After spending nearly two years making virtually every meal from home, you might have stopped looking at your kitchen as a function-first room and started noticing its design potential. (Simply put, a heavily trafficked space deserves more than ho-hum cabinets or a lackluster backsplash.) While it’s all too tempting to renovate your space with the latest culinary trends, it’s important to exercise some restraint. Why? Design fads can come and go faster than you can say “kitchen island.” In fact, many designers have already started to sour on some of the room’s buzziest trends.
While design beauty rests in the eye of the beholder, understanding which kitchen design trends are in (and out) will allow you to create a space you’ll love for years to come. To help, four top designers are sharing the kitchen trends that should be retired immediately—as well as what to replace it with instead.
According to New Jersey-based designer Swati Goorha, white kitchens have officially lost their sizzle. “I find white kitchens to be sterile and lacking personality,” she explains. “There is so much room to customize the space you spend the most time in. Kitchens tend to be the heart of the home, and they should evoke happiness and joy.” Aesthetics aside, all-white kitchens are notoriously tough to maintain as every spot and spec is totally visible. For a space that’s personable and forgiving on sauce spills and food crumbs, incorporate a jolt of color. “If you’re not ready to commit to all green cabinets, [for example], introduce color in the backsplash,” Goorha adds. “Adding handmade tiles or glass tiles to infuse some personality to the heart of the home is always a yes.”
Once upon a time, farmhouse modern was the design style du jour. However, as cottagecore and coastal grandmother styles have risen in popularity, your country chic kitchen is due for a makeover. The good news is that revamping your farmhouse kitchen doesn’t require a full-blown makeover. For Bobby Berk, Shutterfly’s resident design expert, it’s all about striking a balance between old and new.
“I would suggest creating a space that incorporates classic and contemporary styles without the distressed look,” he shares. “Try offsetting your exposed brick with some eye-catching light, opting for smooth wood finishes, or even swapping out black metals for gold and silver to create an elevated version of this style.”
If you’d like to trade in your farmhouse décor for the current cottagecore phenomenon, it’s in your best interest to start small. “Adding in subtle wood design pieces such as these Shutterfly wood cutting boards as countertop décor,” Berk adds. “Layering cutting boards in all shapes and sizes creates the perfect farmhouse look without needing to make major updates.”
A pop of color is a fail-safe way to add personality to your kitchen, but you should be mindful about where you place that bold hue. The biggest culprits, according to Berk, are colorful appliances. Not only can these eclectic electronics dictate your kitchen’s overall design, but it can also be difficult (and expensive) to replace. For a timeless and budget-conscious alternative, Berk recommends sticking with neutral-toned appliances and experimenting with a “two-tone color scheme.” “If you’re one who enjoys having color or patterns in the space, look to add pops of color with your table linens, dinnerware, kitchen towels, or even by adding pillows to each of your dining chairs,” he says.
With a seemingly endless combination of backsplashes, countertops, and hardware to choose from, you have no shortage of trendy touches. That said, the wrong mix can make your space feel a tad outdated. If you’re looking to swap out one element, replace the granite countertops. “It’s a quick indicator of an aged kitchen,” say Lathem Gordon and Cate Dunning, founders of GordonDunning.
Instead, opt for soapstone or marble countertops. “They will chip and patina over time, and that is totally fine with us—maybe even preferred,” the design duo says. “We love that the kitchen will tell the story of baking cookies with family or a great meal with friends for years to come.”
If you don’t like the idea of a countertop with wear and tear, Gordon and Dunning are partial to quartz or a more solid granite like Absolute Black. ” We always suggest a honed finish,” they add.