kitchen and dining area
Photo by Mark McCammon on

Is it time to revamp your kitchen? Local experts share tips and trends

By Amy Allen

With so much time and energy spent in your kitchen every day, you want it to be a pleasant, functional, and inspiring space to work in that reflects your style. If it’s time for a remodel and you’re feeling overwhelmed by choices and wondering what trends will stand the test of time, let local experts help guide you. Atlantic Designs owner/designer JC Cousins and Carly LePage, showroom manager for Frank Webb Home in Bangor and Ellsworth, shared the following pointers to steer you toward the perfect kitchen.

I know my kitchen is outdated. What’s my first step to start updating?

JC: Consult a kitchen designer and save yourself time and possible frustration. There are many ways to update your kitchen, from a simple swap of hardware and countertops, adding a modern tile backsplash. Or in some kitchens, it makes sense to start with new cabinetry to get a true update. A designer will be able to give you ideas based on your budget. Bring pictures in with you and have an idea of what your budget may look like. The best part? Going into a design studio to fact-find is often free help from a professional and should be a fun and helpful experience.

Are there any “hard rules” to follow for a kitchen redesign?

JC: Great question! The hard rule of the past involved what is called the “working triangle.” While this is still a good guideline, it does not fit most kitchens of today. Today, a kitchen is used differently from family to family. Some have a single cook and cleaner who needs the working triangle to be as efficient as possible. Others may have someone who loves to prep and clean while someone else is working at the range. There are a few hard rules that are important and a good designer can help you avoid the pitfalls that can occur by placing something in the wrong spot, or not planning to meet local building codes.

What finishes and materials are popular right now, and which will stand the test of time?

CL: Chrome is a classic and versatile finish, is easy to clean and maintain. It also complements numerous kitchen decor styles. Stainless steel is a popular choice for kitchen faucets. Stainless steel is durable, long-lasting, and corrosion and rust resistant. It is also easy to clean and maintain. Matte black is another popular choice. Modern and sleek, matte black finish adds a touch of elegance to any kitchen. Like the other finishes listed above, it is easy to clean and maintain, thus making it practical for kitchen faucets.

Are farmhouse sinks still popular or are people moving back to more traditional undermount options? 

CL: Farmhouse kitchen sinks have been and remain popular with homeowners. Their traditional design, functionality, and look — classic, rustic, or vintage — keep them at the forefront of homeowner selection. They are known for their large size and deep basin. This makes them ideal for washing large pots and pans. They also provide class and style to a kitchen thanks to their unique apron-front design.

Farmhouse sinks come in a variety of materials, including porcelain, stainless steel, copper, and cast iron. They have multiple install options, like undermount or top-mount sink, depending on homeowner desire and kitchen design.

What are some other sink and faucet trends you’re seeing?

CL: Current trends in sinks and faucets focus on three areas: functionality, hygiene, and style. Popular choices for modern kitchens and bathrooms include touchless and smart faucets, integrated sink and countertop units, matte black finishes and farmhouse sinks.

Large single-bowl sinks are ideal for washing large pots and pans because of their size and depth. They come in a range of materials, including stainless steel, fireclay, and granite composite. And many kitchen sinks now come with built-in accessories like cutting boards, colanders, and drying racks. They’re designed to fit with the sink, making them easy to use and store. They also allow users to prep and clean food at the sink, thus maximizing counter space.

Hands-free faucets are also trending. Thanks to their motion sensors, touchless faucets turn on and off with a wave of the hand, which is more hygienic than traditional hand-operated faucets. Busy cooks who need to keep their hands clean during food preparation find this feature to be a real time saver. These faucets can be controlled with a smartphone app that allows users to adjust water temperature and flow rate and even program specific settings for different tasks, like filling a pot or washing dishes.

How can I balance function with style?

JC: This question is a favorite of mine. As a designer, I like to make sure the kitchen is as beautiful as it is functional. This most often happens when you allow an experienced designer to come up with the best plan for the space. It gives us a chance to use some creativity and place items where they will be the most functional. Sometimes you have to move an appliance away from an area it has been sitting in for 30 years or more to achieve the balance, but allowing a designer freedom to show you something different or better will go a long way to achieving the balance you desire. 

What trends do you like and encourage customers to consider? Are there any current trends you caution customers against? 

CL: Customers should consult a professional to ensure the design is practical and functional for their needs. Here are five trends customers need to be wary of:

  1. Open Shelving: It looks great but isn’t practical for everyone. Dishes and cookware collect dust, grease, and grime, making them harder to clean. Open shelving also requires regular organization to keep everything neat and visually appealing.
  2. High-Gloss Cabinets: Maintenance is a challenge with these. Fingerprints, smudges, and scratches are more easily visible than matte finishes.
  3. Over-the-Range Microwaves: Despite saving counter space, they aren’t totally practical. Reaching the back of the stovetop for cleaning can be a challenge. The microwave’s exhaust fan may not be as effective as a range hood.
  4. Kitchen Islands: While trendy, they aren’t suitable for every kitchen. Small kitchens will feel cramped and cluttered with an island.
  5. Industrial-Style Kitchens: These aren’t the most comfortable space for cooking and eating. The materials can feel cold and harsh while the design can lack coziness and warmth.

If you’re ready to get started on your new kitchen, consult a professional like those at Atlantic Designs in Holden (, or visit a kitchen showroom, like Frank Webb Home ( in Bangor and Ellsworth for inspiration.