The Heart of the Home
The kitchen is the heart of a home, and any updates you make to this central space can improve the home’s overall appearance and value. The wrong design choices for your kitchen, however, can have the opposite effect—it'll make your whole property look dated. If you’re spending the time and money to renovate your kitchen, do so wisely and plan a space that stands the test of time.
If you’re tired of the clutter you've amassed after spending so much time at home these past couple of years, you’re not alone. Though they look stylish if you live in a showroom, open shelves put our messy collections and accumulations on display. Instead, opt for creative organization solutions that keep your stuff streamlined. These new options are increasingly important with the rise of multi-generational homes where household belongings have multiplied.
While granite was once a gold standard of kitchen design, its popularity is waning. Speckled granite, in particular, is out in favor of solid or veined solid surfacing. While natural stone can be appealing, it’s also harder to maintain than engineered stone countertops like quartz. Quartz doesn't have to be resealed regularly, either.
RELATED: What's the Difference? Granite vs. Quartz
Saving space by installing the microwave over the range has been standard kitchen protocol for years, but that trend is on its way out. As home buyers begin to favor universal design principles, keeping necessities within reach of the entire family is becoming ever more important. Consider moving the microwave to under-the-counter nooks and drawers instead.
RELATED: Easy Ways to Make Your Home More Disability-Friendly
Zillow Digs home in Chicago, IL
Overhead Pot Racks
Pot racks certainly had their moment in kitchen design. Placing a large pot rack over a central kitchen island, however, is no longer your best bet. Pots and pans are now more often stashed neatly in drawers as opposed to living out in the open. If you prefer to keep your pans visible or more easily accessible, try hanging a few of your favorites on the backsplash or on an empty wall versus in a jumble of cookware overhead.
Putting a desk in the kitchen was all the rage for about a decade, because after all, most family life does revolve around the kitchen. The problem is that a kitchen desk just ends up stacked with papers and clutter that you don’t want to see. Pass on the desk, and relegate household business to the home office.
Zillow Digs home in North Castle, NY
Trend reports claim that this year is all about metal hardware, but all metals aren’t equal. Opt for slim and sleek options over the chunky, distressed cabinet hardware that you might have in your home now. The good news is that swapping out hardware is fairly simple and inexpensive, which makes it easy to modernize your kitchen without a major financial commitment. Replacing oil-rubbed bronze knobs with matte or satin black, for example, will bring your kitchen into the 21st century.
Distressed and glazed cabinet finishes are a fixture in many country kitchens. While this style of cabinet rose in popularity over the last decade, it's now falling out of fashion. When choosing finishes for a cabinet replacement or refacing, choose more modern looks, whether crisp paint colors or clean wood tones.
RELATED: 21 Things That Make Any House Old and Outdated
Zillow Digs home in Paradise Valley, AZ
White Farmhouse Sinks
It once seemed that homeowners would never tire of a white farmhouse sink’s throwback charms, but today’s sinks are new twists on old favorites. Instead of plain white porcelain, consider upgrading to an apron front sink that’s made of an unusual material such as fireclay, stainless steel, copper, or even wood and stone.
Zillow Digs home in Denver, CO
Faux finishes in the kitchen are now on the wane. Today, simplicity reigns supreme. If you’re updating your kitchen, ditch complicated treatments and go for fresh paint in bold or neutral tones. For a pop of fun, choose a peel-and-stick wallpaper for an accent wall.
Zillow Digs home on Bainbridge Island, WA
It is nice to keep your small appliances off the countertop. But at the expense of the space an appliance garage requires? The trend of large cabinet drawers and big pantries is here to stay, and there is plenty of room in there for your toaster.
RELATED: 15 Smart Ways to Store Kitchen Necessities
Zillow Digs home in Raleigh, NC
Skinny backsplashes are out of style, we are happy to report. A ceramic tile or glass backsplash that stretches from counter to cabinets is much easier to keep clean, and is more likely to catch spills and splatters. What's even better than a sizable tiled backsplash? A stylish slab that'll allow you to sidestep grout cleaning altogether.
Skipping Window Treatments
Keeping windows open and unfettered by shades or curtains, which emulates urban loft-style living, has been a trend for several years. The tradeoff for this chic style is a complete lack of privacy and contending daily with the glare of unfiltered sun. The good news is that it's easy to change your mind about this decor decision: Skip curtains and valences and opt for simple, minimalist window treatments like semi-sheer cellular shades, which look fresh and will give you a respite from the sunlight.
Tile countertops were big in the ‘70s and ‘80s and made a comeback recently in more minimalist designs. Though they are less expensive than granite and other solid natural countertop surfaces, tiled countertops are a maintenance headache. It’s hard enough to clean grout on a vertical surface in a shower. But on a horizontal surface, where crumbs get stuck in the grout lines? Forget it.
RELATED: How to Remove Tile
Zillow Digs home in Fontana, CA
There’s been a recent bright pop of color in appliances to break up the sea of stainless that’s reigned supreme for years. Just beware that a trend is a trend, and will eventually (sometimes sooner than later) fade. Remember avocado and goldenrod?
RELATED: Solved! The Best Time to Buy New Appliances at a Discount
Zillow Digs home in San Antonio, TX
The pandemic has caused many homeowners to eschew open floor plans in favor of more walls and privacy. With plenty of time spent at home in recent years, an increase in noise and clutter has more homeowners craving privacy and more contained work areas, which may include the kitchen table or island. If you're updating your kitchen and want the best of both worlds, consider installing a modernized pass-through window with seating.
RELATED: 15 Fresh Takes on the Eat-in Kitchen
Minimalist kitchens don’t have to be all white: Earth tones and natural materials on trend, but still keep the vibe simple. If you have your mind set on white cabinets, forego all-white finishes and opt for touches of light woods and eye-catching hardware. Pick bold paint colors for kitchen island cabinets or walls, or elevate an accent wall with artwork or wallpaper for more visual interest.
Formal Dining Areas
Comfort is the name of the game now, for every room of the home—including the kitchen. These days, no one wants to eat at a formal, uncomfortable dining table, which is why homeowners are ditching formal dining areas in favor of cozy breakfast nooks. Consider replacing sharp edges and starkness with banquettes in soothing colors.
Patterned, Colorful Backsplashes
Save colorful patterns and murals for your gallery wall. On a backsplash, a busy design is a commitment that can limit other decor choices. (Besides, bold patterns are more likely to look dated after a couple of years.) Instead, choose neutral colors and play with shapes and stacking patterns.
Frosted Glass Pendants
Good lighting is essential to kitchen design. Pendant lights are a terrific choice for your cooking and eating zones because they can add style to your space and provide task lighting. Forego frosted glass options and choose the latest clear glass shades to bring light and openness to the room. To avoid the glare, try a solid matte shade.
RELATED: Solved! How to Create a Beautiful and Effective Kitchen Lighting Design
However much you may love farmhouse style, it's time to ditch the “Family” and "Gather" signs hanging above the sink. As homeowners seek to infuse more personality into their spaces, paintings and other fine art are finally finding their way into the kitchen. Instantly update your kitchen by tossing the inspirational quotes and word signs, and upgrading your walls with real artwork that speaks to you.
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!