Realistically, there are certain kitchen trends you need to avoid if you are planning a remodel of your space. A new kitchen can be a great investment, and following trends that are past their peak or have not adapted to the way we use our homes today can leave you with buyer remorse.
When it comes to kitchen ideas, the first thing to remember is that your kitchen should be a space you enjoy. When you invest in a new kitchen, you will love it for many years to come. Make sure you spend enough time understanding your needs in this space, the kind of colors you are happy to live with, and the ergonomics that work for you.
Adding interesting finishes, textures and colors play a big role in the design of this all-important space. However, some palettes, materials, and layouts can quickly fall out of fashion, leaving you with a space that becomes difficult to use or looks dated.
Our expertly recommended tips not only ensure that your kitchen does not look dated, but they will also help you choose the right materials, colors and layout for a timeless design.
10 kitchen trends to avoid according to the experts
Fully open concept kitchens
Open concept kitchens may be one of the biggest kitchen trends of the 21st century, but the current trend for modern kitchens is to create defined zones to make it easy to work in.
“When it comes to kitchen organization, you should first consider zoning the space instead of going with a free open floor plan,” says Tom Howley (opens in new tab), founder of an eponymously tailored kitchen manufacturer. ‘Kitchen zones may include cooking, preparation, entertainment, dining, consumables and cleaning. Having designated areas will allow you to store and organize goods efficiently. ‘
With more people than ever before working from home, this ability to have better defined spaces is especially important. Broken floor plans that use room dividers, which retain the feeling of openness in open concept kitchens, but with physical, often glass sections, mean that areas can become private and, more importantly, quiet when the need arises.
2. Brass faucets
Brass is a design trend that has persisted so far and one that has been adopted into more kitchen styles than you ever thought it could have. Brass fixtures can be anything from industrial to ultra-luxury, but does this trend have an expiration date?
“One trend I’ve avoided is brass fixtures and finishes throughout a kitchen,” says interior designer Kendra Nash of Nash Design Group (opens in new tab). ‘I love brass, but finishes come and go, so the solution is to use brass as cabinet fittings or for light fixtures because they can be easily replaced.’
So where might you want to avoid using brass in a kitchen? “Then we will use polished nickel or matte black for the more permanent fixtures, such as the kitchen sink faucet and pot filling,” explains Kendra.
3. Kitchens in industrial style
Are industrial kitchens still on trend? Even though they are not as popular as they once were, they can still be done well. But there is a certain way to approach an industrial kitchen, and a certain way to not.
“I wanted to avoid the industrial look that came in very strongly a few years ago,” says Vancouver-based interior designer Andrea Rodman, founder of Andrea Rodman Interiors (opens in new tab). ‘The used plumbing pipe to hold shelves and exposed incandescent bulbs for sconces and pendants. It used to be very trendy, but now looks exaggerated and dated. ‘
If you are inspired by the industrial trend, there are more subtle industrial kitchen ideas you can bring into a space that suggests this aesthetic, instead of creating a pastiche of style. Focus on materials like wood and metal with patina or choose a cleaner industrial style like stainless steel. Avoid anything that is a cliché of industrial style – that trend car is already behind us.
4. Special devices
Choosing the latest smart technology can be a great way to make it feel like a super modern kitchen. But a few years later, and the groundbreaking little device may be the one to date your design.
“I think the biggest trend to avoid in kitchens is any kind of built-in special equipment, such as toasters, fryers, even coffee machines,” says New York-based interior designer Tyson Ness of Studio Ness (opens in new tab). ‘The technology in kitchen appliances is changing so fast that in a few years these top-of-the-line appliances become obsolete or break down and can be expensive to replace.’
“Often they are special sizes, so even when you replace it, it may not be a simple replacement – or there may not be a replacement available, leaving you with either a dated or broken appliance.”
5. Crystal glamor
Glamor is not the task for every kitchen renovation, but for some it is important to bring a sense of luxury to the kitchen. Once again, some finishes may feel like a shortcut to a luxurious look, but there is a way to derive glamor without relying on hasty design choices.
“Glam chandeliers and glittering kitchen handles with crystal-bling elements are definitely a trend I’ve seen come and go, for example,” says interior designer Andrea Rodman.
The trick to a modern luxury kitchen? Rely on materials that feel naturally luxurious. Rich woods and elegant kitchen countertops in marble or stone will give more of a sense of glamor than any glittery material will, plus it will not date as quickly.
6. All-white kitchens
Without a doubt, colorful kitchen cabinets have become a big trend in recent years, as homeowners are starting to think more about being happy at the moment, rather than considering the resale value when making interior design choices. However, all-white kitchens have also become popular, as a way for a kitchen to step into the background of an open concept home. However, is this a trend we should be following?
