40+ Tips To Avoid The Most Common Tacky And Dated Kitchen Designs
We’ve all been there. Your aunt, friend, or neighbor gave you an odd little kitchen accessory or tool that you had to take but now haunts you daily when you walk into your kitchen. It is easy to have a basic and plain kitchen that isn’t super modern or on-trend, but it’s even easier to slip on the slippery slope that is tacky kitchen designs. It is exciting to have your own kitchen done to your taste, but don’t get caught up in cheap trends or your family or friends forcing figurines or hand-me-downs into your home. Make the space a functional, calm, and clean environment for cooking and making memories in. We have seen multiple lists of kitchen do’s, but it’s much more effective to have a nifty list on hand that shows us what kitchen dont’s should be avoided. The saying goes, “Everyone notices a dirty house, not a clean house,” and the same goes for bad or tacky design; people will notice a bad kitchen much more than a plain or boring one.
Keep The Pots in Your Cupboards
Hanging pots should be reserved for professional chefs in their restaurant kitchens or low-budget romcoms. You might think that hanging pots are a quirky addition to your kitchen or that they may show you are a serious home cook, but it is only gathering dust and false nods of approval from your guests.
No one wants to see your burnt-on grease on your pans. They clutter your kitchen up and bring in the sense of grime, even if they are sparkly clean. Please keep them in your cupboard like the rest of us. If you want people to know you’re an experienced cook, let your cooking do the talking, not the clanking of your cookware.
One Chandelier is Enough
Chandeliers in kitchens are already bordering the line between tacky and classy. More than one is tacky overkill. We understand your cooking might be extravagant, but lighting choices do not need to match it. Can you imagine the dust and dirt on those fixtures? That gives us goosebumps.
Let’s get technical. Chandeliers offer great lighting, you can grab some great shots for your foodie Instagram page, but that’s where the benefits end. When you cook hot foods, there is no doubt that steam and oil will get stuck to every tiny piece of your chandelier unless you’re intensively scrubbing down your chandeliers weekly, we say next!
Weird Uncomfortable Chairs Belong In Art Galleries
We get it; you love spending a fortune on furniture meant to be looked at only. We’re here to say that it needs to stop. Unless you have a display-only kitchen, get some real chairs that your guests can sit in comfortably for more than 10 minutes.
On the other hand, if you still have chairs from Grandma’s 1920s home, now is a good time to swap them out for comfortable modern chairs. Straight-back hardwood chairs will not do you and your guests’ spines any favors. The least you could do is just cancel the dinner instead of making them leave in pain.
Any pattern is already a massive risk; having more than one type of pattern or the same pattern everywhere is a guaranteed failure in the kitchen design books. It is exhausting and seems like a cheap person’s way to try and get free sample tiles.
The kitchen is not the place for you to experiment with multiple patterns or try your hand at a DIY Moroccan theme either. Keep the patterns in the art room or trash, not in a common area of your home. If you are trying to achieve a Moroccan theme, we hope you are in Morocco, or else there is some severe tackiness in your kitchen.
Close Your Mind to Open Shelves
It might look great at the store or as a photo on someone’s Instagram, but we guarantee that your mismatched china will annoy at least half of your guests. Open shelves either scream slob or compulsive cleaner; neither is an excellent topic of conversation to start the night off with.
They serve the sole purpose of driving either you or your guests insane. You will have to dust everything weekly. And we mean everything. If you don’t, your white crockery will start to look beige, your meals will always begin with a batch of dishes, and we are not about that life at all.
Linoleum Tiles Needs To End, Now
No one in their sane mind actually installs Linoleum anymore, right? It’s the ultimate worst hand-me-down when buying a new home. We would seriously prefer to settle for the concrete beneath the vinyl atrocity that is Linoleum than the actual tiles.
It is neither quirky nor a vintage ‘vibe.’ It’s a terribly disgusting breeding ground for bacteria. Who knows, you might discover a new bacteria in your Linoleum floors if you look closely. Kitchens that still have these should come standard with a hazmat suit.
Forget Fluorescent Lights
Is this your kitchen or your operating room? The cold, sterile light from a fluorescent light is anything but flattering. Your food will look like it’s just come back from the morgue, and your guests will avoid it, afraid they might be sent there too.
