By Kathryn Weber

Kitchen Hoods Take Center Stage - Today's range hoods are now a focal point of the kitchen in addition to serving the important function of venting the stove.

Today's range hoods are now a focal point of the kitchen in addition to serving the important function of venting the stove.

The kitchen is the heart of every home, but these days it's also becoming the center stage for homeowners to make a style statement. It's the hot new spot in the house for keeping up with the Joneses -- and, judging by the prevalence of professional-grade appliances, the Joneses appear to be gourmet chefs.

Objects in the kitchen that used to be merely functional have been transformed into design elements, often with striking effect. Nowhere is that more evident than with the range hood. This once-humble apparatus, good for removing heat and odors from the kitchen, has been elevated to designer status and is taking over as the focal point of many kitchens.

Choices abound

When selecting a range hood, look for a model that fits with the style and design of the kitchen. You'll find an elegant hood to suit almost any motif, from traditional cabinetry to commercial to contemporary style with glass and stainless combinations. Is your kitchen done in Tuscan stucco? Don't worry, there's a range hood that can go with it.

For pure work value, a commercial style hood is the one to choose, especially if you have a commercial range that requires more venting. These hoods give the best performance and are always vented outdoors. And even commercial-style range hoods pack a punch design-wise.

Function first

However much you may care about style, operation is still key. Safety should be a priority when selecting a range hood, and those with exterior or outside ventilation are optimal. Some hoods are combined with other appliances, such as microwaves with venting features that mount over a cooktop or range. These are acceptable options for the average home cook, but they merely disperse air and heat rather than truly venting. The more you cook, the better your venting appliance should be.

There's more than meets the eye -- or less, depending on how you look at it -- to many of the more elaborate and decorative range hoods. The actual work of venting is done not by the "hood" you see but by a liner inserted in it. That means the exterior style of the range hood can be almost limitless.

More hood for the money

Commercial-grade stainless steel hoods like those seen in restaurants can run upwards of $3,000. A custom-designed mantle hood can also run into the thousands. If you're handy, you can create your own hood out of stock lumber and trim from a home center, or a mason can build a brick or stone stove enclosure.

Take a look at all the styles of range hoods available and you might find yourself itching for a kitchen remodel. If so, start with your hood and design the rest of your kitchen design around it. It will create a dramatic focal point that's sure to be the star in your kitchen.


© Living Space by Kathryn Weber





Home & Garden - Kitchen Hoods Take Center Stage