Kitchen Remodel Tips for a Timeless Design (Do's & Don'ts)

September 18, 2018

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A kitchen remodel may be the most significant home improvement project you ever can take on, and the one project that will offer the most bang for your buck when it comes time to sell your home. Even if you're looking to make some updates so that your kitchen works better for you and your family, you still want to think about adding kitchen features and details that you'll love for many years to come. These features will ensure you don't get tired of those updates too quickly and find yourself ready to rip out your home's kitchen all over again!

Kitchen trends that will last

  • A kitchen's cabinets may be the most noticeable feature in this space, so choose cabinetry in a classic and neutral style. Shaker-style cabinets, with a simple square door and minimal trim work, are often the best choice for timeless appeal in the kitchen. The simple design of shaker cabinets fit well in both traditional and modern homes, while their unadorned style makes them a perfect choice for larger kitchens, where lots of details might seem cluttered and busy.
  • A divided stainless steel sink is very common in kitchens but is also somewhat bland and boring. A better choice for timeless appeal and a splash of personality is a farmhouse sink. This wide and deep sink consists of one compartment and has what is called an apron in front. An apron is a part of the sink that overlaps the front of the counter, giving this area added visual appeal and breaking up the look of long rows of cabinets. Farmhouse sinks work well with any style of kitchen and offer a timeless look and appeal!
  • Solid stone countertops are also very popular for kitchens, and these materials have stood the test of time. Granite, marble, and quartz are incredibly durable and not likely to chip, crack, or fade, and their surfaces resist food stains as well as germs and bacteria. A solid surface is also more comfortable for food prep, versus bumpy tiles with lots of cracks and crevices that don't firmly hold a cutting board or small appliances.
  • Kitchen flooring should be very durable, as this may be the one room in the home that suffers the most foot traffic! A kitchen floor also needs to be impervious to stains, and should withstand damage due to high heat and humidity levels. Vinyl tile is a timeless choice for kitchen floors, and concrete flooring is also becoming very popular in kitchens, as it's easy to clean and won't hold heat, making it comfortable underfoot.
  • Neutral colors are also an excellent choice for kitchens, as these colors won't be overpowering or fall out of style too quickly. This color palette can include white, creamy white, cherry, or dark walnut cabinets, white or stainless steel appliances, and flooring in a tan shade. You might also consider yellow for kitchens, as this color is very bright and cheerful, and works with both modern and traditional kitchen styles.
  • An open layout that doesn't create an overly crowded space is also a timeless feature to consider when planning a remodel for your home's kitchen. As an example, while many kitchens have a center island, you don't want this piece to be so large and cumbersome that you bump into it every time you turn around! You also want to avoid appliances that are so large that they "jut out" into traffic areas, and seem out of proportion for the size of the kitchen.

kitchen remodeling

Kitchen trends to avoid

Timeless features can add instant value to your home and make a kitchen more attractive and functional overall, but some elements in a kitchen might actually detract from the space and quickly make it tiresome and outdated. Note some kitchen trends you might want to avoid, to ensure you enjoy your kitchen for many years to come:

  • Colored appliances may seem very trendy and fashionable when first installed, but they can quickly seem too bold and overpowering. If you want to add splashes of color in your kitchen, choose accessories you can easily swap out when you get tired of their look, such as barstools or cookware in a fun color.
  • Open shelving can allow you to show off your beautiful dishes and glassware, but this type of shelving also reduces the amount of storage space in the kitchen, as you can't easily stack plates, canned goods, and other items on an open shelf. Be judicious about adding open shelving in a kitchen; opt for one or two open areas, but keep the rest of the kitchen space outfitted with standard cabinets, for maximum storage.
  • Pot racks may seem like a great way to add storage in the kitchen, and to keep your pots and pans easily accessible. However, those exposed pots and pans will also collect airborne grease and food debris, and they may make a kitchen seem very cluttered and busy. Put your pots and pans away in kitchen cabinets, and add more storage with built-in shelves, cabinets that reach the ceiling, and enclosed racks you attach to walls instead.
  • Separate spaces for letter writing, organizing paperwork, and doing homework were very trendy in kitchens some years back, but many people today work on compact tablets and store papers digitally, and don't need this dedicated space in a home's kitchen. You might include a small area in the kitchen with a compact desk and room for devices to sit while charging, but avoid wasting space in the kitchen for phonebooks you don't keep and letters you never actually write!

