Kitchen Remodel Ideas Perfect for Your 2014 Spring Cleaning

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This season's spring cleaning is likely to include kitchen remodeling projects that give the hard-working room a clean, crisp and contemporary style, according to an overview of top 2014 design trends by the Chicago Tribune. Increasingly, homeowners are opting for features that are easy to clean and that give a streamlined, modern look to the room known as the heart of the home. Here are six of the most popular design trends that consumers are cleaning up on this spring.

1. Open for Entertaining

The lines between the kitchen and other living spaces continue to blur as homeowners open the utilitarian room up for entertaining. Consumers not only want kitchens that let them socialize while cooking but that serve a gathering spots for everyone in the house as well. Furniture-style features, such as open shelving to break up a block of upper cabinets, are in high demand as are electronics like flat-screen televisions and docking and/or charging stations for smart devices.

2. The New Kitchen Island

While kitchen islands remain high on the list of must-have features when remodeling the space, homeowners are turning away from chunky and oversized islands that visually overwhelm the room. The new kitchen island takes cues from the past, evoking the look of the central kitchen tables of yesteryear. Finding room in the island for seating has become just as important as including functional appliances like base-cabinet refrigerators, beverage centers or warming drawers.

3. Steeled for Style

The popularity of stainless steel finishes is expected to increase in 2014, and consumers are looking for fixtures like range hoods and filters that complement their stainless steel appliances. Stainless steel sinks are now in more demand that porcelain enamel sinks, according to the 2014 NKBA Trends Survey from the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

4. Shades of Gray

When it comes to neutral colors in the kitchen, homeowners are increasingly opting for colors on the cool spectrum over creamy beiges and warm browns. Shades of gray and off-white hues are becoming popular choices for painted cabinetry, walls and flooring. They give the kitchen a fresh and contemporary feel that's accessible and welcoming too.

5. Changing Countertop Trends

Homeowners continue to favor the look of natural stone for their kitchen countertops, but granite is no longer the obvious go-to choice. Quartz countertops are in high demand as are look-alikes such as engineered stone countertops. Although they can cost as much as their granite counterparts, engineered countertops aren't as prone to chipping or staining.

6. Making a Splash

A stylish backsplash is now viewed as a core design component in a fashionable kitchen, and consumers have become quite sophisticated about their backsplash choices. For the reflective sparkle that it adds to kitchens as well as for its easy-to-clean functionally, glass backsplashes are surging in popularity.

An artful kitchen makeover not only enhances the style and functionality of the space but raises the market value of a home as well. According to the Cost Vs. Value Report from the industry media company Hanley Wood, homeowners can now expect to recoup up to 74 percent of the cost of a kitchen remodel when they sell their homes.