The Kitchen Designer

Thanks for stopping by! I'm Susan Serra, certified kitchen designer, and my mission is to take kitchen design style, function and analysis to a higher level. Here's why the kitchen has the most honored place in the home - all five senses reside in the kitchen.  Best...Susan  Contact: susan@susanserraassociates.com

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Is a Kitchen Design Trend Always A Trend?

I received an email from Jenney and this is what she is asking:

"I am buying a new house. I am planning to have the kitchen counter in white and cabinets in dark brown, but I am afraid the trend will go out of style. what do you think? what is the most classic color for the kitchen?"

What strikes me is that you are calling it a trend. I don't see white countertops and dark brown cabinetry as a trend, at least not a strong trend, possibly a mini trend. But, more importantly, I feel this combination of colors can be considered classic.

The finishes you are talking about are neutrals, even the dark brown. It is a natural finish for cabinetry, and if the rest of the kitchen is designed and decorated in a classic way, as opposed to integrating all the latest design ideas from magazines, catalogs and web home design sites, then you're safe. You needn't worry about your kitchen being pigeon-holed as a trend.

As far as what is the most classic color, of course, white is classic. Most brown wood stains in the medium to dark tones are classic, and some medium to light tones in wood stains. Remember the pickled maple light stains in the 80s and 90s? They were a strong trend, very strong. But, I see that having been a trend partially because those pickled maple/oak colors were an unnatural color for the wood. If these are the colors you like, take note of the above advice, and I'd say, go for it!





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Reader Comments (16)

Every trend goes out of style, it's just a matter of time. Kitchens are expensive and last longer than any trend, so most of us have to live with an "outdated" kitchen for a significant number of years. I guess we'll survive that somehow ...

More important than the kitchen's style is, in my opinion, that it matches the style of the house (NO country kitchen in an Eichler, please!) and the furniture. This is often not the case and the worst mistake people can make when it comes to choosing a kitchen.

March 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

Hi Susan - glad I found you here in Blogland (we met through HomeGoods Openhouse blog) last year!

And I so agree that the kitchen should match the spirit of the home. Same goes for outside holiday decor, but that's another topic for another day! :)

Susan Smith

March 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Hi I am visiting via T.I.R. What a great post.

I hope you will stop by for a visit as I am currently hosting a giveaway.

March 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Ingalls Gunn

I agree that it is not always to color combo that is trendy but the style which will fade eventually. I also agree with Connie, the style of the kitchen should match the architecture of the home. While I appreciate a thoroughly modern kitchen it would not have the right look and feel for my tiny country cottage of a house. I do have some modern elements, like stainless steel appliances, but mixed with an appropriate cottage cupboard style. In the end, I think it is a matter of personal taste and style.

March 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

I think its a mini trend also, not like she has brightly colored cabinets. but I also think that you should do what you like, your the one who has to live and look at it everyday!

March 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenna @ Newlyweds

Trends come and go, but good design lasts a lifetime.

Take a look at "Falling Water." Not necessarily "trendy" by today's standards, but most people would agree it doesn't look out of place when compared to a modern aesthetic.

My point? A trend should never be the reason for a design choice, rather an inspiration.

March 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterArne Salvesen CKD

The other people have already made my point so thoroughly that I am almost embarrassed to be adding my two bits to this discussion, but I have very strong views on this subject. Entirely too many kitchen designers know all about whatever is "hot" at the moment, and a fair number of them tend to push these particular ideas. But when that happens, people end up with kitchens that become obsolete.

Who can forget avocado kitchens? In some quarters, that particular "old" is now "in," because of those who enjoy retro kitchens. But I personally would not undertake such a thing unless I were one of those who just loved that sort of schlock.

And, as the others have already pointed out, today's "must have" becomes tomorrow's "schlock." I think one is better off sticking to the classics, and especially this is true for a kitchen remodeling. You will do that only once in your lifetime, in all likelihood, and will then touch those cupboards and appliances on a daily basis for the rest of your life. A thing of beauty, they say, is a joy forever, and especially this is true if it has a classic design. Design for the ages. You won't be sorry you did.

April 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

HELP! I have a small galley type kitchen and we want to replace the cabinets, we do not want to replace the ceramic tile flooring that is off white with black grouting. I am toying with the idea of either off white or clear maple Thermafoil flat paneled cupboards. Our house is sort of contemporary but I'm open for suggestions on softening the design.Our appliances are new Stainless Steel with black handles on the fridge and a black cook top and a stainless sink.We like the idea of sort of sage green walls. Please I"m a Libra so I need someone to balance my scales and tip them in the right direction. Thank you so much. Also we will be using granite counter tops so I need suggestions on a color for that.

April 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNADINE

My husband and I purchased a house with I guess Pickled Maple Cabinets... the kitchen was replaced 5 years ago, so the lady must have thought they were in style or coming back. Being only 26 (and i've also sold new construction homes) I looked at the cabinets and could tell they were made VERY well. Obviously I wanted a Cherry Cabinet or something darker, but have always enjoyed lighter woods. THEN i start going on websites and realize PICKLED MAPLE is apparently the most awful cabinet one could have! so now i'm flipping out. HELP! what would be a nice color to paint my walls if the cabinets are Pickled Maple (yes, now i can see there is a pink finish to them) with a greyish countertop(pro-solid countertop) I NEED HELP! total Buyers Remorse happening RIGHT NOW

May 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMary

The kitchen has new stainless appliances and oak harwood floors. if that helps at all.

May 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMary

I am in the same boat as the lady above...I just purchased a home only 5 years old and the cabinets are Pickled Maple with a grey countertop. I also have stainless steel appliances and dark oak and walnut floors. What color other then grey could I paint the walls?

September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAng

Ang, take a look at this post. It addresses your situation exactly: http://hueconsulting.blogspot.com/2009/07/dealing-with-pinky-oak-cabinets.html

September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

Thanks Susan...I am going to hit the paint store this evening with your suggestions. However I have one last question, my kitchen and eating/dining room are all one room, would a light grey be ok for a eating/dining room as well? The kitchen and eating/dining room is one continuous wall, so I cannot break up the color.

September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAng

It's hard for me to say without seeing the space. I can't see why not, but "light" depends on just how light and the gray undertones might make a difference, both of which I can't speak to as I am not there in the space.

September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

I was wondering if you can help me. We are planning on remodeling our kitchen. We are debating between the classic white cabinet look with the "clean" "pristine" look you see in all the magazines. Almost like a chic but livable kitchen. The other look we are toying around with is the ivory/cream cabinet with brown glazing in the creases. A warmer look but with stainless and more of a light tan granite top. We are not going to live in our house for more than 5 years so we want to make sure the resale is also there. Personally I think our house has a cottage/old feel so the glazed will look better. But, I feel like it might date the house?? What do you think, suggest? Thanks!

January 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

I am building a small cottage on a lake. I keep changing my mind on everything. I am open to any kitchen suggestions (cabinets, counter tops and flooring). The kitchen is small but has open ceilings. Thank you

November 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCathy

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