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Kitchen design ideas that are always in style

How to keep your kitchen current for years to come

by David Chandler, Ph.D. ConsumerAffairs Research Team
White kitchen with yellow flowers

What is a “future-proof” kitchen?

Homeowners who are ready to renovate want to add a bit of luxury and value to their homes. One of the most popular renovation target areas right now is the kitchen.

Of course, if you’re updating your kitchen, you want to do everything you can to “future-proof” it. That is, you should make sure you’re not following trends that will be out of date in as little as a year. The easiest way to make your kitchen timeless is to keep your updates simple and classic instead of over-stated and gaudy.

Marble kitchen with bar stools

Five tips to keep your kitchen timeless

So, how can you keep your kitchen tastefully timeless? These five tips will get you started.

  • Put it in neutral: A neutral kitchen is a flexible kitchen. More permanent fixtures like walls, floors, countertops and other large surfaces are great places to choose timeless, neutral colors. Keeping your main color scheme muted leaves room for unique, unexpected touches, like fun light fixtures. Neutral palettes like gray and beige also help create a canvas for brighter accent colors.

  • Let accents do the work: With a neutral background, you can make your accents pop. Contrast your walls with bold, colorful seating or appliances. You can use traditional or experimental shades of oranges, reds and greens for seats and accessories, but keep pastels to a minimum. They can make the room drab if there are no bold colors to balance them out. Changing accents is often cheaper and easier to update than the colors of your walls and countertops. So, if you get tired of the colors you choose, it’s an easy fix!

  • Metal in moderation: A little metal can go a long way to add flash to a kitchen. Rose gold, brass or copper finishes on cabinet handles and appliances add a homey luxury without overdoing it. Metallic accents on wood or neutral colors adds a bit of time-tested style to any kitchen.

  • Embrace the “stone age”: From cookware to kitchen tables, countertops and walls, stone is taking over. While the most common stone choice is marble, other stones, like quartz and granite, are popular choices that may better fit your style. As for the individual colors of stone, keep it close to neutral with sparse flecks of colors like blue or black. This way, you’ll have more opportunity to play with colors in your appliances.

  • Back in black: Stainless steel has long been the standard for elegant contemporary kitchens, but black stainless steel seems to be the highmark for timeless design. With neutral kitchens so popular these days, black stainless steel serves to add a hint of stark contrast to an otherwise blank canvas. Choose black stainless steel appliances to add unexpected boldness to lighter kitchen palates.

Jars and light blue kitchen accents

Plan for updates

The rule of thumb in future-proofing your kitchen’s look and feel is to think ahead. Neutral colors on big spaces like walls and countertops act like a canvas to let you add as much color as you want with easily updated elements like appliances, cabinets and fixtures. If you go with a neutral color palette and select bold accents, you have a virtually infinite variety of options for adding flair and personality to your kitchen.

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by David Chandler, Ph.D. ConsumerAffairs Research Team

David Chandler, Ph.D., writes for the ConsumerAffairs Research team to help consumers make smart purchasing decisions. David is passionate about creating content that is useful and informative, and he devotes several hours to researching companies, industries and articles for each piece of content he writes to help consumers find what they need.