Renovating a kitchen? These trade secrets can help you achieve your dream kitchen

(BPT) – It’s no secret people like to renovate their kitchen —the heart of the home, where typical American families spend most of their at-home time. However, it can be overwhelming for many homeowners to start designing their dream kitchen without guidance from a professional.

Renowned designer and artistic advisor to LG Studio, Nate Berkus, has designed countless kitchens in his 20 years in the industry and knows the secret to creating a forever kitchen, one that will stand the test of time and grow with you and your family.

“During a renovation, picking a place to start can be very overwhelming because there are so many decisions to make — from countertops to seating and light fixtures to appliances,” says Berkus. “You want your kitchen to represent who you are and your lifestyle. Reach for things you love, mixed in with timeless elements that will stand the test of time.”

Newell Turner, editorial director of Hearst Design Group, agrees. “It’s easy to want to replicate a kitchen you see in a magazine when designing your own space,” Turner says. “However, it’s important to incorporate small design touches that make the space your own. That may mean bringing in elements from other rooms or making an unexpected design choice to create a space that is truly yours.”

Berkus offers his latest and greatest trade secrets on what makes for a well-designed space, particularly for the hardest working room in your home – the kitchen:

Create character

There is so much inspiration out there, but my rule of thumb is to reach always for what you love – things that tell your story and reflect who you are.

Often that means reaching for what you already live with and love. Think baskets, vases, picture frames, geodes and crystals, woven bowls and brass candlesticks. These are things that will make the room feel layered and lived in. Repurposing what you already own and love is the easiest way to make your design personal without costing you a thing.

Build a beautiful foundation

There are a few things in your kitchen that are truly worth splurging on. If something has been used for the last 50 years ago, chances are it’s still a sure bet. Think white subway tile, marble countertops and top-of-the-line appliances to create a timeless kitchen. Consider a premium appliance line like LG Studio that marries high-end technology with a beautiful aesthetic to serve as the foundation for your dream kitchen.

If you have a large family or love to entertain, make sure you have a refrigerator that can go the distance. The LG Studio 3-door counter-depth refrigerator has a ton of shelf space and a handy “door-in-door” feature that is perfect for kids.

Lighting is key

Great lighting automatically sets the mood of a room. Since the kitchen is the heart of the home, you want to create a well-lit environment that is functional, but that also looks good. Include lighting in all the places you’ll need it – over dining areas, under cabinets and in entryways.

One favorite trick I use in every kitchen I design – a dimming feature that allows you to set the scene, whatever the occasion.

Save smartly

When it comes to designing any space, it’s all about well-designed basics such as stainless steel appliances and marble countertops, but certain elements like vintage bar stools and lighting fixtures can add so much character to your space, and can be picked up in an afternoon at your favorite flea market. Vintage and antique stores in your neighborhood are a great place to find one-of-a-kind pieces that feel special.

Switch up your seating

Something that feels unexpected and interesting in the kitchen is to mix up the seating. Experiment with different seating configurations, like adding a bench to a traditional or farmhouse-style dining table, or mixing and matching vintage dining chairs.

You can even go a step further and create a seating area with a sofa and area rug to really set the scene and create a space that can be hardworking for your family. Kitchens are where people gather to eat and spend quality time together, so you want the design to reflect your family’s personality.