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1. Start with your countertops. "Countertops require careful contemplation, especially for a large island, as this can be the biggest single item of color and texture," says Ahmann. This large surface area is a great place to start and can be the basis for the rest of your kitchen's materials palette.
Choose a countertop that's durable and easy to clean. Justrich recommends looking into granite or composite materials like Caesarstone first. For a bigger statement, go for stainless steel, zinc or natural wood. Aim for light, smooth and reflective materials. Large-format tiles or slabs of stone will minimize grout lines and create a smooth and easy-to-clean surface.
Kelly recommends sticking with a single countertop material, with a slight variation at the pantry or island, for consistency and simplicity.
3. Use additional finishes to pull the space together. "Let contrast be the key," says Justrich. "If the counters are rich and dark, go with a lighter backsplash. A monochromatic approach is great, but if the countertop is visually active, calm it down on the backsplash." Choose a backsplash color that visually contrasts with your countertop and cabinetry. Floors are usually decided based on the surrounding rooms, but make sure the colors won't clash with what's in your kitchen.
The other little things — lighting, fixtures, bar stools and hardware — can tie the look of the kitchen together. Again, less is more here. "Kitchens of multiple materials and colors require a lot of finesse," says Ahmann.
Tell us: How did you choose your kitchen materials palette?
Homeowner Workbook: How to Remodel a Kitchen