Home Improvement

Kitchen must haves for 2019-2020??

By October 31, 2019 47 Comments

Hi all,

We are currently in the process of drawing up a plan for a sizable kitchen/living room remodel that will open up the kitchen and living room considerably. What are your kitchen must haves when it comes to appliances/lighting/plumbing/electrical/cabinets and countertops ect ect??

Also what are the things to avoid and steer clear of?

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  • dmatthewsfan says:

    You’ll want a fridge.

  • kleingrunmann says:

    Usb charging ports strategically placed throughout.

    Avoid: countertops that require maintenance, like granite. Stainless appliances that smudge.

  • JudeFawleySr says:

    Anything but a pot filler on your stove – Only dimwits who can’t cook anything and can only boil pasta for sustenance, love that crap.

    I love the following:

    1. Gas stove.
    2. Double ovens.
    3. An intelligent (sensor) microwave.
    4. a hood vent that exhausts outside the house.
    5. Pendant and can lights.
    6. Wood floors that are not to hard on your feet.
    7. Two drawer dishwasher.
    8. Double door fridge with convertible (freezer/refrigerator) drawers.
    9. Big Island with place for 4+ bar stools.
    10. A big butt pantry.
    11. Pull out shelves instead of a lazy Susan.
    12. A warming drawer. I would be lost without mine.

  • Firestorm83 says:

    Go for full extension drawers instead of cabinets under ‘work-height’

  • climb-it-ographer says:

    A 36″ range is massively better than the standard 30″. Sacrificing 6″ of counter space is well worth it.

    Under-cabinet lighting is nice too, but I’d avoid the cheesy colored stuff. A nice soft glow at night is all you really need, and make sure that it’s hard-wired into a circuit in a completely hidden manner rather than stuck on as an afterthought.

    A remote-blower hood for your stovetop is awesome as well. By moving the actual blower unit up into the attic you eliminate a lot of the noise associated with them. We’re going with an insert-style one like [this one from Zline](http://www.zlinekitchen.com/insert698-1).

    [edit] Also, you might want to look into a make-up air system if you end up with a powerful range hood. All of the air that the hood is venting up and out of the house has to be replaced somehow and you don’t want it to pull in from a fireplace or something, especially if you have a wood fire going. Make-up air systems have an actuated damper that opens up when the blower turns on that allows outside air to come in to the kitchen in a controlled manner.

  • distantreplay says:

    I’d always say it starts with analyzing how you use your kitchen. Do you mostly stay in and cook? From scratch? Do you entertain? Do you bake? Or do you mostly heat prepared entrees and brew pods?

    In any case one very utilitarian kitchen item that serves virtually all customers very well is a good, vented, range blower. Start at 400 CFM. This is particularly important in open concept floor plans, where cooking odors, smoke, and grease vapor can escape the confines of the kitchen and settle into upholstery and window coverings.

    Another item that seems to work well for almost all folks are below the counter pull outs. Drawers are best if your budget can manage. But pull out trays will do almost as well. These really improve access to items stored low and to the rear and makes more of the space useful on a daily basis, regardless of what you store in them. More and more people are choosing to store dinner ware below the counter, finding it much easier to transfer clean dishes from the dishwasher to drawers/pullouts at the same elevation. Which also reminds me to plan carefully the location of the dishwasher with those operations in mind.

    Last thing I advise clients when I can, take a Saturday and empty out your kitchen into your living room or garage. Go through it all and figure out what you only use once a year and put it aside. Then measure the actual space required to store it. Use boxes if it helps. Most standard cardboard boxes will have their cubic capacity printed on a flap. Don’t “pack” the boxes, but place items in them as you might find them in a cabinet or drawer. Add it all up. Add for new items or features you know you want to have. Then add 20%. Use that as a minimum guide for your cabinet design process. And remember that internal storage is reduced by up to 20% with the inclusion of drawers and pull out trays.

  • seashoes says:

    When I tore my kitchen apart last year, we tore out a bunch of walls and the ceiling. I ran speaker wire all throughout before they were covered again back to a an audio receiver. I’m really glad I did.

