7 Dated Kitchen Trends to Steer Clear of in 2024 (and 3 that’ll always be in style)

Image via Home Depot

Figuring our which kitchen trends to avoid during a remodel can help you narrow down your choices and make kitchen design decisions that you’re happy with for many years. After all, remodeling a kitchen is a big undertaking, both from a financial perspective, and a lifestyle one, so it’s usually something most homeowners do once or twice in their lives.

I’ve been covering home decor trends for major magazines for more than 12 years, and in that time I’ve seen a bunch of kitchen trends come and go. Some I’ve liked, and have been sad to see disappear. Others were always a bad idea, and finally ran their course.

Before I dive into the outdated kitchen trends for 2024, I want to share a few tips on approaching kitchen trends in general.

What kitchen trends to avoid?

I love that this kitchen feels like it’s been there all along, which is always a good goal to aim for when plannign yours. Design: Joanna Gaines

First and foremost, my opinion is that overly trendy kitchen design should be avoided, for a few reasons.

For one, a kitchen is a functional space, and trends sometimes come at the cost of function. See: open shelving. Any trend that looks good or seems hip but will make living in your home and using your kitchen more difficult should be avoided, because eventually you’ll get frustrated and regret the decision. Before saying yes to any trend, consider whether it’ll work for your specific home and lifestyle.

And two, remodeling a kitchen is expensive and time consuming. It’s not like choosing a funky coffee table or hanging a bold wallpaper and deciding you don’t like it anymore in a couple of years. You’ll likely be living with your kitchen for a decade or longer. So, it’s best to avoid anything *too* trendy, and to keep the trends you do incorporate to things you can change.

Good spots to try out trends in the kitchen include kitchen light fixtures, like the ones above the sink or island, carpet runners, backsplash tile, cabinet hardware, and event cabinet color. You can change all of that stuff out fairly inexpensively.

When it comes to kitchen design, the hard areas of update are: layouts, flooring, countertops and cabinet style. When it comes to these major kitchen components, classic is the best investment.

And finally – the below list of kitchen trends to avoid is not finite. And by that I mean that some of the trends I’ve listed as going out of style might very well work for the style of your home. I’m referencing each of these trends in a mass-market, builder grade, generic kitchen kind of way, but I’m sure a talented designer or builder could make all of these still look great (ok, not all of them..). To help you figure out the context, I’ve tried to include lots of photos of the don’ts and dos.

Outside of this general guidance, there are certain specific kitchen trends to avoid, since they’re quickly becoming dated (or just aren’t really all that functional). Here’s a rundown.

Dated kitchen trends to avoid

These kitchen trends range from easy-to-fix to permanent, but even if they’re easy to swap, why waste your money on something that won’t be in style, or that you won’t love, in a few years?

1. Open shelving*

I love the way these IKEA shelves look when perfectly styled, but after living with open shelves, I also know it’s hard to keep ’em that way

It seems like open shelving was in every coveted kitchen inspo pic for a solid decade. It was different, it offered lots of potential for cute styling, and it was a cheap way to modernize a kitchen. You simply knocked down your old cabinets and put up shelving in its place.

But, people (including me! I have open shelving in our Vermont cabin) have quickly come to realize that open shelving isn’t really all that functional. Your cups get dusty, you knock stuff off the shelves, and it’s hard to keep the shelves looking neat. I feel like, with my open shelves, I’m constantly trying to marry the functionality of the shelves, because we actually need the storage space, with the styling aspect. Having lived with open shelving and upper cabinets, I much prefer to just shove my plates and mismatched glassware behind closed doors.

*(If you don’t have kids or grandkids, you can still go with this one if it fits the style of your home. Kids come with collections of brightly colored rubber dinnerware, and they also have a tendency to break your nice dinnerware and climb on the counters to try and fish things off your shelves, which makes open shelving not worth the hassle).

Instead of open shelving, forgo shelves and upper cabinets. Design: Amelia Canham Eaton

If you like the look of no upper cabinets, skip them (and the shelving) altogether, and work on adding extra storage space elsewhere to compensate. Or, if you want to do open shelves, combine them with upper cabinetry, and use them as an accent to display cookbooks or decor, instead of as one of the major storage elements in your kitchen.

2. All black fixtures on all-white kitchens

The modern farmhouse decor trend brought with it the rise of matte black hardware on white, Shaker-style kitchen cabinets. If I had to guess, I’d say that this look was probably the number one kitchen design style that new home builders put in their kitchens from 2012-2020, but the high-contrast black and white look is starting to feel dated. Instead, it’s evolving into something that’s a little more warm and layered, like the space below.