We hate to say it, but these lights are very tacky. They belong in garages or hospitals. Have you ever tried to replace those bulbs? They’re dangerous and can explode – do you want that to happen over the meal you’ve just put hours into making it? We think not.
Hey, they look great in stores and right out of the box – but just wait a few months, and you will see your precious white stove requires daily scrubbing, which adds to the dullness it will inevitably show. It’s a no for us.
They will provide the functionality you need, but they have become the front-runner of beginner appliances. Next time you’re out shopping for a new appliance, make sure you save a few extra bucks to spend on a stainless steel finish appliance, and please make sure your appliances’ colors match.
We’ve said what we need to about sterile, cold, and morgue-like kitchens, and having an all-white kitchen is the epitome of cold and tacky. You might think it is a good idea to choose white for everything, but practically it’s not.
It is impossible to keep clean, and any speck of dust or tiny spill will be visible from miles away. Leave the all-white kitchen for the designers at a kitchen show trying to make white work. It is not realistic unless you have a clean team running through your kitchen every 20 minutes.
Save The Rainbow The Trouble
Rainbows are meant for a bright blue sky after a fresh rainstorm, not your kitchen. All-white isn’t a great option, and neither is a rainbow-themed kitchen. Stick to a neutral color with one or two pops of color, not all of the colors.
Not only is it obnoxious to deliberately have a multitude of colors in your kitchen, but it’s also draining to the eye. Tone it down and express your vibrant personality through your food, music, or topic of conversation, not your kitchen.
Vino Themed Decor
We get it. You get a buzz on wine after a long day of work. You do not need to remind anyone of your harmful coping mechanisms while you’re in the kitchen. The signs with the wine puns should stay right there in the store and never ever leave.
We have a much quicker and cheaper way for you to say you love wine: just tell people. We know it’s super simple and easy. You can save your kitchen some stares and avoid people confusing your kitchen with a vineyard’s storefront.
There is absolutely no reason that you have to label the room with all your cooking appliances, sink, pantry, and oven as the kitchen. We promise that people will be able to distinguish that it’s not the bathroom or living room.
Unless you have a labyrinth of a home, and this is the absolute only way people will know this one door leads to your kitchen, please stop hanging these up. These are just as bad as the verbs describing what to do in rooms like “eat” or “relax” you wouldn’t be hanging one up in the bathroom that says “clean your behind,” would you?
Dated Wood Cabinets
Don’t let the face of your cabinets spill the secrets that your kitchen hasn’t been remodeled in 20 years. Unless you have a heritage site or live in a museum, please give your cabinets a fresh coat of paint. No bright colors; stick to neutral.
Every ten years or so, every kitchen seems to be remodeled in a particular type of wood. Pinewood, Oregon Wood, whatever it is, it needs to stay in that decade, please. The upside is these are mostly solid wood cabinets that are super sturdy and can be repainted very easily, so go do it!
Cross Out Cross Handle Faucets
There is an excellent reason why we design new better models of most things every now and then; because they are better. These outdated tacky faucets are not only awful to look at, but they are also awful to use.
Just because these are super expensive (or very very cheap if you have originals) does not mean they are not tacky and awful. Stop trying to go rustic, and just give in to a proper updated faucet like the rest of us.
Tuscan Style Remodels
This trend started in 2008 and hasn’t stopped bothering us since. We have terrible nightmares about these on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. We just want to know why you would spend thousands of dollars on an awful and tacky design?
Unless you are in Tuscany, don’t be a poser and try to make your kitchen look like you live there. Save the money and go to Tuscany. You can take pictures if you want to be reminded of your time there, don’t make us suffer through the tackiness too!
Ditch the Doilies (please!)
If your grandmother or relative ever made doilies, you most likely have gotten a few as inheritance or gifts. Let’s keep the highly absorbent and outdated sentiments out of the kitchen or living room. You know what, they would do great in storage!
You might love the person who gifted them to you, but you will not love the bacteria-harboring qualities of these things. They discolor most of the time as plain decoration from dust or smoke, not to mention the nightmares we’ll have if you actually use them as food covering. We’re calling in sick if you invite us over for tea time.
French Country Theme
Stop with the country themes already. You don’t have cows mooing in front of your window or grassy green hills in your backyard – you shouldn’t be trying to dress up your kitchen as if you do either. Your kitchen is not your child you’re dressing for Halloween.
