The sleek look of stainless steel and full overlay cabinet doors still appeals to many consumers, but there's a budding contingent of folks who want just the opposite of sleek. Mixing materials and styles is becoming a hot option for those looking to put some character in their kitchens. For them, “matchymatchy in kitchens — just as everywhere else in the house — is a no-no,” explains New York-based interior designer Elaine Griffin. “What gives a room warmth and personality is mixing up textures, patterns, and colors.” And consumers can do that without breaking the bank, thanks to increasingly adventurous options from manufacturers. For a smaller-scale remodel, the new laminate countertops from Wilsonart offer a broad style palette at a friendly price point. From wood grains to granite to polished metal, the materials feature various sheens and can be paired with the company's Decorative Metals for a backsplash or ceiling application.

Eclectic combinations make for unique kitchens.
Wilson Art Eclectic combinations make for unique kitchens.

“Manufacturers are getting more creative, because consumers are looking for an individual look — unique, not outlandish,” says Connie Edwards, CKD, CBD, Timberlake Cabinet Company's director of design. The explosion in the variety of cabinet door styles offered over the past few years is due to that consumer demand, she explains. Many cabinet manufacturers are expanding the door styles in their lower price points, providing greater selection to homeowners on a budget. Because of this growing wealth of options, homeowners who want to create their own looks from the ground up can do so with stock cabinetry and other readily available materials, rather than with pricey custom products.