This reader asks how to choose the right hood fan for her kitchen – more specifically, a classic and timeless hood fan that relates to her kitchen design. Which range hoods are trendy and should be avoided? Here’s my advice.
Before we get started, I want to let you know that I’m looking for a full-time Senior Colour Designer for my eDesign department. If you are a designer that can take one look at a room and know what it needs or what is wrong and how it could be better, this position is for you. See the posting here.
I am interested in knowing your position on vent hoods these days, and how one goes about staying ‘classic & timeless’ with them.
We built in ‘08 – I absolutely would have hired you if I had known about you then. I know I made undertone mistakes, and I’m one who considers myself to be pretty good with colour.
The one we chose was ‘the latest thing’ then, and I do still see chimney style hoods going in now but I’m unenamoured with ours because of the streaking on the faux stainless finish which we can’t get out to save our lives.
I’m wondering if we should go to the expense and mess to rip it out and put in an in-cabinet hood? With the moulding on the cabinet uppers on either side, I would think the carpentry bill could add up.
But you did that, didn’t you – and not all that long after your initial reno? What was your experience, and what advice in general would you give to those embarking on a new build now? Should your vent hood be about the overall look and feel of the space? These decisions can definitely haunt us in the years that follow a new build!
I’ve attached a current picture of the hood head-on along with an older picture of the kitchen overall for context.
How to choose a classic and timeless range hood fan.
This is such a great question because this post (and my advice) is overdue on this blog. The stainless steel hood fan trend is definitely OUT and frankly, it’s was always too contemporary for most kitchens anyway.
To be clear, the world of automatically (and by that I mean, without considering the style of the kitchen) installing a stainless hood fan INSTEAD of a concealed or custom hood fan is what I’m calling “dated.”
Sure, it’s definitely less expensive than the custom one. And by itself, expensive does not equal timeless. But, your hood fan will likely be a major focal point of your kitchen. What kind of statement do you want it to make?
My stainless hood fan (I’m trying to remember) was around $700, but my new custom hood fan (below) cost almost $3000 including the fan inside the millwork.
When I renovated my bathrooms three summers ago, I decided to replace the hood fan in my kitchen and I’m so glad I did, it actually relates to the kitchen and the scale is much better for the space.
You can even see that the way it was photographed before didn’t include the shelves because there was too much space on the left side, almost like a piece of art was required to fill in the space.
In order to fill this space, some forced branches would have been great, just like this (below). And notice the lovely integrated hood fan behind this kitchen as well:
Via Decor Pad
Here’s my readers hood fan:
When you see it in the context of this more transitional kitchen design, the stainless hood fan does look really modern. Although this kitchen definitely slants in a modern direction with the lighting and counter stools so it doesn’t look as out of place here like it might in so many other kitchens (including mine).
Free standing hood fans
I think the best choice for most kitchens is a free standing hood fan. I also prefer a free standing hood fan to be, well, free standing. When I’m consulting with clients about a free standing hood fan, I always advise them to leave some space on each side of the hood fan if they are planning to install one directly between the cabinets.
This kitchen and family room that I helped my lovely client Deborah with (below) had a beautiful transformation with a new free standing hood fan:
The cabinets in this kitchen (below) are flat and modern. So, they work well with the straight, modern hood fan. And it looks better alone as well. Of course the juxtaposition of the Parisian inspired traditional moulding is a really pretty design combination too!
Custom, integrated hood fans
Again, this modern stainless hood fan (below) looks great set inside the cabinets. It helps that it looks like a custom fit. It is a nice update on the commercial grade kitchen look that made the stainless chimney hood fan so popular, because it looks more integrated into the overall kitchen design.
And, this photo (below) is a good, simple design to replace my reader’s stainless hood fan and integrate it with the cabinets on either side:
This farmhouse style hood fan (below) is commonly seen in this style of kitchen. It’s a modern rustic take on the custom hood fan.
BHG | Photography by Brie Williams
And, since the farmhouse/black and white trend came along, hood fans have become even more of a design feature than they were throughout the grey trend. This is partly because the farmhouse look moved away from the harder edged professional industrial kitchen look that was big for at least a decade, and towards a warmer look.
Hood fans are a focal point in your kitchen design.
Trends aside, the most important reason to give your range hood design careful consideration, and some space in the budget, is that it is usually the focal point of a kitchen.
Along with island pendants, which are the jewelry of the kitchen, the hood fan defines the personality of the room that is the heart of the home. Cooking is the main event and and the hood fan sets the tone.
This means that, with some very contemporary exceptions, the practical stainless chimney hood will likely look a bit standard and lacklustre – especially crammed in among transitional upper cabinets. The new trend towards custom, integrated hoods, while admittedly more spendy, is about solving the issue of a visual let down right at the heart of your kitchen.
Hope this helps you choose the right range hood fan for your kitchen design!
PS. If you already have a stainless hood fan (just like I did) just style your kitchen and you’ll stop noticing all those things that aren’t perfect. Perfect is boring anyway.
If you need help creating a kitchen that fills you with happiness when you walk in, check out our kitchen eDesign package here.