Top Tips for Your Kitchen Remodel

From lighting to plumbing, here’s what you should know before you start your next update.
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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

This kitchen features Rejuvenation’s new Allenglade pendants and sconces to create a strong statement with lighting. Here, the design follows the "rule of three," which dictates that three pendant lights will create a sense of visual balance when evenly spaced over a large island. The oil-rubbed bronze finish of the lighting has been matched with the finish of the Poetto faucets and the Rye counter stools to create a cohesive, industrial-inspired aesthetic throughout.

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Rejuvenation Allenglade Pendant
Mid-Century design meets modern construction with our Allenglade Chandelier. Featuring a solid brass down rod and large opal glass shades, Allenglade makes a statement over any dining room table. Available in seven finishes with two shade sizes and three tier options to choose from.
Rejuvenation Emerson Drawer Pull
Inspired by Northwest Modern styles, our Emerson Drawer Pull features a clean, straightforward silhouette with an intersecting rod design in solid brass. Add refined detail to any kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room cabinet.
Rejuvenation Rye Counter Stool
An industrial-inspired design with a sleek profile, the Rye Counter Stool features a sturdy steel frame, handsome walnut finish, and comfortable curved seat and backrest.

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. 

If you decide to mix finishes, Dublin advises choosing one finish for a statement element—such as the pendants over the kitchen island—and a contrasting finish for smaller elements, such as cabinet hardware, shelving, or rail systems. Here, Ormandy pendants and a Blair faucet are in aged brass, which contrasts with the oil-rubbed bronze of the cabinet hardware, shelving, and pot rack.

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Rejuvenation Ormandy Pendant
Inspired by Mid-Century Danish designs, our new Ormandy Pendant makes a stylish statement. Masterfully crafted with a hand-blown glass shade nestled into an oversized brass shade with two supporting rods. Available in nine finish options and several customizable lengths.
Rejuvenation Brookside Rail System
Designed with a customizable array of functional and versatile components, the Brookside Rail System is the perfect addition to any kitchen, pantry, garage, or workspace.
Rejuvenation Randle Tractor Counter Stool
Our Randle Stool features a contoured solid walnut or ash wood seat and a sturdy steel frame, giving an elevated mixed-material look to your kitchen counter seating.

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

Rejuvenation offers collections that use the same design language and finishes across lighting, hardware, and plumbing to allow you to create a cohesive look in your home. In this kitchen, Blair pendants and sconces have been paired with Blair shelving, Blair cabinet hardware and Blair faucets to create a kitchen with strikingly geometric elements inspired by 1940s industrial design.

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Rejuvenation Blair Pendant
Designed to coordinate with our Blair Hardware Collection, our Blair Lighting Collection is a nod to 1940s French industrial lighting and features a brass fixture with a cased white glass shade.
Rejuvenation Blair Hardware
Our solid brass Blair Drawer Pull features crisp, clean lines and a minimalist design that brings a sophisticated look and high-quality touch to the cabinetry of any kitchen, bath, or laundry room. Available in several finishes and sizes.
Rejuvenation Blair Faucet
Made with solid brass, the Blair Cross Handle Faucet set features an industrial-inspired cross-knob design with streamlined details, bringing a crisp, clean look to any kitchen. This option comes with a sprayer for added workspace versatility.

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."

Plan your kitchen according to your needs. Here, Rejuvenation’s Emery pot rack hangs near a West Slope pot filler. Open shelving set on Multi brackets gives easy access to everyday tools—as do baskets and bins below the island. A darker color on the island paired with lighter cabinets gives the space a sense of airy openness. And the entire ensemble, including the Blaine pendant lighting, demonstrates how modern touches can update a traditional home. "Blaine’s shape and profile are a nod to midcentury styles but updated," says Dublin of the design. "It’s a play of mixed materials with glass supporting an elegant, angled metal shade—casting a warm glow both above and below the fixture. Blaine gives off beautiful, all-around light and can fit into many spaces."

Shop the Look
Rejuvenation Blaine Pendant
Our Blaine Pendant features a glass shade that supports an elegant, angled metal shade—casting a warm glow both above and below the fixture. With a contemporary design, Blaine adds a modern touch to kitchens and dining nooks.
Rejuvenation West Slope Pot Filler
Overflowing with industrial influences, our West Slope Wall Mount Pot Filler is durable, functional, and simple in design. Featuring a flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute and a streamlined lever handle, it's an agile addition to your cooktop space.
Rejuvenation Altona Hardware
Inspired by Mid-Century Danish designs, our Altona Hardware Collection is crafted from solid brass and features a streamlined, tapered silhouette that is perfect for any kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room. Pair with our iconic Altona Lighting Collection for a coordinated look throughout your space.

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. 

To make an open-plan kitchen and dining area feel both connected and distinct, Dublin suggests using lighting from the same collection, but with different finishes—or furniture with the same materials, but different designs (like these Rye stools at the island and Kelso chairs under Rejuvenation’s new Oatfield table). Another new piece, the Illingsworth rug under the table creates a visual separation between the dining area and the kitchen.

Shop the Look
Rejuvenation Kelso Chair
Modern with a sculptural silhouette, our Kelso Arm Chair is defined by an elegantly curved backrest and a comfortably contoured solid wood seat. Designed to pair with our selection of dining tables, Kelso is available in three wood types.
Rejuvenation Holgate Shelf System
With industrial-inspired steel rails and wood shelves, our Holgate Modular Collection provides the framework for a versatile and customized shelving solution.
Rejuvenation Oatfield Extendable Rectangular Dining Table
Modern with traditional features, our Oatfield Dining Table is a statement-making piece perfect for any dining room. Designed to seat up to eight people, Oatfield features a pedestal base crafted with two unique sculptural legs. Available in white oak or walnut.

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.

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