  • majesticjg says:

    At least consider some of the more esoteric appliances. They can be amazing conveniences:

    – Under-counter Ice Maker (Buy Scotsman or nothing, trust me. If you entertain, you will love it.)

    – Drawer Dishwasher (Fisher & Paykel, $1,400. Worth it!)

    – Warming Drawer

    – Purified drinking water (Reverse osmosis)

    – Instant hot water dispenser (plumb it into the reverse osmosis for instant, hot clean water for tea or cooking)

    – Counter-depth or built-in fridge (you don’t realize how much a fridge dominates the room until it doesn’t anymore. I’ll never go back!)

  • lunatunarolls says:

    Pop up power. I’ve seen them a few times – it’s built into the counter tops and you push for a power strip to pop up. I would LOVE that.

  • yacht_boy says:

    Lots of good advice here. Stuff we love in our new kitchen: wall oven and microwave, drawers under counters, lazy susans and similar in corner cabinets to reach everything, dedicated cookie sheet and cutting board cabinet (tall and skinny, uses otherwise wasted space), 36″ range top in the counter, deep single basin sink, French door fridge with dedicated soda/beer drawer, pull out trash and recycling. Thing we love and use the most is the instant hot water.

    Things we don’t like: pot filler (my idea, but it was a mistake), ikea appliances (good warranty, terrible design, the wall oven has a crazy loud fan), multiple appliances with clocks (why does our vent need a clock??) and all 3 clocks never sync, range vent is super loud. Most hated thing is our idiotic counter depth fridge that won’t hold any reasonable amount of food.

    Things to watch out for. Local code may require make up air for vents over 200cfm. Appliances are universally getting lower quality across all brands, buy the extended warranty and/or use a credit card with consumer protection, all faucets at home depot are garbage, buy from a real plumbing supply house, if you are in Massachusetts you must buy an approved faucet so buy local.

  • ButWhatDoesItAllMean says:

    One thing we did that I love, at the end of the counter run we extended the upper cabinets down to the counter with an additional set of doors, so we have a place to store appliances we use all the time but out of site behind cabinet doors. I use the area for my beverage stuff (electric kettle, coffee grinder, soda stream).

    Also, I got a standard slide in double oven, which is fantastic when making meals requiring things getting cooked at different temps, I can make them concurrently.

  • EAGLEi222 says:

    You may want to consider adding Ethernet drops to all the rooms you are remodeling.

    Even if you don’t think you will use it right away, you may surprise yourself later on. It will be a nice feature to advertise when selling at some point.

    If you are opening up walls, now is the time to add all the cables you may want in the future.

    I would recommend Cat 6A cable and 2 drops to each room at a minimum…..maybe even 4 for areas where a TV/entertainment system goes.

  • NotSureWTFUmean says:

    If I have space for a pantry, definitely. Pull-out cabinet garbage bin. Shelf organizers for all those stupid little half used packets of whatever dry goods my borderline hoarder wife keeps buying. Spice drawer cabinet. Lots of recessed ceiling lights (good ones, not those crappy ones that only take weak-ass bulbs). Range hood. Faucet with a spray or stream setting (I don’t like having two faucets when you can get both in one). Double sink because I like my drying rack in a separate sink. Soft close cabinet door hinges. If you have a LOT of space, having a full size fridge plus full size freezer is pure awesomeness and you can usually get trim kits for them that make them look like one big commercial unit. The downside is if one breaks, you’re stuck staying with that model for the replacement, and you can’t change your mind down the road because you’ve already built your cabinets to accommodate that kind of setup


    >Also what are the things to avoid and steer clear of?

    Pot fillers above the stove. A water source with no drain? No ty.

    Built-in coffee machines. They break down too often and suck to keep clean. I like built in ovens/microwaves though.

    under cabinet lighting. My kitchen ceiling lighting has always been bright enough to kill a vampire so I find this redundant.

    soap dispensers that are built into the counter

    zero radius sinks suck to clean

  • workacnt says:

    Hidden Bidets

  • OD_prime says:

    double ovens, 36 in cook top for the 6 burners, vented hood, mounted microwave (i hate countertop microwaves)

  • OutOfMyMind4ever says:

    Power! Lots of power so you run a microwave, an electric kettle, a blender, and a toaster all at the the same time without blowing a fuse. Also power in the island so you can plug in mixers or crock pots.