Modern kitchen features

Timeless and classic kitchen features will be appealing for many years to come, but this doesn't mean that you should avoid adding a few modern kitchen features to your home as well! Updated features in the kitchen can improve the value of your home, and make the space more functional and welcoming for you and your family.

modern kitchen

Check out some modern kitchen features you might consider including in your upcoming renovation:

  • Add a coffee station. People today often appreciate more than just a standard cup of coffee in the morning, and may want to grind their coffee beans, brew a latte or espresso, and experiment with different coffee flavors. An area of the kitchen that will accommodate all the small appliances needed for making your favorite cup of coffee, as well as a cupboard built around the tools and bags of beans you need, can be a great modern feature to add to your kitchen.
  • Add a separate cooler or mini refrigerator to a lower cabinet area. This cooler is a great place to keep wine, since it will have a temperature control independent from the kitchen's main refrigerator. You might also use this cooler to keep food and drinks for the kids, so you don't need to get up and get them a snack from the refrigerator every time they're hungry!
  • A built-in recycling center is a must-have for many homeowners today, as more and more people are looking to "go green" and recycle as many household items as possible. However, no homeowner wants to see ugly recycling bins sitting next to their kitchen island, or taking up valuable storage space in a pantry. A built-in recycling center can be compact and easy to access, with hidden drawers and cabinets that keep those messy bins hidden from view.
  • A separate pet feeding station can be a good choice for a modern kitchen; this can include a ledge that holds bowls for food and water, and which is built to coordinate with the kitchen's cabinets, and a separate cupboard space for food, treats, medicine, leashes, and the like.

When remodeling or renovating your kitchen, you also want to think about modern features that will make the space more functional for cooking. One such feature is track lighting, which allows you to aim light fixtures at various areas of the kitchen countertops, making it easier to read cookbooks and prep food. Consider, too, an appliance garage, which is a set of shelves behind a door, built specifically for storing away small kitchen appliances.

Soft-close drawer and doors, which keep cabinets and drawers from being slammed shut, reduce wear and tear on these pieces and also makes the kitchen quieter! Another feature to consider is a pot filler, or a separate faucet installed over the stovetop, allowing you to fill a pot of water without having to move it from the sink to the stove. A pot filler is a great modern feature you'll want to add to your kitchen if you do lots of stovetop cooking.

How to add storage to a kitchen

When remodeling your kitchen, you want to think about more than just the cabinet and countertop styles and the size of the sink. Every kitchen needs adequate storage, so consider a few tips for your remodeling project:

  • Cut insets into a wall. You can add drywall around the wall studs and beams to create recessed shelving that is perfect for storing and displaying decorative platters, tea sets, cookbooks, and even artwork and decorations.
  • Add slide-out shelving to all the cabinets. This feature doesn't necessarily add storage to the kitchen, but it ensures that you're making full use of all available space in the kitchen's cabinets, including the far corners that you might not take advantage of just because they're not so accessible.
  • Add hooks and racks to kitchen walls. A spice rack above the stovetop, or a row of hooks for utensils, can mean getting these items out of drawers and keeping them very accessible. A long magnetic strip can hold carving knives, so you don't need to clutter up your countertop with a knife block, or fill up a drawer with all those knives!

Unique kitchen features

Choosing timeless and classic features for a kitchen doesn't mean that you need to live with a bland, "cookie cutter" space with no personality or style. Consider a few ways to add a bit of uniqueness to your home's kitchen, without losing its timeless appeal and classic look:

  • Install beadboard paneling. When added to the lower half of the walls, beadboard paneling can add texture and visual interest to any room, without being overwhelming and making the kitchen look cluttered and busy. You might also paint the beadboard a neutral color, such as creamy white, and then paint the upper half of the walls something a bit bolder and more to your style, such as a shade of blue, yellow, or green. This design works very well if your kitchen's cabinets are a neutral white, as the bold wall color keeps them from merely blending into the background.
  • Add a chair rail. A chair rail is a piece of molding that runs the length of a room, usually about three feet above the floor. The chair rail itself adds visual interest to any space, but it can also work to create separation for different wall colors. When adding a chair rail, you might paint the lower part of the walls a bold color, and then keep the upper half a neutral white or eggshell. Consider this type of color scheme if the kitchen cabinets are very dark, as the neutral white will help them to stand out and keep the kitchen from looking dull and downright muddy.
  • Painting the walls is an excellent way to add personality to a kitchen, as you can quickly change paint colors over the years! Replacing cabinets or appliances can be very expensive and time-consuming, but painting over a bold wall color may only take a few hours or a weekend at most. Have fun with your kitchen's wall colors, and change them when they seem too bold or downright bland.
  • You can add style to your kitchen with eclectic or bold cabinet handles and drawer pulls, as these can also be easily changed when you get tired of them! You might choose oil-rubbed bronze pieces for a traditional style, or opt for oversized silver hardware for something more modern.

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