The Worst Kitchen Renovation (and Decorating!) Advice These Designers Have Ever Heard

updated Aug 31, 2021
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Credit: Diana Liang

Let’s say I was renovating my kitchen (I am not, but let’s say I was). “Leave it to the experts,” would definitely be my default philosophy. And when it comes to finding those experts I usually turn to the biggest expert of them all: Google.

The problem is, there’s a lot of kitchen renovating advice out there. It’s confusing and conflicting, and makes it hard to wade through all the noise. To mitigate that a little bit, though, I reached out to three interior designers for their expert opinions on the WORST kitchen decorating advice in existence.

Here’s what they had to say.

1. “Obey the work triangle.”

“It’s hard to say what the absolute worst piece of advice I’ve received is, but one I’ve gotten is that you MUST follow the ‘work triangle’ when designing the layout of your kitchen. If you are unfamiliar, it’s an invisible triangle that connects your cooktop, your sink, and refrigerator that creates ‘optimal’ workflow. When laying out our mountain house kitchen, I thought about how our family functions in a kitchen and guess what? In my expert opinion, the triangle isn’t the most efficient for us. While guidelines are great, never forget what is best for you and your family and how you really use your home. Break the rules if breaking them means you will be happier in how you use your home in the long run.” Emily Henderson of Style by Emily Henderson

2. “Try a mirrored backsplash.”

“I often hear the advice to use a mirror for a kitchen backsplash to make the room appear larger. While it might provide a visual trick, the extra hassle of keeping the mirror spotless simply isn’t worth it. And a dirty-looking mirror will ruin even the best kitchen. ” Courtney McCleod of Right Meets Left Interior Design

Credit: Minette Hand

3. “Open shelves or bust.”

“I blame Pinterest! While absolutely gorgeous in photos, the kitchen design trend of open shelves (aka “grime collectors”) really must die already. There is plenty of work to keep a kitchen clean, why add more to the mix?” — McCleod

4. “Go for a clean white look.”

“Nope, your kitchen doesn’t have to be white. I love to see classic colors in a kitchen — navy and forest green being particular favorites! And if white cabinets are a must, go bold with paint on a wall to add easily changeable pizzazz.” — McCleod

5. “Paint the tiles.”

“OMG! This is from my own experience: We had ugly tile floors in our kitchen and we read up on painting the floor. We did everything that was suggested, and it was the biggest mistake we ever made! It looked worse after, as opposed to the ‘before,’ and was an unmitigated disaster. ” — Michelle Beamer of Interiors by MB

What’s the worst kitchen decorating or renovating advice you’ve ever heard?