    Baseboard vacuum. The kitchen is where you are most likely to spill stuff and this way you just sweep it at the baseboard vacuum. Also make sure you have a place for the broom in or near the kitchen.

    If you have pets then an eating area for them, plus their food storage. That is the only place I would consider putting a pot filler in a wall, to make filling the bowl easier.

    If you have small kids a mini fridge for their snacks and drinks is great. Then turn it into a wine fridge when they are older.

    The quietest dishwasher you can find. I like Bosh ones, I can’t tell if mine is running when I am standing in front of it.

  • myous says:

    Solid piece stone backsplash (soooooooooo much easier to clean).

    I have fantasized about putting electrical outlets in my pantry so I dont always have to move my applicances from the pantry to the counter, but my pantry isnt quite large enough to use as a work room. If yours is- give yourself a small workspace with an outlet in there. It would be so nice for hosting.

  • sportgd says:

    One of our favorite things from our kitchen remodel is the plumbed in water cooler. We love our large island and turned the back side cabinets outward for easier access so only the middle cabinet is under the overhang. We also went with a majority of drawers on the lower cabinets which was a great call.

  • Righteous_Sheeple says:

    I’m planning big kitchen reno too, I’m just waiting to hear from the engineer if I can take all my walls out or not. If I can: I’m planning a smaller (skinnier) Island /no stools (I have a table for eating at instead). I’m also thinking we’re done with subway tiles. I’m thinking of stacked rectangular tiles . I personally am done with stainless appliances but lost the coin toss and am stuck with them. If the kitchen is open to the living area , I plan to have the same wood floor throughout. Watching those dumb reno shows people really like that and I may sell within 5 years.

    I’m also building in my range hood that will be vented outdoors, My house is not a loft so it’s going to look like wall and may be tiled with those vertically stacked tiles like the whole wall. My partner likes the stainless vent hood (this is a hill I’ll die on). The rest like appliance placing and work triangle is all being considered. One thing that drives me crazy is when the kitchen island is between the sink and stove. Don’t put an island in if it breaks the work triangle rule.

    I have a small ish kitchen and there will be one wall of pantry and no upper cabinets. The bottom cabinets will be all drawers.

  • wB68 says:

    Insta Hot water dispenser is the bomb if you drink tea. I installed one last year and my wife likes me again.

  • keep_trying_username says:

    Go on a site like [houzz.com](https://houzz.com) and see what everyone is talking about.

  • grippin says:

    Definitely deep pull out drawers. Also, soft close drawers.

  • MarthaVilla2 says:

    My must… if you do seating then make it counter height seating. I see no value to bar height on one side and counter height on the other. It splits the space unnecessarily, makes it harder to reach from one side to the other, limits what you can do with the space… like roll dough. And stuff is always falling from the high side.

    I do use counter end outlets more than I thought I would. They are really handy.

  • penguincandy says:

    I cook at home every day and cooking/baking/canning are my top hobbies. I’m also the primary holiday/birthday/gathering host in my extended family so it’s not unusual for me to cook for 10-12 people.

    If I was designing my dream kitchen, I would put in:

    * Gas range with 6 or 8 burners
    * Double electric ovens (especially the KitchenAid ovens with attachments like rotisserie spinner and steam table, omgggg)
    * Stainless steel countertops and backsplash – low maintenance, can withstand bleach cleaning for best food safety, good for kneading bread
    * Under-cabinet lighting – ideally with an ambient soft setting and a work/task bright setting
    * Deep drawer base cabinets with dinnerware drawer (the kind with pegs in it for holding plates and bowls)
    * Baseboard drawers for baking sheets, muffin pans, and other flat inconvenient objects
    * Quiet-close hardware
    * More outlets than you think you need!
    * Wine column or under-cabinet wine cooler
    * Walk-in pantry
    * Open shelving for cookbook collection (about 30-40 cookbooks)
    * Appliance “garage” (tall cabinet/closet to keep crockpot, blender, stand mixer, pressure cooker… all the countertop appliances I love but don’t use daily)
    * Bar-height kitchen island with storage, with counter overhang for seating
    * Under-mounted kitchen sink (I hate that crud gets stuck around regular sinks, I want to just sweep everything into the sink) – ideally single-basin but double-wide, 10 inches deep
    * Baseboard vacuum for sweeping crumbs into
    * Enclosed cabinet for trash and recycling bins
    * Deep freezer (doesn’t need to be in the kitchen necessarily but that would be ideal) – I store a lot of frozen meats

    And of course, if this isn’t included in the space already, ample dinner seating. I’m fortunate to have a dining room large enough for an 8-seat table. And it does get used!

