Today’s kitchens can be functional, fashionable

Kitchens today really are cooking with the help of new materials that can help the most functional room in the house also be fashionable.

High-end laminates today feature wood grains — especially darker woods — and solid colors mixed in, as is popular in Europe. You can even get laminates that look like stainless steel. Mixing laminates that look like stainless steel with wood grains has become popular with designers, often as a bank of drawers or a top section.

Here are just a few more hot items found in the coolest kitchens today:

• Personalized storage such as open shelves, a built-in wine rack, china displays or a wall of cubbyholes.

• The kitchen triangle. The refrigerator, stove and sink are set up so the cook easily can move among them unimpeded.

• Many families are warming to the idea of the warming drawer — in case the game runs late or a big dinner isn’t coming together all at once. With a warming drawer, you don’t have to worry about food getting too cold or dried out.