Ya'll there is nothing worse than a dated kitchen. You know they ones...whether it is the avocado of the 70's, to the red oak wood cabinets of the 80's, to the granite bonanza of the 90's we have all seen them! I can say with out a doubt, I have never met with a client that said, "I sure would like to recreate that kitchen from the 80's."
To be fair, the trends of the 70's, 80's, & 90's were very much lack of access to great design options. Here in the 2020's timeless kitchen design is accessible now more than ever! With online shopping resources, a timeless kitchen is literally at your fingertips. However, with SOOOO many options we do run the risk of falling into a trap of the trends. Thoughtful design is imperative. I've got you!
I find myself lured by trends just as much as the next guy, but when you are spending huge amounts of money on a kitchen or bath renovation, you kind of want it to last a while, right? To achieve a level of timelessness, I've distilled 7 elements/guidelines that are seen over and over in my kitchen designs. Scroll down to the bottom of my post for my favorite online shopping resources and a little surprise!
1.) CABINETRY COLORS
Stick with neutrals. I am partial to a white kitchen, in my opinion you can NEVER go wrong with white. There is a reason it has stood the test of time. However...there are many other neutrals in the gray, green, blue, and beige that are not white. If thoughtfully chosen well will stand the test of time. White or neutral does NOT EQUAL boring. I can promise you of that! You will also notice in many of my designs, a contrasting island or bar area. Blue is a favorite, but the tone of blue you choose is very important. I also love black, gray, green, yellow. Again. Picking a more neutral tone of these colors helps to create a timeless feel.
Wood cabinetry is also making a come back. Gone are the days of the "90's golden oak" and "cherry traditional". Whether it is used on a contrasting island. For a built in pantry or entire kitchen When used well, it can sing! But again, sometimes too much of a good thing...can fall flat!
2.) CABINETRY STYLE
My all time favorite style of cabinetry is inset cabinetry. Ooooozing timelessness. However, it is pricey and not always an option. There are a couple options that I have used in many kitchens that work just as well. Full overlay cabinetry and frameless. I have even mixed inset with full overlay. (rule breaking again!)
3.). DOOR & DRAWER STYLE
If you have ever opened a catalog of cabinetry it can feel overwhelming! There are sooooo many options. Ya'll let me do you a favor...there are 3 that work for timeless kitchens whether you have chosen inset, full-overlay, or frameless cabinets. Classic shaker, shaker with an ogee bead, and slab drawers. These just work every. time. If it ain't broke and all.
Over and over again, I see clients walk into a tile store and gasp. SO. MANY. OPTIONS. Yes there are, and not all of them were ever meant to see the outside of the show room walls. Talk about trends. They are everywhere in a tile showroom. People can go crazy with tile, and in my opinion can destroy a design over doing it with tile niches and liners and too many patterns, oh my! To be clear, I am not opposed to interesting tile. I just think it needs to be thoughtful and restrained.
Now, if you have seen any of the kitchens I design, you will see, I am not afraid of a bold patterned tile. HOWEVER...proceed with caution. Know that there can be too much of a good thing. If you have a moment spot in your kitchen (ie a large wall above a stove) Make THAT the moment. Use something that you LOVE, that makes your heart go pitter patter. Otherwise, a beautiful subway tile is ALWAYS classic. There are so many options with a good subway. There are also different ways of laying the tile that add interest without going overboard. A beautiful crackle in a more traditional kitchen, marble subway tile, a subway in a neutral color, subway in a larger or smaller scale. Subway is classic for a reason, and will never let you down!
Another overwhelming decision. From the Pros and Cons of each countertops durability to the varied aesthetic look of all of the options. I am of the opinion that your countertop should play a supporting role in your kitchen design. People shouldn't walk in and say "That countertop!" I am partial to a subdued marble (or marble look) white or black, mixed with a wood countertop on the island. There are endless options from marble to quartz to laminate, but if you stick with white or black, mixed with wood you will have a timeless feel. It may feel "Safe", but I promise you won't walk into your kitchen every morning and say "what was I thinking?" You can't go wrong. No matter your budget if you stick with a classic it will stand the test of time.
6.) TRIM DETAILS on CABINETRY
This is an important one, and one many people overlook.
Top of cabinets: Unless you have 11 or more foot ceilings, go to the ceiling with your cabinetry and wrap with a nice crown. No need to go crazy with crown details, different levels of uppers. A simple standard crown will look nice with all of the cabinets going to the ceiling.
Bottom of cabinets: Don't just add a standard toe kick. Maybe treat the cabinet with your sink like a piece of furniture with feet. Or for a real furniture look add base molding.