The right way to do black hardware this year. Image via Studio McGee

So, if you love black hardware, you can still use it, but consider cabinets in natural wood tones and perhaps a white island, like the image above, or mix your brass hardware with a brass faucet and brass light fixtures to create a more unique look that doesn’t feel so stamped in time.

3. Gray-toned flooring

Image via Home Depot
Image via Flooring Inc – Imagine how much prettier this kitchen would be with pale oak floors?

Gray-toned wood floors, wood-look tiles and laminates are a big no in 2023, and probably my number one kitchen trend to avoid if I had to choose one. This one I’m going to just draw a hard line on and say there are no good use cases for it. It’s ugly.

Gray-toned flooring was a big style for about five years, but it’s already becoming rare to see it as a the flooring choice in new construction, as flooring trends have already gone back to more naturally inspired tones like pale oak and espresso.

Which brings me to my next kitchen trend to avoid …

4. Too much gray

Avoid the gray overload look. Image via Home Depot

Gray was the it color for about a decade, so it naturally made its way into the kitchen. But, things went a little too far with gray cabinets, cool-toned counters, chrome fixtures, stainless appliances, etc. The all-gray look feels cold and industrial, especially for the heart of the home.

Beige, tan, brown, cream, and warm wood tones are the new neutrals in design, but that doesn’t mean you need to write off gray altogether.

If you want a neutral kitchen and still love gray, go for a warm gray or greige (I like Sherwin Williams Repose Gray and Behr Perfect Taupe) which feels richer and more modern. Here’s a lovely example of gray done right.

Image via @Natasha_Haberman
This warmer, pale taupe kitchen is a gorgeous alternative to gray. Image via DeVol Kitchens

The key is mixing it with things like warm wood tones, brass hardware and lighting, and textured barstools.

5. Glass mosaic backsplash tile

Glass mosaic tile was probably Home Depot’s best-selling tile in the 2010s. You can probably picture it in your head: that narrow, horizontal brick tile in different sizes and colors. The colors were usually gray, slate, clear and silver. In fact, I had this exact tile in the very first condo my husband I bought, in South Boston, and at the time, I thought it was very chic. This was back in 2013.

Avoid that tile. It still may be for sale at Home Depot, but it’s out of style now.

If you’re looking for a timeless alternative, choose a glass subway tile in a single shade. It’s less busy, so you won’t get sick of it as quickly (if it all).

6. Builder’s grade light fixtures

A builder’s grade light fixture from Home Depot.

If you’re designing a kitchen on a budget, lighting is one of the areas that will give you the most bang for your buck. And if you have huge kitchen budget, and you choose builder’s grade lighting (i.e. those basic pendant lights with a glass can shade), it’ll instantly make your space look cheap.

Basic light fixtures cost anywhere from $50-$150. But you can get beautiful, stylish kitchen light fixtures for around $300-$500. When you consider what a kitchen remodel costs, spending an extra few hundred dollars isn’t much for a big impact.

7. Granite Countertops

Remember watching HGTV in the early 2000s and literally every homebuyer on House Hunters was looking for stainless steel appliances and granite countertops? Well, as a population, we’re moving beyond our granite phase.

Granite countertops, especially in earth tones, have fallen out of style in favor of quartz, engineered stone, and even porcelain countertops. Marble is still popular as well, but more and more homeowners are choosing the marriage of form and function that engineered and non-porous options offer.

Timeless kitchen trends that are always in style

Certain kitchen ‘trends’ aren’t really trends at all. These looks will last for a decade or more, which is exactly what you want for your kitchen design.

1. Subway tile

Subways tile was huge for a few years, and though we might be past the subway tile craze, it’s a classic that always looks tasteful. Generally, design ideas that have a long history behind them (subway tile was first made for the New York City subway in 1904), stand the test of time better than newer ideas.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly, timeless backsplash, subway tile remains a top choice.

2. White cabinets

This is my kitchen. We moved into our home in 2018, but the previous owners remodeled this kitchen in 2006, and I still love the way it looks.

Like subway tile, white kitchen cabinets seemed like the ONLY thing people were doing for a while. Now, we’re seeing a lot more color in the kitchen, and wood tones are back, too. But, white is still timeless and versatile, and remains a popular cabinet color choice no matter what the trends are. Studio McGee kitchens, for example, are known for being kitchen goals, and many of them are white.

3. Ceiling height cabinets.

Cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling look custom and expensive (even if they’re not), which leads to a more finished, high-end style. If it’s in your budget to add ceiling-height cabinets, or cabinets that get as close to the ceiling as possible, it’s a worthwhile investment.

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