  • PNWHoonigan says:

    Having done a remodel 3 years ago…

    Big sinks are awesome. We got a farmhouse style single basin. Lots of space to clean. I also got a big restaurant style faucet (like the dish washing stations). It’s not high design, but I love it.

    Gas ranges are great. We went with the 36” width. The range is like the jewelry for your kitchen. The wider range is way more expensive, and doesn’t offer much extra value. But damn it gets a lot of comments.

    A drawer for your garbage that pulls out. Way better than under the sink. Many cabinet makers make special pull outs just for this.

    Under cabinet lights. They’re nice for cooking, but also as a sort of “night light” mode.

    Floating shelves. Nice for display. I thought it also helped add some variety to the upper cabinets.

    Microwave under the countertop. Kids can play with it, which sucks. But it’s nice to have it out of view.

    Lots of outlets. At least one that’s dedicated for phone charging/Alexa/etc. let’s face it, all the stuff charges in the kitchen. Get a fancy outlet with some usb plugs to clean up all the dongles.

    Don’t forget pantry space!

  • hrmarsehole says:

    If you have central vacuum in the house then a kick plate vacuum thing is a must. Sorry don’t know the proper name. Sweep your stuff to it open it up and sweep it right in. No dustpan needed.

  • Jamesking16 says:

    Networking ports! Your fridge needs to be connected to the Internet so when you are low on milk it gets ordered automatically.

  • SideHug says:

    Undercab lights

  • ObjectivismForMe says:

    NOT all white.

  • RolexTacoBellTesla says:

    All I have to say is don’t get a Samsung fridge.

  • Solar_Spork says:

    Plumb in the espresso machine. Feel like a goddamn KING! (a second tap on the filtered water source for your ice maker will do)

    Vacpan has been mentioned.

    Power drop to the island should be considered. (cord reel with cord shortened to be fully extended when it reaches the work surface so it does not have a gigantic resistive coil at the top.) Good looking ones are a different matter.

    AAAAND: A second soap dispenser in the sink (meant cutting an extra hole in the stainless and doing a number on a step drill) but now we have hand soap (unscented please!) and dish soap, tidily delivered at the sink’s edge – no bottles cluttering things up.

    Remote fan for exhaust hood is a big noise reducer as are the muffler and the isolation link in the duct-work. Found mine (and some guidance) here: [https://www.hvacquick.com/products/residential/Kitchen-Exhaust/Kitchen-Exhaust-Kits/Fantech-Kitchen-Ventilation-Kits](https://www.hvacquick.com/products/residential/Kitchen-Exhaust/Kitchen-Exhaust-Kits/Fantech-Kitchen-Ventilation-Kits) Go big or go home on ventilation – helps keep the kitchen clean and maintain air quality.

    If you find a hands free method of managing trash, compost and recyclables – go for it. The cleaning of handles and such that comes from messy hands is a big part of clean up week-in and week-out.

    Lights with an eye toward two modes: Work Bright and Night Patrol Dim. A third: entertaining.

    Remember: organizational thingies take up space so make sure they earn it: I dig my chrome pot and pan drawers that made the under range cabinet work so much better but they reduced the capacity. I also find the spice things here: [https://www.verticalspice.com](https://www.verticalspice.com) to take up space (I had to move pepper corns and pepper grinders to a separate space) but these earn their keep: alphabetical for me, maybe you have some other order.

    I like the compromise/optimize that Fisher Paykel did on our refrigerator. No through the door ice but yes to in the door water. A small space is used for it. The ice machine lives between the refrigerator (top compartment) and the freezer (below) and seems to occupy the least possible space. Well done. The stunt of serving ice out the front is, to me, noisy and wasteful of refrigerator space right in the middle where the action is.