Sides of cabinets: If budget allows add panels to the exposed ends of your cabinets. It gives a more furniture like feel which is timeless and feels custom.
Stove Wall: Again, treat like a moment. You can do something cool with a hood. Add corbels, or a note of wood. But don't go overboard and keep the scale of your kitchen in mind.
Island: Treat your island like a piece of furniture. Contrast color, or wood. add Side Panels to all exposed sides, feet. But don't just put some cabinets in the middle of the room, slap a countertop on it and call it a day.
Floating Shelves: I love floating shelves added to a project. They are practical and can be pretty too!
7.) THE DETAILS
You may feel like every decision thus far is "safe". Your kitchen is going to look like every white kitchen with marble look countertops. Don't you worry! Your hardware, lighting, and fixtures are what will give your kitchen the character you crave. I have clients all the time that get stuck here. Paralyzed that they may make a wrong decision. The good news is that these decisions can be changed (with the exception of lighting placement, even then it is not the end of the world). A couple tips to keep in mind.
Hardware: Mixing finishes is OKAY!! I like to find hardware lines that have quite a few different sizes. There is nothing worse than a small pull on a large drawer. Mix a glass knob on your uppers...always a timeless look. If you choose polished nickel for your hardware, stick with that throughout.
Lighting: Have fun here. This will show your personality. It is important to think of scale. Nothing worse than a tiny pendant over an island. It is important to think of the lighting at the beginning of your project...electricians get grumpy when they have to add a sconce after tile has been installed!
Fixtures: You can mix a finish here too. Stick with something you have used in the rest of the kitchen. If you are creating a traditional kitchen a more traditional faucet will always work. I have clients that have gone a little more modern here in a traditional kitchen and it has turned out A.OK.
Window Treatments: If you have a spot for a window treatment, by all means add them. It will add color and personality to the space.
Furniture: If you have an island in your kitchen...you will need stools. Don't forget to order COUNTER HEIGHT! Scale is important here.
Decor: I am not a huge fan of cluttered countertops. But I am a fan of strategic placement of pieces that mean something to you and are functional. It is a place where you cook after all!! An island with a bowl of fruit in a special bowl. A nice salt and pepper grinder, with most used spices in nice containers next to the stove. A container filled with your most used utensils. If your kitchen was designed nicely, you should have a spot for counter appliances. And always add FLOWERS or something natural to the space…it just makes it FEEL good!
Again, this is the place to add things you love. If you have a neutral timeless foundation a Fun light fixture or fabric will just work..and make your kitchen remodel feel like YOU!
There you have it 7 tips to a timeless kitchen renovation. The best designs are restrained, and may have an air of "safety". It's the details that matter.
ONLINE SHOPPING RESOURCES
If you are interested in shopping for some of these elements online. Here are a few of my favorite resources.
I used to think custom was THE way to go! Guess what? There are resources online that make custom accessible. I have recently found a company CABINET JOINT that has a miriade of options affordable inset being one of them. WOOHOO! I have steared a few DIY clients to them (including myself) with fantastic results. Their support team is top notch!
There was a time when your nearest tile center was the only option for tile. NO MORE! My new favorite is TILE BAR. They have excellent options, comparable pricing, quick shipping on samples and product.
HARDWARE & FIXTURES
I have used BUILD.COM with success. It can be overwhelming I know. But use the search engine for specific pieces. It does help to see these things in person. If there is a FERGUSON show room near you, BUILD.COM is a subsidiary.
Guess what? I am adding a curated Lighting Collection to my website! shopGOSH is in the works. Below is a sampling of the shopGOSH Lighting Collection.
KITCHEN LIGHTING COLLECTION
I have used LOOMDECOR with success with virtual clients. Their custom options are great! ETSY has numerous small businesses that specialize in window treatments I can always help with custom window treatments consultations. The nuances of window treatments can be hard to navigate!
shopGOSH will have options for furniture. Be on the lookout for more info on it's launch. Below is a sampling of options I'll have in the shop!
COUNTER STOOLS COLLECTION
There you have it friends! Tips & Shopping resources for a Timeless Kitchen!
If you about to embark on a kitchen remodel and would like to have a Creative Eye in your corner, it's my favorite space to design. And lucky for you, I have quite a few options for Design Services. From RENOVATION CONSULTING & FULL SERVICE INTERIOR DESIGN to VIRTUAL DESIGN GUIDANCE I can help you achieve the Timeless Kitchen of your dreams!
All the best,