Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kitchen design trends that need to take a break

A kitchenImage via WikipediaEnglish: The dining room, kitchen, and a porti...Image via WikipediaEnglish: Handymen can install kitchen cabinets...Image via WikipediaA small, modern kitchen with popular stainless...Image via WikipediaKitchen cabinets in a farmhouse.Image via WikipediaModern kitchenImage via Wikipedia
One common thing you have no doubt seen in kitchens over and over again in homes and on television decorating show are, cherry cabinets, dark granite counter tops, tiled back splash, Travertine flooring. While all of these choices are attractive and certainly considered upgrades, they are at risk of being over used, over done and what impact does that have on your home? Well, that is how “dating” a home occurs. When items are over used in any time frame, they will date the space.
Take for instance Avocado green, a popular appliance color in the seventies. How do I know this? Because it was in many homes. Shag carpeting, again, almost in every home during the seventies and into the eighties.

We can easily recognize finishes and designs from yesteryear because the consumer rushed out and had to have what everyone else had, yet today, we don't just see it in our neighbor's home, its on television. Television is telling you on every show, what to use, how to put it in, and how much to spend. Timeless finishes mixed with a little of old and new will be the best way not to give your home a “dated” look. Imagine in 10 years needing to sell your home and hearing the feedback from prospective buyers calling your Cherry cabinets “dated.” What won't be considered “dated” will at the very least be “expected” and that is the precursor to “dated.”

Research your kitchen remodel in advance. Don't be tempted to play it safe in all regards. Mix it up, keep it interesting. Old finishes, new surfaces work great together. Using timeless and classic design staples that have been around for 50 to 100 years along with cool innovative design and appliances will help your home stay fresh and “timeless” as well. Timeless design will always be appreciated over “dated.” So what is timeless and how do you get it? Well sometimes timeless is more work, but the reward is usually worth it. For instance, gutting a 70's kitchen down to the studs in the wall just to put in a lot of new cabinetry and appliances that are all the rage is just going to call for another gut job later on down the road.

A stainless steel countertopImage via WikipediaCabinetry-
Play it smart, not always safe (meaning following the current trend). Reface old seventies kitchens. While some cabinets are considered “builder grade” from that time era, they were usually “site built” and real wood (no MDF), and this is usually a superior product with regards to structure than factory built cabinets. By refacing your older (site built) cabinets, you not only assure the strength and integrity, but you save money. Now by the time the 80's rolled around and oak cabinets made it's splash in so many homes, the “builder grade” cabinetry used/installed were manufactured and shipped to the

builder. You saw a lot of MDF, and particle board being used in their construction. Here again, you can paint or reface to save money, but many if they can afford it do a tear out. My advice here is to make sure what you are replacing your cheap eighties cabinetry with is solid wood, and a superior product. Remember as well, colors and stains come and go, and the type of wood isn't always as important as the finish. Either way, make sure you choose a product that is great quality. Great quality is one of those “timeless” features we're aiming for. The bottom line about cabinetry- be careful, don't be so mesmerized by the trends you see today that good common sense isn't used. Being practical, and looking at a wide variety of finishes, wood types and the quality makes for a timeless addition to your home. Don't play follow the leader when it comes to what you like. There's a lot to choose from, it doesn't have to be Cherry. Just sayin...
Counter tops-
Ah granite, if your home doesn't have it, you've lost. Or have you? While granite is a long lasting, and expensive upgrade to the laminate of the 70's and the porcelain tiles of the 80's and 90's it isn't the only choice out there. Be leery of using granite that is too wild with too much movement because it is extremely hard to decorate around. What does that mean exactly? Well one big pattern in any room is about all a moderately sized room can handle. A big busy pattern on the counter means less pattern and creativity with your back splash, kitchen accessories and even in some cases your window treatments. Here you will have to decide what is going to be center stage. If the counter top is, then be prepared to limit your patterns elsewhere in the room. So is granite the only real wise choice?

Stainless steel appliances-
I know these are all the rage however, should they be a deal breaker in a home? No. Not by a long shot. Appliances in general need replacing after about 10 years of regular use and in some cases earlier. Why so many people are so obsessed with stainless steel is beyond me, well no, it's because of television. Design television is telling the consumer “this is what you want,” or “this is what you must have.” I can't help but think this will be the next Avocado elephant in your kitchen one day. I could be wrong, but as I mentioned before, anything you see in every home over and over again, becomes a trend, and a trend is a dating mechanism. I am going on a limb and saying that what I think will be the next trend in appliances will be color matching. You already see it with washing machines and dryers. They come in blues, reds and stainless steel as well. Don't be surprised if you don't see it transition to refrigerators and stoves eventually too. So what happens then? You will be stuck with stainless steel, and you're behind design times. Play it smart, focus on your new appliances energy efficiency, and overall quality and less about the finish. If you are doing a remodel look into integrating it with the existing or new cabinetry. Why should appliances take center stage anyway? Its like the television in the living room. Its meant to be used, but not supposed to be the show stopper. Men have a hard time believing this I know. Great quality, higher end, efficiency should be your main concern with appliances, and secondly it needs to work with the design of the kitchen you are after. Stainless isn't always a perfect fit. In a kitchen that is designed to be French country, integrated or white would suffice. Like I said, it will need updating after ten years anyway. It is a little more prudent to match your appliance brands than to worry about the exterior being stainless. However, here again matching brands is not a must for an object that needs replacing in 10 years.

Travertine, oh Travertine, is there any other name? I have seen this used and used and used and it is lovely! However, it is not the only flooring option out there. Research the flooring choices out there, and see which may work for the design in the room. Slate may be aesthetically more attractive in some kitchens. Hardwood may work better in others. The bottom line is make your own well researched choice and base it on your true opinion. You've got to love it, or leave it. Flooring is too expensive to not feel right about. As with all remodels and renovations and updates, remember that it needs to be balanced with not only what you love, but also what is happening around you. If everyone else has laminate, you can of course upgrade, but you may not see an instant boost in your investment. This is why I say, with flooring, or any other large expense, either love it or leave it in the store. If you aren't sure or are on a budget, research options that are more budget friendly that can give you the look for less. Don't worry Monica Pederson won't pounce on your on more Bang for your Buck and criticize your less expensive choice. The great thing about going with something budget friendly is it is easier to let go of or change in the future. That is playing it smart, in my book anyway.
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