Just like the Tuscan-style kitchen, these are super tacky if you don’t live in the Parisian French Countryside. Stick to regular cupboards, appliances, and by no means should you have a sign that says ‘Cuisine de France’ in there either.
So you’re trying to say out loud that you have settled for less – that’s what we hear when we see halfway tiled backsplashes. Do you know that tomato sauce and oil splashes don’t stop where your half-done backsplash ends? You’ll have to settle for a lifetime of scrubbing half wall, half tile.
Any real estate agent will sell you on the bathroom and kitchen first, and nothing puts the brakes on harder than cutting corners (or three extra rows of tiles) like half-done backsplashes. Come on, let’s do it completely and professionally, or not at all.
Kitchen desks/offices need to stay in the 80s – it was an ideal place to work out your day and store your planners, but with modern times comes modern technology; your smartphone has all of the functions that a kitchen desk would have, right in your pocket.
Who wants to work in the kitchen anyways? Making food should be the only work being done there, and it should be fun! Why bring in your office stress when you should be de-stressing. Plus, it’s only going to become a storage corner for bills, grocery bags, and clutter.
Tiled Counters and Workspaces
What’s worse than having halfway-done backsplashes? That’s right, spending extra money on tiny tiles on your counters instead. Counters get a lot of traffic, food spills, dough rolling, plopping grocery bags. That’s a lot of things to dirty the very porous grout between the tiles.
We wouldn’t recommend this trend to our worst enemies; it’s very unsanitary, and it will take forever and a day to get the grout properly clean. Don’t even think of getting black or dark grout instead, because then you would think it’s clean, but it’s not. Yuck!
Distressed Cabinets literally stress us out. They don’t make any sense when your modern 2020s home looks like it has ‘history’ from the 1920s by purposely distressing the cabinets. Why don’t you go all the way and distress your walls, floors, and curtains while you’re at it?
Spending thousands on cabinets just to make them look like they’re being repurposed for the millionth time is just outright crazy. Unless you live in a house that should be in a museum or declared a historical site, please just have ordinary cabinets.
Industrial Standards In Suburban Homes
Listen, we understand that stainless steel looks great, but there is no need to have an industrial pasta arm or walk-in fridge in your suburban home. Unless you run a soup kitchen, stick to having normal-sized appliances and liven up the place.
You’re trying to keep up with the Joneses – if the Joneses ran a kitchen meant to feed an army on a daily basis. You’re trying too hard. Make your house a home, not an industrial soup kitchen. Stick with appliances that would comfortably assist you in your cooking for your normal-sized family.
Farm Style Signs
Repeat after us: ‘I have a kitchen, not a farmers market.’ That sign serves no purpose other than gathering dust and having eyes rolled at. Do you have a little window where you sell your farm fresh eggs from? If the answer is no, don’t put up a sign saying you do.
Most of these signs are indoors, and usually, a signs’ purpose is to advertise something to the public. So while you think it’s cute and quirky, the rest of your guests and we believe you are living out some odd fantasy of having a farm in the middle of your town and selling eggs. Awkward.
Tablecloths, doilies, or curtains – if any of these are made of lace or in your home, please never invite us over. Lace used to be an indicator of wealth and status, but your lace tablecloth is probably made from cheap polyester, which by the way is highly flammable.
Suppose you have any real vintage lace, made in France, good for you! But keep it hidden away in a vacuum-sealed bag in your attic. We don’t know how many different strains of bacteria are growing there, not to mention the dust allergies that would flare up from it.
Speckled Granite Countertops
Speckled granite is outdated. It also looks very, very gross and dirty. The amount of times we’ve seen odd crusty spots if the sunlight hits the counter just right is alarming. It’s confusing to the eye and also very unpleasant in design.
What might be worse is false speckled granite countertops. That’s right, those pressed-wood countertops with vinyl over that give it a granite appearance are horrendous. Please just let the speckles go and settle for something better, such as anything else.
Okay, fair. It isn’t speckled granite, but you know what happens when something goes mainstream? It becomes cheap. That means you might even settle for faux marble. If you want a status symbol or exclusivity, go for something that is unique.
Unless your kitchen is a room in the Smithsonian, keep the museum-grade marble out of your kitchen. It used to symbolize wealth, but now everyone has it. On the plus side, we can see whether it is clean or not and avoid your kitchen if necessary.
