Designers Share 15 Timeless Choices for Your Kitchen Remodel

Second-guessing every last decision? Top designers are here to help, offering advice on designing a kitchen that will stand the test of time.

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October 31, 2017

Photo By: Amy Bartlam

Photo By: Amy Bartlam

Photo By: Alyssa Rosenheck

Photo By: Jeff Herr

Photo By: Ryan Garvin

Photo By: Sesha Smith, Convey Studios

Photo By: Amy Bartlam

Photo By: Amy Bartlam

Photo By: Tessa Neustadt

Photo By: Chi Chi Urbaina

Photo By: David Duncan Livingston

Photo By: Leanne Ford Interiors

Photo By: Alexandra Ribar

Photo By: Alexandra Ribar

Photo By: becki owens

Simple Backsplash Tile

Interior designer Jenn Feldman says the smartest choice in a kitchen remodel is a simple, clean backsplash tile. Instead of going trendy with your backsplash, let your cabinets steal the show. "Even though cabinetry and custom millwork are one of the largest investments in a kitchen renovation project, paint upgrades don't have to be. Think about going bold with an accent color on kitchen cabinetry. It's a fresh, contemporary and youthful spin on modern kitchen design that gives so much personality to the space, especially when it can be seen through other openings and rooms within the house," she says. "No one ever complains that their kitchen tile is too white and clean! But chances are if your design taste changes down the road, in time it will be much easier to upgrade your kitchen with a paint refresh on the cabinetry than it would be to replace the tile."

Covered Hood

Jette Creative’s principal designer Jesse DeSanti says covering the hood in your kitchen is an absolute must. "Hood styles change so much and don’t often match the style of the home," she explains. "By covering the hood, you’re able to create the style you want that best fits the house and overall palette. You’re able to direct the design versus picking something off the shelf that may or may not conflict with the time, look and feel."

In this kitchen, Jesse blended the stainless steel hood with the rest of the midcentury modern space using a painted wood cover that matches the walls. "[The kitchen is] simple, elegant and modern, and we didn’t want the hood to take away from that," she says.

Vintage Inspiration

Want to get lost in a 1940s daydream? Let interior designer Connie Vernich tell you about the kitchen that’s inspired her from day one. "When I first became a designer 20 years ago, I was sent to a home to renovate a living room. The home was an old carriage house, and I couldn't help but notice how beautiful the kitchen was. I asked the homeowner when the kitchen was last renovated, and she told me 1940!"

"I will never forget the beautiful white cabinets, the marble countertops stained with age yet still beautiful and fitting, and the black-and-white marble floor chipped in places but so perfect in its state. From that time on, when someone wants a timeless kitchen, I immediately revert to that kitchen," she says. "We have so many great products today that are better able to handle the stains and chips, and it's easy to get the look without the maintenance issues they used to have. I think sometimes as designers, we tend to want to add the latest trends and have the showiest kitchen, but there is something so lovely and comfortable about a simple, functional design that can withstand the test of time."

Neutral Color Palette

Selecting a color palette can be one of the toughest parts of a kitchen redesign. Interior designer Katelyn Rountree of TerraCotta Design Build suggests a neutral color scheme. The palette’s versatility makes it a safe choice for almost any home. In this kitchen, gray and white work with warm wood accents to strike balance, creating a timeless design that transcends the boundaries of style. "It would not feel out of place in a 1920s bungalow or a modern home," Katelyn says.

White Marble

Is the dreamy white marble that’s taken over the design world here to stay? Interior designer Brooke Wagner thinks so. "A trend that I believe will always remain timeless is using natural stone — especially white marble. It's just so classic," she says. "You'll always see me going for a honed or antiqued finish; they're my fave! Oftentimes we do stain-grade or paint-grade gray cabinetry to complement an otherwise white kitchen."

Roman Shades

Window treatments can be pricey, so it’s wise to choose an option that will last. Interior designer Ginger Curtis of Urbanology Designs weighs in on the decision with her go-to choice. "One of the simplest and oldest types of window treatment is the Roman shade. They come in many styles, but the most timeless are the classic/relaxed Roman and the flat Roman, which folds completely flat on itself. The use of these shades is a great way to add timeless appeal to any kitchen. You can keep it simple with a beautiful solid linen, or add a pop of color by doing a bold color or interesting pattern. The simpler the style, the more longevity your Roman shade will have, as patterns tend to trend out over time."

Stay True to the Style of the Home

"The best way to stay timeless is designing for the house and respecting the style it already provides," says designer Jesse DeSanti of Jette Creative. For example, a midcentury modern home would benefit from a kitchen remodel featuring clean lines and warm wood tones, while a Spanish-style home would benefit from a kitchen remodel featuring historically Spanish materials, like the encaustic tile used in this home. Mix in other elements to make the space your own — just don’t lose sight of its origins.

Stone Countertops That Will Patina

"A natural stone countertop is something we fight for all the time!" Jesse says. "Materials that patina over time, adding depth and beauty as they age, versus [materials] that don’t, are always the way to go." Often, people worry about choosing stone that will show wear, but Jesse insists it’s that timeworn patina that makes those choices the most beautiful down the road. "The day-to-day scratches, light stains and imperfections become a patina to the stone," she explains. Ahem, we meet again, Marble.

White Cabinets

White cabinets: tried and true and here to stay, according to interior designer Wendy Blackband of Blackband Design. "Simple white cabinetry is classic and timeless. White kitchen cabinetry is suitable for every style of design; it has stood the test of time because it's clean and fresh!" she says.

Pot Rack

"One selection that will never go out of style is the pot rack," says interior designer Amy Zolin. In this kitchen, the custom-designed rack boasts a polished nickel patina that will age to look like it was an original part of the home. The takeaway? Choose a finish that blends seamlessly with the rest of your kitchen, considering your home’s style and architecture.

From: Amy Zolin

Resilient Work Surfaces

If you’re a type-A perfectionist and brushed off the earlier advice to select a countertop that will patina, you’re not alone in your search for durability. Interior designer Marie Flanigan explains her reasoning: "I generally look to hardware and lighting for an exciting dose of drama that can be easily switched out over the years and select hard finishes that I feel confident will stand the test of time. Resilient work surfaces that boast beauty and brawn, like sturdy granites and quartzites in soft, soothing colorways, ensure your kitchen is equipped to handle anything you throw at it (literally) while looking fabulous doing it!"

White Refrigerator

"There is NOTHING wrong with a white refrigerator!" urges interior designer Leanne Ford. "The iPhone actually made solid and colored appliances acceptable again. In my opinion, white is timeless in any and all forms." There you have it, straight from the mouth of a pro: Keep your white refrigerator.

Farm Sink

Leanne is also a proponent of farm sinks, but not because they’re trendy. "[They] have been around long before the days of Pinterest and will be around long after," she says. Timeless and trendy makes for a winning combination in our book.


If you thought concrete was an industrial trend soon to be on its way out, think again. Leanne says concrete — on the counters, walls, backsplash and floors — is here to stay. Warm it up with earthy tones or natural wood to achieve balance and harmony.

Shaker-Style Cabinets

"Shaker-style cabinets are an excellent choice for updating a kitchen or bathroom," says interior designer Becki Owens. "The clean, simplistic lines of this style of cabinetry not only stand the test of time but give your home a fresh, more modern look when paired with a simple backsplash or a mitered-edge counter. I like to pair Shaker-style cabinetry with white subway tile and natural wood in either open shelving or styled accents on the counters. This combo is always a win."

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