Kitchen updates that won’t go out of style

We spoke with designers about how to create classic updates that would last over time. Here are your suggestions.

Use marble slabs

Wendy Blackband of Blackband Home & Design in California likes marble counters, whether you’re remodeling an entire kitchen or taking clever steps to freshen up the space. “It’s been around for a long time and you can see it when you travel across Europe,” she says. Blackband suggests Calacatta, a whiter marble with veins.

Marble is an investment of $ 40 to $ 100 per square foot. But Leanne Ford, a Pittsburgh-based interior designer and HGTV star, says it’s worth it. “Since the kitchen is the most frequently used room in the house, everything you love is worth the investment,” she says. “Scrimp somewhere else.”

If you want a similar look with less cost and maintenance – marble needs to be sealed every six to 12 months to prevent stains and acid etches – Blackband also likes the mature Neolith countertop material.

Quartz countertops from companies like Caesarstone and PentalQuartz are another great option. Blackband recommends sticking to white or, if you don’t like white, a neutral color like light brown, beige, or ivory. Use a subtle pattern and low veins for a longer-lasting look.

Take care of your lighting

Everything looks better and more upscale in the right light. “We believe that kitchens should have adequate and flexible lighting, as if there was never any natural daylight in the room,” says Kelly Emerson, designer at Aidan Design in Silver Spring, Md. (Natural light is a bonus.)

If this isn’t already the case in your kitchen, convert the dimmer switches in the ceiling to recessed lights so you can control lighting levels and add work lighting under the cabinets. A layer of recessed ceiling lights, trailers or wall lights provide both decoration and directional lighting, especially if lighting under the closet is not possible.

To replace dated pendants, designer Sarah Zames, director and founder of Brooklyn, NY, design firm General Assembly, and Colin Stief are looking for lights with warm materials like brass in a natural or black finish. With these lights you get bigger than smaller.

“Globes of all sizes are forever – frosted or clear,” says Ford, who co-starred HGTV’s “Restored by the Fords.” For more information on size and placement, see Circa Lighting’s online lighting guide.

Choose the right cabinets

Selecting or replacing kitchen cabinets is one of the biggest investments in a kitchen. So you want something that you don’t have to change, paint or freshen up anytime soon.

“Walnut is the timeless, classic type of wood,” says Emerson. “Rich variations of light to medium-warm gray stains on maple, cherry, hickory or walnut” are just as good as “natural stains on cherry and walnut”. Whatever you do, she says, “stay away from yellow, pink and wood stains.”

While white cabinets are a popular choice, Emerson cautions they are on the way out of style. If you still like the lighter look, Emerson recommends linen colors versus bold whites for “creating more layered tone-on-tone palettes”.

As for style, Blackband says look at panel furniture that has a flat door over the cabinet box and gives it a modern but classic look. Installing panels over equipment is a luxury extra touch if you can afford it. The room looks less like a kitchen full of machines and more like a living room with furniture.

Like counters, closets are a place where you can spend your money wisely. They’re expensive, but investing in the highest quality you can afford pays off in more durable materials.

Choose good quality hardware

We know upgrading hardware is one of the easiest kitchen upgrades to make, but what if you decide for the first time – in the long run?

“Our office likes things that have a natural, warm feel to them,” says Zames. She pays special attention to oil rubbed bronze buttons and pulls as the patina can change over time, giving them a classic, worn look.

According to Blackband, the buttons do not have to match the installation fittings as long as they complement each other, e.g. B. black knobs with a polished chrome faucet. Emerson recommends keeping all hardware warm or cool; B. Satin and nickel surfaces for stainless steel devices.

However, what matters more than the type of metal, according to Zames and Stief, is the quality of the hardware. Although brass fittings are currently in vogue, this brass, if it is well made, has been worn and has an aged patina, can still have lasting value.

Choose a classic backsplash

Subway tiles are the most durable choice for a backsplash. Avoid bold, trendy colors and look for white or neutrals instead. Keep it simple and bring color elsewhere in the kitchen with easily interchangeable items like tea towels, art, fruit bowls, and rugs.

If, as Zames says, white subway tiles feel too much like “playing it safe,” there are ways to increase interest. Blackband recommends choosing a larger tile than the standard 3 by 6 inches or changing the orientation. Try stacking the tile vertically or in a chevron pattern.

Another way to make this classic more personal is to choose a subway tile that’s handcrafted, says Blackband, or get creative with your grout color.

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