Oh, we get it! You don’t want to clean your walls or floors ever. That’s the only logical explanation why anyone would introduce this into their homes, right? Even if it’s just been treated by the harshest cleaning products available, it immediately looks dirty.
The thing is, you can’t even use harsh cleaning chemicals on these tiles because they are so fragile, so you will always have to live with the fact that there might be growing some bacteria in the delicate minor cracks and chips. You might as well put up dirty stone-colored sponges instead.
We would just like to know why? They never look real, always have some sort of defect on them, and a child at some point tried to take a bite of it and put it back. Just have real fruit out and eat them before they go off.
Are you trying to make it look like you’re healthy or a star baker when you’re not? You don’t have to lie; we’d much rather appreciate the honesty of a bowl of real brownies or candy on your counter than being not fooled at all into the idea that you are healthy.
Any amount of ferns in your kitchen is too much. Please stop torturing those poor plants into being splashed by grease and gathering dust in your kitchen, and stop torturing everyone in your home to be greeted by these poor, dirty dust-covered plants.
They are symbols of health and life without a doubt, but they should not be in your kitchen. They have millions of tiny leaves just waiting to fall on the floor the minute you swept the previous dead leaves up. We don’t want those in our food, thank you.
The only thing that should be over your range is an extraction hood. Your constructor cut corners if you have a microwave over your oven, and we all can see it. It will be covered in grease and steam when you’re cooking which just gives us nausea from thinking about it.
Have a closer look at your microwave’s plastic components; they are sure to be warped or melted from the heat of your stove. Not to mention that it can damage the working parts of your microwave as well. Turning on the fan won’t do you any favors, either.
Open Concept Kitchens
Every home and cooking show makes it look like a dream: your family is gathered around the table, laughing at your jokes while you prepare food. It’s all a lie. Your living room smells like broccoli, and the tv is bound to be blocked by smoke if you burn something in the kitchen.
When you have guests over, and you’re trying to cook, not only with the noise from the kitchen be seriously annoying, everyone will see the mess you’re making. You can’t spill a drop without anyone noticing it. We prefer to keep the clutter out of sight and clean in peace.
Choosing a window valance can either be a hit or miss, but it’s mostly a miss if you put any sort of ornate valances in your kitchen! They’re a considerable fire hazard, especially if they are made with cheap polyester fabrics.
Keep thick (or actually, any) fabrics out of your kitchen. Settle for some easy-to-clean blinds or tint your windows with a UV treatment if you need shade. You’ll have to wash your valances and curtains every week if they’re in a space where you cook with sauces, grease, and pungent odors.
The traffic and road sign associations should exclusively be the ones allowed to use chevron patterns. It is overbearing and means danger or hazard ahead. When you’re cooking food meant to be consumed, do you want that to be your guests’ first thoughts?
Chevron is not the way to go if you want guests to notice your food or kitchen. If you want your guests to be hesitant to eat your food, try chevron in your kitchen remodel. If you want to make a point of them not touching your food, go ahead and copy the bright warning colors as well; red, yellow, and black will do the trick.
This goes hand-in-hand with overbearing rainbow kitchens. Fridges are the silent workers of the kitchen; they are well appreciated but do not need to be seen. Stop attracting attention to them. They like to be left alone to do their thing.
Perhaps the reason for bright colors on the fridge is for appetite suppression. Nothing says avoid whatever is in me like a dangerously bright red or causes nausea like a mustard yellow. Let’s leave the bright colors for your nail polish or children’s coloring books.
Put them out of their misery, let them go! These are great for durability, but they are still awful. Not to mention if you don’t polish them regularly, you get to see where the hotspots are for touching them regularly.
These remind us of the vintage statues made from brass, where tourists often touch parts, and it becomes polished in those spots only. Nothing screams yuck quite like seeing where something has been touched thousands of times. Even if it’s true, we don’t want to be reminded of it.
Do you have livestock inside your kitchen that you need barn doors? Even if you actually have livestock on your plot, there is no need for you to bring massive doors meant for animal sheds, indoors, or anywhere other than on an actual barn.
These obnoxious attempts at making your kitchen feel more ‘farm-like’ are a big no in the classy kitchen books. These rolling doors are great if you need to hide a cow in your pantry, but the railings are rarely smooth and have to be greased often. Dirt gets in there, and who knows what else. No thanks!
