When guests come over they will often gather around the counter to eat and mingle. Your entire kitchen just became a conversation piece. What does yours say?

The kitchen is quickly becoming an extension of the family room. People design their kitchen without walls so family members can interact easier. So to start, designers will position an island to allow those working in the kitchen to see into the next room.

This also means people are designing their kitchens with the cozy look and feel of a living room. Fancy curtains, crown molding, and upholstered chairs around the table are a common sight. Another favorite is to hide appliances behind cabinet doors. It may cause your guests to ask where the trash can or dishwasher is, but it will create a uniform look that’s appealing to the eye.

A living room look has opened the door for more texture and design elements. Adding a backsplash of tiles on the wall behind your sink or stove add a bit of texture to an otherwise boring space. But designs are also simple and orderly.

Heavy ornamentation is out. People want to walk into their kitchen and not feel overwhelmed by everything that’s going on. Contrasting shadows is a big trend. Try mixing white cabinets with black granite countertops. Or move the white to the top of the counter and add dark wood cabinets. Many homeowners worry that dark colors will make their kitchen feel smaller, but with the right balance of white your room will have a bold look.

Neutral colors seem to be the way to go. They open up the space in your kitchen. But neutral doesn’t have to mean boring. It allows you the freedom to be creative with your personality style. Add a splash of flair with some brightly colored art, light fixtures, or dishes. The best part is that when you get sick of one color you can easily change it up with new décor. No need to re-do your entire kitchen every time.

Light, light, and more light! Your kitchen should be inviting – not feel like a dungeon. One of the best ways to do this is with big windows that flood the room with natural light. Cove lights are a popular way to add lots of brightness without cluttering your headspace. Replace the hanging pan rack above your island for hanging light fixtures. This is another great place to let your personality show.