    I like plain flat doors for cabinets (easier to clean and to refinish down the line if that is your thing)

  • WagglesMolokai says:

    Induction cooktop! Amazing cooking and soooo easy to keep clean

  • exlipse1 says:

    1. Hood that vents outside with a strong fan (no overhead microwave)
    2. Double ovens, convection (three if you have the space / money, it’s rare but I’ve used / needed three before for larger gatherings / holidays)
    3. Large cooktop with more than one burner that will support a large pot / skillet without blocking the other burners. (This is an almost everyday problem)

    There’s a lot of good ideas that have already been commented, these are the three most important to me.

  • wine2018 says:

    On the island, make sure you do pass thru doors. I love mine! As for pot fillers if you need it do it. And I have more power outlets than I need but they sure are nice when I do. Enjoy your remodel .

  • KevinAnniPadda says:


  • c9belayer says:

    Like I told my friend: Get a stainless steel sink. Anything else and you WILL chip it. Eventually. My friend thanked me 2 months after his was put in.

  • schweitzerdude says:

    Two dishwashers. Yes someone on the internet has two dishwashers, one called clean, one called dirty. Take from the clean, use, put in the dirty. When the clean is empty, and the dirty is full, wash the dirty. Then switch the names. Benefit: never have to waste time putting clean dishes and silverware in the cupboard.

  • tinysmommy says:

    Get yourself a legit exhaust system that actually pumps the stink out of the kitchen to the outside. We have a stupid fan under the microwave and it’s worthless.

  • rlovepalomar says:

    Pasta maker, cast iron pan maybe more than one size, 100% Dutch oven, kitchen aid, pizza steel and peel

  • wine2018 says:

    Doors on both sides if you are using it for any kind of storage. 👍

  • wine2018 says:

    Oh and never dump questions!

  • MT-6-55-3 says:

    In that walk in pantry, make sure to have outlets! I really wish we could just get a countertop microwave and put it in the pantry so we could get rid of the over stove one that is a pain for the kids to use.

    So many things I love about the house, but the builder really failed with the electrician. There is no question we will build our next house just so we can do all of those things that are easy to get right before the sheet rock goes up.

    In the middle of a full got remodel on my grandparents house. So nice to be able to go through and run extra wire every where.

  • forgotmyinfo says:

    As many drawers as possible – so much easier to access things. I love all my drawers and want more.

    And cabinets right to the ceiling. Cabinets that have a gap just gather dust (or cats). To the ceiling looks good, and gives you a nice spot for all the appliances and such that you don’t use on a regular basis.

  • jpm01609 says:

    a) multiple outlets and maybe even some USB ports (note: I personally believe, at the rate of change in computer tech that USB and Ethernet ports might look out of date in 20 years )


    b you need to draw out this exisiting area on free design software..measure everything…put it all out on 2D or 3D software

  • Taxed_to_death says:

    Seeing that you are talking for 2020 homes, and taking into account other suggestions already made, here are some super high-end suggestions (“must have” only if you want top notch of 2020):

    1. Big *electric* drawers / cabinets. Ideal if you have super big drawers with heavy stuff inside (blum has them – servo something they are called)
    2. High end flex-induction cook surface with touchscreen (see Siemens iq700 top model)
    3. High end oven – eg Miele plumbed steam oven + Miele Dialog oven (search for it – super new tech)
    4. Geoluxe type of material for countertops.
    5. In Ceiling hood extractor like stella from falmec (1500 m3/h model)
    6. Blast freezer like the ones from irinox (fredy or something)
    7. Wine cabinet with humidity control – e.g. eurocave
    8. Vacuum packer like the professional ones from Sirman
    9. Outlets with USB everywhere
    10. Possibly water filter / chiller under the sink
    11. Huge single sink
    12. The kitchen not looking like kitchen.
    13. Led strip under the island to light the drawers when they open

    Check the suggestions above – many of them are worthy just to see them. Let me know if you need more ideas.

  • wine2018 says:

    Just replaying back to you.

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