We’ve all been there, watching a renovation show when the hosts confront a design they declare dated or dead. And we look around to see that exact element in our newly remodeled kitchen (or on our renovation Pinterest board). So what are we regular homeowners to do with our out-of-fashion decor dreams?
Following a professional’s advice for HVAC repairs or pool installation is one thing. But when you’re doing a kitchen rehab, follow your bliss.
Sure, we all want to be in style—and redoing a cooking space with resale value in mind is important, too—but that doesn’t mean you should compromise on having the kitchen of your dreams.
Do you want to see in detail the difference between what regular folks want in a kitchen and what some pros say is passé? Here’s what homeowners still love in a kitchen, whether it’s in vogue or not.
1. Granite and butcher block counters
The truth is, sometimes there’s a disconnect between what design experts say is trending and how homeowners are renovating their kitchens.
For instance, Debra Kling of the eponymous color consultancy says granite should be retired “unless the one you’ve chosen is a dead ringer for marble.”
Instead, she recommends trading butcher block counters for “rift white oak or walnut slabs.” And that sounds absolutely lovely.
But granite, we just can’t quit you! The speckled material continually makes the top 10 list of desirable features among builders.
Ditto for butcher block, a warm and inviting wood tone that signals “chef’s kitchen” every time. Granite has been going strong since the ’90s when it replaced Formica counters. Even marble and quartz can’t seem to catch up.
2. White kitchens
So many of the 2022 Colors of the Year from the paint companies are every shade of green, including Olive Sprig (PPG), Evergreen Fog (Sherwin-Williams), and October Mist (Benjamin Moore). And yet, green kitchens aren’t really catching on.
Indeed, white is all right—and it continues to be the go-to paint color for cabinets, counters, walls, and more. The reason? White kitchens look clean and organized. And they offer a bright glow, whether you have plain overhead lights or a bank of sliding glass doors.
“White kitchens are a neutral color,” says Andra DelMonico, lead designer at Trendey. “So it’s a blank canvas for adding colorful decor, and this look makes selling easier and won’t detract from a home’s value.”
3. Gray shades
Not a fan of white? Gray tones are also still going strong in kitchen remodels. (Again, sorry, green!) This classy, moody color hides dirt and looks chic in loft-style apartments and traditional settings.
“Gray is still one of the most popular color choices,” says Kathy Stracke, owner of Five Star Painting in Wilmington, DE.
But Kling still laments this shade in no uncertain terms: “Enough gray—too much gray! As a wall color, it’s depressing, so switch to a warm white instead if you are a conformist at heart.”
4. Open kitchens
For a hot minute, open kitchens and great rooms were going by the wayside in favor of distinct areas to separate during the COVID-19 pandemic. (And sometimes, looking at someone’s meatloaf prep and a bunch of dirty dishes isn’t ideal.)
Yet, hordes of homeowners snatched this idea from the dustbin and propped it back up. And some pros even praise open kitchens as more practical.
“Have you tried doing a morning routine of breakfast and coffee in a cramped kitchen with multiple people?” asks DelMonico. “One time like this, and you’ll quickly realize why homeowners insist on the open-plan choice.”
And if you’re the main cook at your house, you don’t want to be stuck behind a wall toiling while everyone else watches playoff hockey. So open kitchens seem to be here to stay!
5. Stainless-steel appliances
Some pros say stainless steel is out, and matte appliances are in.
But stainless steel is timeless, say many homeowners who are keen to renovate. Sure it’s pricey and shows every single smudge and fingerprint. Yet lots of folks look past these drawbacks and still want stainless appliances in their homes.
Kling is still a stainless-steel fan but offers an alternative.
“Black ovens, especially when accented with antique brass or polished nickel knobs and details, will enjoy a similarly long moment,” she adds.
6. Tile backsplash
Trendy backsplashes like wood or chalkboard paint look great on TV. Kling votes for “integrated stone backsplashes, which meld with countertops to simplify and expand a modern space.”
But for many homeowners, tile tops glass, brick, and stone every time, whether you’re sticking with the classic subway look or a more bold Moorish design.
Some home experts would say that nothing goes out of style when putting in a backsplash. Yup, the world is your oyster in this department, so feel free to match this spot to your room’s color scheme or go in the opposite direction in terms of hue or texture.