3 Ways to Avoid Kitchen Reno Regret, According to an Interior Designer

published Aug 13, 2023
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Like hundreds of thousands of you, I read “5 Kitchen Trends on Their Way Out This Year,” primarily to see if my own kitchen was dated or not (it’s mostly not, for now). My strong emotional reaction — relief? — to the piece got me wondering if there are ways to renovate a kitchen without making it the bridesmaid’s dress of the home, doomed to chuckles from future generations. 

I reached out to über-talented stylist, best-selling author, and TV personality Emily Henderson to get her take on how to avoid dreaded kitchen renovation regret. On her popular blog, Style by Emily Henderson, she shares not only triumphs (and there are so many), but also regrets in an approachable and authentic way. I knew she would have ready answers for readers like me, who just want to feel good about the most expensive (and important) room in the home to renovate. 

1. Go trendy on temporary features. 

“If you have painted cabinets there’s a good chance they’ll need to get repainted from the years of wear and tear, so going for a bold, on-trend color you love now and think you can live with can be a fun choice,” says Henderson. When it’s time to retire that statement color, your kitchen will be ready for a fresh coat anyway. 

On that note, painting is the perfect time for a hardware refresh. You’ll have to remove cabinet hardware anyway, and while the pulls might not need to be replaced, they’re an easy and relatively affordable swap. Your cabinet pulls or knobs can be donated to an organization such as Habitat ReStore, and you can jump on the next trend in hardware. 

2. Stone is a safe bet.   

If you’re looking for tried-and-true practical pieces that have survived the ebbs and flows of design fluctuations, look no further than stone countertops. “A beautiful stone countertop is a classic and will never go out of style,” Henderson says. Because stone countertops often carry a hefty price tag, knowing they’re a safe bet can give you peace of mind as you spend out. 

3. Let the age of your home take the lead. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with style choices, a good place to start is to consider the age and design of your house or building. For a home built in 1952, as mine was, a mid-century aesthetic is going to be a safe choice — even when the mid-century modern design fervor finally wanes. “I always recommend keeping your hard finishes in line with the style of your home,” says Henderson. “It’s safe, will always look good, and you can play with other styles in your decor.”

Do you have any biggest renovation regrets? How might you recommend someone else prevent them? Let us know in the comments below!