A kitchen remodel might be one of the most satisfying and celebrated home updates—and one of the best ways to add value to your house. Whether you’re looking at doing a full renovation or a simple update, in addition to identifying your kitchen needs and planning the layout of your space, you need to carefully select the pieces you put in it.
To learn more about how to maximize your remodel, we sat down with Evan Dublin, vice president and creative director of Rejuvenation, to get his expert insight on what makes a great kitchen. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, Rejuvenation was founded in 1977 as an architectural salvage, lighting, and hardware shop. Now, Dublin’s team produces high-quality, period inspired lighting and hardware, and has developed full lines of plumbing, furniture, rugs, and more for the entire home.
1. Start With Lighting
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Layers of Light
If you’re like us, you spend a lot of time in your kitchen, so it’s essential to get the lighting right. "Good kitchen lighting begins with overhead fixtures that reinforce natural light—think everything from statement pendants that play with scale, to more discrete flush or semi-flush fittings," says Dublin. "It’s important to have multiple layers of lighting, to both create ambiance and to functionally illuminate specific zones."
"Good lighting can elevate your space and bring joy to everyday tasks." —Evan Dublin
Illuminate Your Island
The kitchen island is one of the hardest working surfaces in the home—used for prepping, cooking, and even hosting—so it is essential to light it accordingly. Pendants or chandeliers are excellent for illuminating the entire space, but can have vastly different effects depending on their materiality. Linen or glass shades will create more ambient light, while metal shades, such as Rejuvenation’s spun brass Ormandy will focus light down onto a specific area.
Dublin recommends that lights should sit 30-36 inches above your countertop. Make sure they are centered, and when hanging multiple pendants, 24-30 inches is the ideal distance between pendants to make sure that the light is evenly distributed.
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Tip: Remember the Rule of Three. Three pendant lights will look balanced when evenly spaced to fill the span of a larger island, but you can also use two pendants in smaller spaces.
2. Have Fun With Hardware
Hardware is like jewelry for your home—it adds a decorative touch. For a cohesive look, match the finish of your hardware to your light fixtures, or mix finishes for a more eclectic vibe. According to Dublin, brass tones add warmth, oil-rubbed bronze gives a sense of precision, and polished chrome and nickel are classic finishes for a streamlined, contemporary look.
You can also mix and match knobs and pulls in various sizes to suit the different sizes of your cabinetry and drawers. Rejuvenation’s best-selling hardware collections come in 8- and 10-inch lengths, and as Dublin notes, "Using an oversized pull on a cabinet always makes a bold statement."
"Personally, I love mixing finishes—but there needs to be a strategy, a balance to the mix. For example, choose one finish for your hardware and plumbing and a second for your lighting." —Evan Dublin
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Tip: Order a few samples and metal swatches to make sure the finish looks right and the design feels comfortable in your hand.
3. Plan Your Sinks and Plumbing
Connecting aesthetics to functionality is essential when it comes to kitchen sinks and plumbing. "It’s important to plan your kitchen plumbing with your specific needs in mind," says Dublin. "Adding details like a large farmhouse-style sink or a pot filler can make your meal prep and cleanup much easier." But he adds, your biggest consideration should be quality. Not only do high-quality faucets create a timeless look—they can also prevent costly inconveniences such as leaks that lead to water damage or even contaminated drinking water.
Rejuvenation’s plumbing collections are crafted from solid brass. An ideal base for faucets and other fixtures, this durable metal won’t chip or rust, and it can be used for a variety of finish options. "Brass has been trending for a few years now, but I always love the warmth that it gives a space," says Dublin. "I also like unlacquered brass and embrace the fact that it’s a living finish that will age and develop a patina over time. I love a space with natural, rich materials that evolve and get better with use and time."
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4. Get Organized
The secret to a highly functioning, easy-to-clean kitchen is storage and organization. Shelving, hooks, and other solutions keep high-use items at arm’s reach and ensure everything has a dedicated home. "Organizational pieces that elevate the look of your kitchen are a great way to keep your kitchen essentials within reach," says Dublin. "Our Brookside rail system and Emery pot rack, for example, are super functional and the perfect finishing touch."
5. Consider Adjacent Spaces
If you have an open floor plan, you’ll want to be intentional about making your dining area and kitchen feel connected and distinct. Dublin recommends using lighting from the same collection, but with different finishes. The same goes for chairs and stools—using different styles made from the same materials can help tie your room together.
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Finally, add an area rug under your dining table to establish an edge between the dining area and the kitchen. Foot traffic is heavy in this part of the home, so Dublin recommends a flatweave that is easy to sweep clean in the kitchen, and a softer, hand-knotted rug under the dining table for a cozier feel.
Dublin adds, "Ultimately, trust your instincts—invest in good quality pieces that you love, and that you know will last."
Tip: Still not sure where to get started? Partner with one of our Rejuvenation design experts on your next home project. Learn more about Rejuvenation’s kitchen offerings at rejuvenation.com.