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Michelle Christy, however, chose marble for her island top when she remodeled her kitchen this summer. “I like the veining in the marble,” she said. “I just love the clean look. It’s a little care. I had a couple of people say, ‘Don’t do it!’ But I did it and I love it.”

4. Tile backsplashes. Tile, however, was the top choice for backsplash accents. Half of respondents preferred it, with marble, stone slab and other materials trailing far behind. “A lot of people are using the backsplash as sort of the jewelry of the kitchen,” said Sheila Schmitz, Houzz.com editor. “That’s where they’ll put that splash of color, because it won’t be overwhelming.”

David Imboden said he found the backsplash the toughest decision of all. “There’s just so many choices,” he said. “The backsplash probably dates your kitchen more than anything.”

5. Floors. Hardwood floors led the list of choices, but here’s another area where tiles made a strong showing, coming in second. Remember good old linoleum? It garnered only 3 percent. Concrete did worse — 2 percent.

6. Stainless steel. A majority of respondents — 65 percent — favor stainless steel appliances. Some homeowners are combining appliance finishes or integrating stainless steel into cabinetry, and 12 percent are choosing white or color appliances.

7. Islands. They’re popular but not a must. While 61 percent said they’re incorporating an island, for some others, it would be the wrong choice, either because the room is too small or the configuration wouldn’t work.

“A kitchen has to be large enough for an island,” Nassetta said. “If you squeeze one in and it’s not the right width or too tight, the client won’t be happy in the end. If you’re constantly walking around an island just to have one … it will feel bad.”

David Imboden did much of the remodeling himself on his 300-square-foot kitchen, complete with a breakfast nook. He consulted a designer, but in the end Imboden realized that an island wasn’t the way to go. “It really didn’t fit right,” he said. “It would have blocked the nook.”

8. Transitional style. This look — a blend of traditional and contemporary — has grown in popularity, up from 59 percent to 69 percent by the end of 2012, according to the kitchen and bath association.

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