bold splashes of color in select areas. More apparent Japanese influence is showing up in designs that often rely on one strong anchor piece of Japanese origin, such as artwork or antiques. Design by Leslie J. Jensen, Signature Woodworks, Tacoma, Wash.
Soft Geometry: Rounded organic shapes can be seen in the edge of a counter or island top, an arch over an entryway or cooking hearth, the curved lines of a light fixture and well-placed, space-defining soffits. These softer lines are showing up in both contemporary and traditional designs. Design by Earl Lawson, V6B Design Group, Vancouver, British Columbia.
Varying Heights: Island tops, countertops and partial walls are being designed to fit the needs of the homeowners. Pairing lower desk and prep areas with higher breakfast bar surfaces provides convenient task-specific spaces, which fosters a greater level of family interaction within the kitchen. In the bathroom, this design concept provides function and balances the space. Design by Robert Kinsley, Kinsley Design Group, Highland Park, Ill.