“I don’t want to choose finishes that will be out of style soon”
That is the thing I hear most when people are looking for finishes for their kitchen or bathroom upgrade.
Because, let’s face it, a kitchen renovation is no small exercise – it’s demanding, it’s a lot of money, and a hell of a disruption. You want to do it ONCE, and you want to do it right.
Regardless of our taste and how much we can spend – we all want the same things when we remodel:
• We want it to be comfortable and look beautifully pulled together
• We want to spend our money on things that will increase the value of our property
• We want finishes that look fresh and new. FOREVER! : )
Sure, sounds so easy. So let’s look at the issue of timeless finishes. Do you know what the number one item is that’s most likely to date your kitchen?
We’ve all seen those kitchens with the backsplash tile jumping at you. It’s busy and dated and ugly, and no matter what you do, you can’t get away from it.
Funny thing is, at some point someone chose to put it in – with all the options available, this is the tile they picked. Maybe it was on sale?
But even a small budget is no excuse for bad taste – look at this…
This delightful kitchen was done on a low budget – but it’s packed with character and is timeless in its understated beauty. Can you tell when it was done? I can’t.
So what is it then that makes one kitchen look dated long before another?
Should we just ignore trends altogether?
NO, there is nothing wrong with trends – it’s when we overdo a trend that it becomes a headache.
Interior trends tend to last about 10 years, and the current gray trend has been around for about as long. Before the gray trend it was brown – remember all those Tuscany yellowy-beiges?
It is very obvious to see in what era these kitchens were renovated. These are perfect examples of how NOT to use trends. Let’s break it down.
1. DON’T OVERDO THE LATEST COLOR CRAZE
In both kitchens above the trendy color at time was totally overused. It’s on every available surface the kitchen has to offer – counter tops, backsplash tiles, cupboards and floors. It’s so intense that my 9-year old daughter asked why the picture on the left was in black and white! It’s not, honey, what you see here is NOT KNOWING WHEN TO STOP.
It’s no wonder we get completely worn out by trends.
However – if you use trends selectively and artfully – for instance by placing trendy colors alongside non-trendy neutrals and whites, by adding contrasting elements and splashes of color – you’ll be happy with your finishes for a long long time.
In this kitchen a deep gray is used on the base units – this helps to ground the kitchen and adds a lovely contrast to the tall, white units.
Gray loves brown. I could not find the original source of this beautiful kitchen (if you know, please let me know) – it is timeless with with the warm wood base cupboards, white wall cupboards and black accents. The gray island makes it a bit more current and adds a fresh touch.
Bright, fresh, and NOW is this kitchen with gray on the walls and sparkling white cupboards. The timber floor is a crucial element to add warmth to this room.
In this remodeled kitchen the white and gray marble contrasts with the black base units and brightens the room. The timber shelves, floor and vintage rug adds warmth and character.
2. DON’T GO TOO BUSY
Have you ever noticed how a busy backsplash tile or counter top keeps drawing your attention? If you scroll back to the images of the “Don’t-do-this” gray and brown kitchens, you’ll see how your eyes just keep going back to the busy gray counter top and speckled brown backsplash tile. The same thing will happen in your own kitchen if you have a very busy finish – until it drives you crazy.
If you want to maintain a certain level of sanity – avoid finishes that are overly busy and/or with lots of veins or contrasting hues in them. A solid color, or a mix of similar colors is much more classic and timeless.
Bold colors? Of course you can use strong colors – just keep it solid. Look at this beautiful navy blue tile with the contrasting white grout. Good thing this is not my kitchen – I will never leave it.
3. DON’T APPLY THE TREND ON PERMANENT FIXTURES
This is your big take away today – don’t use the current trendy color on fixtures that are difficult to replace. Here is my measure – if you have to change your outfit to do the job, i.e it takes intensive labor, or an expert – don’t do it in the latest hot color. This makes a lot of sense – if it’s trendy, it will at some point become un-trendy – it will date your kitchen.
To be clear – don’t use the current trendy color on the backsplash tiles – they are nasty to replace, you’ll likely have to replace the drywall too. Don’t use it on the counter tops – difficult and costly to swop out. Definitely NOT on the floor – don’t even think about doing the floor in the latest trendy color, especially in a large open plan area.
SO WHERE CAN YOU GO TRENDY???
Ah, good question. Because the last thing I’m saying is that you should go all boring and safe on all your finishes. Not at all. Be bold and adventurous on things that you can easily change.
Here are great places to go trendy…
Pendant lights are easy to replace and you can have a lot of fun with them. Play with color, scale and shape.
Paint, of course, is the first thing that comes to mind – on the walls (below), as well as cupboards and islands.
Faucets and cupboard hardware is a quick and easy way to update your kitchen instantly – look at these beautiful brass hardware on the navy blue cupboards below. The wall sconces above the sink also add to the new look.
Just as I was looking for more images to show where you can be trendy, these images from color expert, Maria Killam’s recent kitchen upgrade popped up – and it drives the point home exactly. Maria has renovated her kitchen about six years ago, keeping the basics, well, very basic. This gives her the opportunity to refresh her kitchen every few years with minimal costs and very little trouble.
Here she’s added some detail to the island and painted it fresh green. She’s replaced the pendants over the island, swopped out the chairs, and changed the Roman shades. Whala – a fresh look in a zippy.
I hope you found this helpful and have lots of fun with all the fabulous options out there.
If you find yourself stuck somewhere along the way, and want a stylish kitchen with timeless finishes – I can help you with a quick plan – online, or in-house. Help is only a click away.
Please share, so we can learn…
What was your biggest remodel slip-up?
Have you ever installed a tile or top that you regretted almost immediately?
JUST FOR FUN…
I have no idea why this clip popped up while I was searching for images of kitchens with busy backsplash tiles – make you wonder… Anyway, when I showed it to my husband he almost fell off his chair from laughter, and well, I didn’t get back to finishing the post until the next day. : )
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