One of the top requests we get from clients is a timeless kitchen. Most people renovating their kitchen are just expecting to do it once, and want to get it right. Usually the kitchen they have is primarily described as “outdated”, which highlights why timelessness is important. If a kitchen’s primary flaw is datedness, then a timeless one should solve the problem once and for all.
In reality, though, it’s not quite that simple. Once a lot of people decide they like a certain style, it will eventually be dated, no matter how “timeless” it was originally thought to be. Here are a few tips for creating actual timelessness.
Choosing quality materials is a huge protection in the quest for timelessness. There are a lot of finishes that people have grown to hate over the decades, but this hatred was primarily aimed at sub-par-quality finishes rather than the real thing. Take brass, for example. Real brass has been around forever, and it’s expensive and beautiful. Fake brass, on the other hand, is really just a cheap coating that was applied to low-quality faucets, light fixtures, and about everything else in the ’80s and ’90s. Therefore, everyone thought they hated brass. If you steer clear of fake finishes, your choice (no matter what you choose) will look good well into the future.
This should be a no-brainer. If everyone is doing something, it’s a trend. Trends come and go, and the more people who do something at a certain time, the more likely you’re able to “date” it by just looking at it. Can you describe what kitchens looked like in the ’70s? 80s? 90s? 2000s? Then, you are familiar with what everyone liked at the time. It’s hard to imagine how it was possible that everyone loved trend “x”, but they did and now it’s burned into our collective memory. Sometimes this is difficult because we all seem to like the same thing at the same time. Still, if you can steer clear of doing exactly what you are seeing a lot of, and your kitchen should have lasting power.
This goes for anything in your kitchen that’s difficult to change. Cabinetry is your biggest kitchen expense, and because your countertops aren’t cheap either, doing your cabinetry right in the first place is essential. Keeping your cabinetry simple lends itself to surviving many style changes. Simple cabinetry can be dressed up or down with a change in backsplash, hardware, or even wallpaper. Remember the themed kitchens from the early 2000s? Unless you live in a Tuscan villa, these kitchens didn’t age well and it’s difficult to un-see some of the ornate cabinetry. Keeping the cabinets simple and changing other things around them allows you to enjoy passing styles without having an outdated kitchen.
Kitchens age best when they look like they belong with the house. If your house is traditional and you put a midcentury modern kitchen in, that’s weird. Same with if you had put in a rustic farmhouse kitchen. Determine what style your house is (or is trying to be), and plan a kitchen that fits that. Or, at least plan a kitchen that doesn’t defy the original style of your house. Kitchens look current the longest when they make sense with the house. This doesn’t mean the kitchen can’t be “you”; it just means it’s “you” with some guardrails to prevent your kitchen from looking like it doesn’t belong.
I think having style in a kitchen is essential. BUT, function comes first. Planning a functional kitchen means it won’t be obsolete in a few years when the trend has passed. Take open shelving, for example. If it makes sense for the function of your kitchen, use it. If it doesn’t, then don’t, because a lot of your kitchen wall space will be inefficiently used. Open shelving in a kitchen is a mix of timeless and trendy, and which one it is for you depends on whether it’s working for your kitchen or not.
What things do you think help create timelessness?
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