Listen, we understand that if you have children, these are handy. However, if you don’t have children, we are seriously concerned about your life choices. If you are at all over 21 years of age, it’s time to make adult choices and buy proper dishes- they’re probably just as inexpensive for a basic white set as you would pay for a superhero plate.
They hardly ever keep their prints for more than a year, but who wants pictures of a puppy printed on a plate. If you don’t use a dishwasher that causes the image to fade, you’ll be left with awkward scrub marks. These are just a general no from us.
These are in the same cringe category as plastic plates being used by adults. These are acceptable only when you have a large cookout or picnic in the park. They are not a replacement for everyday use, and it goes without saying these are awful for the environment.
Seriously, have you not got any running water that you don’t want to wash dishes, or are you just downright lazy? You might think you’re being eco-friendly by choosing disposable paper plates, but the reality is, any disposable plate screams, “I don’t care at all to put in an effort to live sustainably or classy.”
Mason Jar Decor
Hear us out. You can upcycle or recycle jars in more classy ways than stuffing every possible canning jar you own with flowers or hanging them from your ceiling. And worst of all, you probably bought them specifically for this purpose!
We firmly stand by actual cooks who use mason jars to can home-made foods and use them for their intended uses. If you use them for something else, you are probably just chasing another tacky trend a bored mom started on social media.
Travertine Tile Travesty
These were a great hit in the 2000s, and we love that it was a trend back then; however, if you are trying to make it work decades later, we don’t love you for that. It’s still just as gross as tumbled marble.
These limestone-based tiles are super porous. If they aren’t adequately treated and cleaned, they absorb liquid very quickly. Do you see where we’re going with this? And if they are highly polished and treated, they are super shiny and dated.
Vintage Branded Containers
There is undoubtedly a nostalgic element when it comes to seeing your favorite soap container from the 1920s or when it first launched. But old containers aren’t as charming as first edition books are. They’re pretty tacky and rub us the wrong way.
The saying “out with the old, in with the new” is one you should take to heart when it comes to containers. You wouldn’t proudly display your soap container from your recent grocery haul on your window sill, would you? What makes the 100-year-old version any better? Take a picture and keep it in a photo album hidden away.
Are you truly using your steamer, coffee maker, bread maker, and ice machine daily? If not, pack them away to save our eyes the torture of seeing cluttered countertops. It’s not much extra effort to pack away your appliance after cleaning it, so do it.
Newlyweds might be excited to brag about all their great appliances, but not only will they cause your kitchen to look extra cluttered, they will also endure much more bumps and splashes from being out on your countertop all the time. Take into account how often you will have to move each appliance to clean your countertop.
TV is For Your Living Room
In every happy family movie, you see it – the family smiles around the kitchen bar while watching their favorite morning show. That’s movies, not real life. Real-life is rushing around in the morning, getting everyone breakfast, cleaning, and getting ready for the day.
Save your brain the extra overwhelming noise from the TV while preparing your food. It’s also important to focus on your food while you eat it. Make meals a family event where you speak to each other and enjoy the food, not another mindless episode of some reality TV show.
This goes out to any statue, whether it is a miniature model of an overweight chef, a smiling cow, or a proud chicken holder for your eggs… Please keep the statues out of your kitchen. It is creepy and downright tacky.
We don’t even know who buys these. They usually just show up in kitchens and stay there for decades. Who is buying them for us, why are they so creepy, and how did you get in our house? It was probably grandma. Enough said.
Let Go of Empty Drink Bottles
There is no need to announce you have a drinking or hoarding problem by proudly displaying your empty beer bottles or cans. The same goes for wine bottles. Take the time to enjoy each sip, and then recycle the container for its following user.
You might as well add your empty food and cleaning packaging while you are busy adding your trashy beer bottles to the shelves. There is no logical reason why you should keep them around. If you like the bottle or label, take a photo and move on. And don’t even think about moving them to your bar, either.
Groceries in the kitchen drawer
This next can be a little touchy for some people, but please, hear us out. As harmless as this looks, your drawers are the last place you should be storing fresh groceries. At least if you want them to stay fresh for a long time.
Keeping things like potatoes and onions in a place like this not only renders them unusable faster but also makes your kitchen look a bit strange. Alternatively, use baskets or mesh bags to store them in the pantry so they can have access to proper ventilation, which ensures they stay fresh.