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Categories & CRITERIA


The Elite Design Awards 2024 competition features a total of 10 categories, with five categories dedicated to the Zonavita brand and five categories dedicated to the Decor brand.

Small Kitchens

This popular category includes Projects that beautifully maximize style and function. Kitchens under 300 sq. ft. can be entered.


Large Kitchens

Kitchens in this category are sure to wow, with plenty of room for stunning cabinetry solutions. Only large kitchens over 300 sq. ft. can be entered. 


Specialty Rooms

Any other cabinet project such as laundry, bath, and entertainment rooms.


Undeniably Different

Undeniably different

This category celebrates exceptional designs in the Small Kitchens, Large Kitchens, and Specialty Rooms categories.


People’s Choice

This category is an open vote contest of popularity and aesthetic preference, including entries from Small Kitchens, Large Kitchens, and Specialty Rooms.


“People’s Choice” category will include all entries from the three categories mentioned above. Designers are allowed to share their projects with coworkers, family, and friends and encourage them to vote between August 2nd to August 16th.

“Undeniably Different” — this category celebrates exceptional designs in the Small Kitchens, Large Kitchens, and Specialty Rooms categories. Chosen by Decor staff, the winning project will be innovative and original, showcasing unique use of materials and creative thinking.

Please also be aware that the judging panel reserves the right to move projects to an alternative category if deemed appropriate.


The competition will be scored on the following general criteria. Consider this rubric when submitting your projects for the best chance to win! 

Creative use of Decor Materials

Cabinet Configuration & Ergonomics

Adherence to Design Principles

Integration of Design Trends

Popularity (People’s Choice)

Complete Design

Project Photo

Only one winner per category will be selected with a maximum of one award per Elite Design Awards competition that can be won with the exception for the Grand Prize.


A panel of judges will evaluate and consider eligible entries. The judges’ decisions are final, and by submitting entries, participants agree to these Official Rules and Regulations as well as the judges’ final and binding decisions in all matters related to the competition.  

For both Decor and Zonavita, the top five nominations from each entry category will be selected as finalists. 25 finalists per brand. The winner will be revealed at the Elite Design Awards event on October 3, 2024. The winner of the Grand Prize will be selected from among the five category winners in each respective brand during the Elite Design Awards event. 

People's Choice

The People’s Choice category is voted on by the community rather than a judges panel. This category will contain all entries from the 3 categories: Small Kitchens, Large Kitchens, and Specialty rooms.  

Designers can share their entry with coworkers, family, and friends to vote on their projects. 

The voting will be open from August 2nd to August 16th.

The submit entry button will change to a People’s Choice link that designers can share with coworkers, family, and friends. 

All People’s Choice category finalists and winners will be announced at the same time as others. 

Tips and Tricks

10 tips for taking photos of your kitchen.

Before you start shooting, make sure the kitchen is clean and well-organized. Remove any unnecessary items or clutter that might distract from the main focus. Choose a few well-chosen items such as an abstract piece of art, a vase, or fresh flowers when staging. 

Find the best angle to showcase the kitchen. Shooting horizontally from the kitchen island can provide a dynamic perspective, giving viewers a comprehensive view of the space. This angle often captures countertops, appliances, and design elements in a visually appealing way.

Ensure that your camera is level and avoid tilting it either up or down. Keeping the camera straight maintains the lines in the frame and prevents distortion, contributing to a balanced composition. Distorted lines can be distracting and may not accurately represent the kitchen’s layout

Experiment with different angles to capture the kitchen’s beauty from various perspectives. Shooting from a corner or slightly off-center can add depth to the image, showcasing the layout and features effectively. 

*Remember that horizontal photographs are often preferred for showcasing kitchens. They provide a natural and expansive view, allowing viewers to appreciate the entire kitchen space. Horizontal shots can convey a sense of openness and highlight design elements well. 

A stable camera is essential for sharp images. A tripod helps eliminate camera shake, allowing you to use longer exposure times if needed. This is especially important in lower light situations. Here are some recommendations for camera tripods and iPhone tripods.

Whenever possible, use natural light. Plenty of light is essential for a great image. Position yourself so that the light falls onto the kitchen, avoiding harsh shadows. Early morning or late afternoon often provides soft, flattering light. 

Ensure accurate color representation by setting the white balance according to the lighting conditions. This can be adjusted manually or set to an appropriate preset on your camera. 

Choose a moderate aperture (f/4 to f/8) to ensure a deep depth of field. This will keep both close and distant elements in focus, showcasing the entire kitchen. When using a DSLR this will be set for you in automatic shooting mode, use manual mode to adjust yourself. If you are using an iPhone you can test using different shooting modes like panoramic, cinematic, or portrait mode.

Pay attention to composition. Use leading lines, such as countertops or cabinets, to guide the viewer’s eye through the image. Consider the rule of thirds for a balanced composition. 

Capture the small details that make the kitchen unique. Close-up shots of stylish utensils, fresh ingredients, or unique textures can add interest to your photo set. 

Use photo editing software such as Lightroom or Photoshop to enhance your images. Adjust brightness, contrast, and color balance if needed. Be careful not to over-edit, aiming for a natural, well-lit look. 

Once the photos are edited, you need to export them from your editing software. Some programs have pre-made settings for print or digital use or sliders for high to low resolution. There are guides online with setting recommendations for different platforms and mediums (for where you will use the photos). As a rule, we recommend exporting high resolution JPEG or PNG images.

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