View Photo Gallery: In these economically stressed times, kitchen design trends focus on clean lines and functionality.

This week’s Real Estate cover story looks at new trends in kitchen design. We all have heard that renovating your kitchen is one of the best investments a home owner can make, in terms of return when a home has sold.

But given today’s housing climate where homes are not appreciating as much as they used to, kitchen design trends have moved in a direction to reflect our more economically conscious times.

Don’t get me wrong. Kitchen design is still beautiful.

But as reporter Deborah Dietsch found, less is more. Kitchens are streamlined, and functionality is emphasized. Gone are the days when people would add two dishwashers and expensive wood flourishes over the range hood. Even granite countertops are not necessarily the must-have.

Yes, that’s right. Home owners these days are looking beyond granite.

Story: New kitchen trends

Here’s our in/out list for kitchen design, circa 2012:

IN: Remodeling existing space

OUT: Building an addition

IN: Under-counter refrigeration

OUT: Side-by-side refrigerator


(Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

General Electric Adora 30-inch gas convection range. (The Home Depot)

IN: Super-big metal sinks

OUT: Divided metal sinks

IN: Open shelving


(Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

OUT: Ornate cabinets

IN: Quartz countertops


Mike Smith and Diane Renfroe recently renovated their home in the Harbor Square development. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

OUT: Granite countertops


granite countertop in kitchen (bigstock)

IN: Chrome hardware

OUT: Nickel hardware

IN: Wooden floor


(Oliver Bunic/Bloombert)

OUT: Tiled floor

IN: LED lighting


(Mark Duncan/Associated Press)

OUT: Halogen lighting

IN: Island workspace

OUT: Built-in desk

IN: Contemporary, simple lines

OUT: Traditional, ornate details


(Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)