Design Basics: 3 Kitchen Design Don’ts & 5 Do’s

When you are renovating your home, you are hoping to create a space that you will love for the next few years. Five years at least! While it’s pretty close to impossible to predict what will come into fashion down the road, there are ways to avoid becoming dated quickly. Certain things that might look wonderful right now will be out before you know it. So what are these things to avoid?

1 – Dark granite countertops

I love the look of real stone – I really really do – but black or close-to-black granite countertops has become so overdone. Paired with medium-to-dark wood cabinetry and black appliances, this look is basically way too dark. If you are installing it now, you will probably regret it sooner rather than later. However, as with every “rule” there are exceptions: black granite countertops with white cabinetry is very classic and will probably stand the test of time. (I am thinking specifically of Ina Garten’s lovely kitchen).

2 – One horizontal band of “accent tile” on a backsplash

There will always be great ways to incorporate a splashy accent tile into your space. This one isn’t it! What makes it even worse is when the band is interrupted by the outlets and light switches, like in this photo. Is this just a West Coast thing? I almost never see this in blogs or magazines so why so many people are insistent on incoporating this is beyond me. Why not try something a little different? How about doing a plain tile everywhere with just mosaic behind the stove or sink area? You don’t have to eschew fancy tile entirely but thinking of new way to use it will keep your kitchen from looking dated. Or, on the flip side, really commit to the look and use only “accent” tile. After all a backsplash usually requires a pretty low overall quantity of tile, and it’s a very visible element in the kitchen. It’s definitely worth splashing out on!

3 – Coloured Appliances

{Viking makes great appliances but I am not so sure about these ones}

These are the big thing right now but I think they are to be avoided for the most part. If you really love red and are doing an all red kitchen anyway, I think using coloured appliances would be ok. Maybe. Proceed with extreme caution! After all didn’t we already learn this lesson in the seventies? I think sticking to stainless (still my preference oh yes), white or black appliances (depending on the rest of the kitchen) is much safer. You might think cream will blend in with your cabinets more but the cream colour is difficult to match or work with in the future. Stay away!

*whew* And now that I’ve gotten all of that off of my chest, here are some kitchen elements that I love:

1 – Waterfall Countertops

{Image by Ikea Fans}

It’s sleek, modern and durable. What a great way to finish the edges of your island. I especially like this look when the cabinetry is dark and the countertop is white.

2 – Slide-in Range

{Range by Jenn Air}

Slide-in ranges have controls on the front. They don’t visually interrupt the lines of your backsplash, which allows you to show off your great new tiles. Similar models are available in electric (ceramic top) or gas.

3 – Herringbone Patterns

{Image by Project Pretty Blog}

4 – Wood Floors

{Image by House Obsession}

Traditionally, wood floors were thought too delicate for a hardworking environment like a kitchen. But personally, I find them much more comfortable and warmer than tile. Water isn’t really an issue as long as you attend to spills quickly. I also like using the same materials throughout a space, especially when that space is on the small side. So if are an condo dweller who is installing hardwood, why not run it through your kitchen as well?

5 – Two-tone cabinetry

{House Beautiful 2010 Kitchen by the ever so talented Jeff Lewis}

Not as crazy as it sounds I swear! I am thinking specifically of an island being finished different colour than the rest of the cabinetry. The idea here is to make it look more like a piece of furniture. This works really well in traditional style kitchens and is a great way to add contrast and interest. If you really want love this, try doing different countertop styles as well.

If you are looking to give your space a dose of fabulosity – whether you are splashing out or on a budget – drop me a line at jennifer (dot) e (dot) stevens (at) gmail (dot) com. Check out my Hire Me! page for more details.

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