“An Instagram-worthy kitchen is not the right thing to do with design,” said Hugh Metcalf, deputy editor of Livingetc.com‘but when you spend money on a new kitchen, you also do not want it to fall flat and not impress your friends and family.’
‘When you were working for a specialty kitchen magazine, a photographer once told me that pictures of white kitchens get about half the likes on Instagram of dark or colorful kitchens.’
While a white kitchen idea can be soothing and relaxing to the eyes, you may find that it does not give you the same joy that a more effective choice would. “Once you’ve got the layout down, I think it’s sometimes helpful to think of a space as smaller vignettes,” Hugh says. ‘Ask yourself, what is that part of this space or point of view that evokes a reaction or emotion in me? The right all-white kitchen might do it for the right person, but it’s worth considering. ‘
7. High gloss cabinets
Occasionally, there may be a glossy kitchen (like this one) that almost convinces you that this trend might return, but it’s still one of the biggest kitchen trends to avoid, according to designers.
“High-gloss cabinets are a trend that has come and gone,” says Andrea Rodman, “they have a strong dated feel. Softer matte surfaces take their place as the more desired look.”
Not only have matte surfaces replaced gloss as an option of the day, but unique textured finishes have become more and more popular. “Visible grain on timber, especially on crown-cut oak and ash veneers, brushed metals, sanded, leather-treated or textured stone finishes and concrete are all used more often as kitchen materials,” explains Oana Sandu, lead designer at Blakes London (opens in new tab).
However, taking a chance on one of these new, textured finishes can be a gamble in terms of longevity. Although ribbed kitchen islands are super popular right now, we are not sure what the future will bring for this design trend.
8. Matching colorful appliances
Appliances should be as much of an investment as a kitchen, and if you choose a good quality product, it can last beyond the next incarnation of your home’s style. Getting bold with a colorful appliance as a series can be a way to make a big impact when it comes to your kitchen color ideas, but is it something you get tired of quickly?
“I would also say you should avoid going all-in on colorful countertops,” he says Livingetc.com‘s Hugh Metcalf. ‘Matchy-matchy interiors are a trend that is best left in the past in most cases, and colorful kettles, toasters and more can feel too purposefully put together in one room. Try to create more of an eclectic look, or even better, keep countertops hidden away behind a countertop door, ‘he says.
“And absolutely forget to match them with other utensils, baking sheets or treatments for kitchen windows.”
9. Patterned splashbacks
While a kitchen renovation is still one of the most popular projects homeowners are undertaking, the trends in apartment kitchen design have certainly seen a huge change. The trend today is not to follow trends at all!
‘I like to keep our kitchens somewhat timeless. A kitchen renovation is a massive expense, and I try to avoid anything that will look like it was’ on trend ‘in recent years,’ says Kirsten Blazek, interior designer at A1000XBetter (opens in new tab). “I currently stay away from all patterned backsplash tiles, and when I choose a color for a kitchen cabinet, I like to choose something that is not exact that it will date.”
10. Waterfall countertops
If you’re a statement board fan, this may be a bit controversial, but could the end of the waterfall trend be on the horizon?
“A waterfall edging countertop design is an aesthetic choice that we believe stems from a kitchen,” says Stephanie Waskins of California interior design studio Lark + Palm (opens in new tab).
A waterfall countertop, if you are not familiar, is a design where the countertop material runs down the side of a series of cabinets or a kitchen island as well as on the horizontal surface.
“In a few years, this will feel like a feature from a very specific date in time,” Stephanie says. “Not only is it without endurance from a design perspective, but it’s an expensive design choice, and adding the cost to the extra material can double the cost.”
How do I prevent my kitchen from going out of fashion?
The only thing that is difficult to predict with kitchen trends is how long they will last, which can make it difficult to choose the finish for your re-design.
Do you want a good rule of thumb? “In terms of materiality, I always try to stick to materials that have been around longer than I have,” says interior designer Tyson Ness. ‘These help a kitchen stay current – even when leaning into the popular trends of the moment. Marble, natural brass, stainless steel and stained wood can be timeless, especially depending on the details. Clean lines and classic materials help a kitchen maintain a timeless aesthetic. ‘
If you make a bold choice for a color or finish based on the latest trends, consider applying it to something that can be changed later. The kitchen color, for example, can always be repainted if it is a good quality wood finish, and even your kitchen lighting ideas are a great way to sneak into trendy materials that can be customized later if they fall out of style.