These 5 ingredients add up to an easier-to-clean kitchen

A new kitchen characteristic has eased into home owners’ lists of must-haves since we all started staying home.

And “ease” has everything to do with it: easy-to-clean kitchens, that are just as easy to maintain, have won new respect.

Going back 20 years, kitchens were beautiful and required a lot of upkeep — think pristine marble countertops that were prone to staining and scratching, or stainless-steel finishes that showed every fingerprint.

But new products and materials combine beauty and performance with minimal upkeep. Here are five to consider:

1. Quartz countertops. The engineered stone consists of stone chips, pigments and resins that combine to form a surface that’s impervious to spilled wine, oven-hot dishes and sharp knives — without the need for periodic sealing. Quartz also comes in an array of beautiful designs, including faux-stone patterns, so you can have the look of marble (or granite or soapstone or concrete) without all the upkeep.

2. Black stainless steel. Traditional stainless appliances have endured because they’re the perfect neutral backdrop in so many kitchen design schemes. The downside is the constant wiping of fingerprints and water marks — and that is driving consumer interest to black stainless steel, especially among younger homeowners with busy families.

The material’s matte finish makes it virtually smudge-proof, and its soft, warm lustre plays well in a range of kitchen styles, from transitional to mid-century modern.

3. Porcelain flooring. The preferred natural wood floors are highly susceptible to scratching, denting and fading. But not porcelain tile, a durable material that’s also moisture-proof — a bonus in kitchen installations.

Plus, porcelain comes in very convincing faux-wood patterns, from weathered oak to the richest mahogany.

4. Coloured cabinets. More homeowners are discovering just how much elbow grease goes into maintaining the all-white look. As a result, more people are applying colour to their cabinets. The embrace started slowly, with beiges and greys, but we’re now seeing deeper blues and greens find their way into the kitchen.

As well, raised panels and delicate moldings were found to trap grease and grime, and were a pain to clean. Now homeowners are opting for simple, flat-front designs, epitomized by Shaker cabinets, in part because they’re so easy to wipe down.

5. Low-maintenance matte finishes in kitchen faucets, cabinet hardware and light fixtures are also gaining in popularity. Smudge-resistant brushed nickel is particularly common on faucets.



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