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  • Writer's pictureGita Jacobson

Remodeling & Design Don'ts

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Remodeling & Design Don'ts

Here's my list of Remodeling & Design Don'ts when it comes to making design choices.

1. Don't use glass mosaic tile as your kitchen backsplash.

There are so many glass tile mosaics in a tile showroom it is no wonder lots of people think they are in style. If you removed just this type of tile from any showroom you would have half of your tile options gone. And it would make selecting tile a whole lot easier!

It doesn't matter what color they are, what shape, or what size. Glass tile mosaics are dated and not high-end looking.

glass tile kitchen backsplash

Pro tip: If you want a mosaic look for natural stone mosaics or ceramic ones.

2. Don't put racing stripes in your shower.

This look is so outdated and overdone. You don't need racing stripes inside your shower. And certainly not in glass mosaic tile.

beige tile shower

Pro tip: If you want to add some detail look at adding it inside of a niche. Just please don't use glass mosaic!

3. Don't skimp out on your cabinets. As a kitchen designer, you have no idea how many times I have heard homeowners contemplate cheap prefab cabinets. After all, a white shaker cabinet is a white shaker cabinet. And Ikea and other online retailers promise the best cabinets. Don't believe it! In the end you always get what you pay for. Cheaper cabinets are cheaper for a reason. First off, the quality is not comparable. You'll get cheaper drawer joints, cheaper guides, cheaper inserts. You'll also get thinner wood panel doors and veneers instead of solid wood. The hinges aren't as strong and you'll begin to notice deterioration immediately. On the layout side you'll end up with lots of filler pieces that will fill in the gaps because your cabinets don't truly fit your space. It's like buying jeans that are too short and adding a jean-material border at the bottom to give the illusion the jeans are long enough. It looks sloppy and cheap. Lastly, you'll pay a lot more for installation because making these cheap cabinets fit and look right takes a lot of effort. So what you save on cabinets will get put into the labor.

Pro tip: Make sure your custom cabinet company does the install as well. This will cut out a large chunk of labor and ensure the cabinets are installed perfectly.

4. Don't get trendy plumbing fixtures. Stay away from trendy fixture designs. If a faucet has a strange cut out in the spigot or a twisty shape, stay away. You want your plumbing fixtures to make a statement but not that kind. Stick to designs that are classic and will stand the test of time.

chrome bathroom faucet

Pro tip: Mount the faucet on the wall instead of on top of the countertop for some added flair and design.

5. Don't use brown as the main color. A design that features a bunch of brown tones will look dated. People like to mix limestone tile with mahogany cabinets and brown mosaic. It's way too much brown and looks awful.

brown tile bathroom

Pro tip: Try using a warmer gray instead of brown.

6. Don't put tile on your floors in living spaces. What if we put tile in our living room! Nope, bad idea. Unless you live in Miami or on the beach you have no reason to use tile in your living spaces. Please opt for engineered hardwood.

7. Don't create a large island that you can't sit at. "We don't really sit at the island." I'm shocked how many times I hear this. People ask for a massive island with no seating. The island is the center of your kitchen. It's where you prep and cook, do homework, have meals, read a magazine, not to mention the single most popular place your guests will congregate when you have a party. Yes, you need seating!

kitchen with large grey island

8. Don't design a huge square island! Another island faux pas is designing your kitchen around a massive square island. For starters stay away from square shapes in general. But imagine trying to serve food to your child who is sitting 60" away from where you are standing. You can't even reach over to hand them a plate or take a plate from them. It's impractical and the center of the island becomes the biggest waste of space in your kitchen. But it does finally give you that perfect place to place that big decorative bowl or vase you've been trying to figure out where to put!

modern kitchen with square island

Pro tip: If you have too much space look at adding two islands. One that is a work island and one that offers seating.

9. Don't raise your seating counter to bar stool height on an island. Leave your island at one height. Don't raise the seating area to counter height. That look is outdated and cuts off the space visually and functionally. If you want bar style seating do it somewhere else.

two tier kitchen island

Pro tip: Keep in mind that bar height seating is difficult for kids and elderly to use. So it isn't overly family friendly.

10. Don't mix and match fixture brands. Stick to one brand when you're picking appliances or plumbing fixtures. Seeing multiple brand labels in one place makes it look like you went shopping at different times or bought a bunch of random sale items. Furthermore, each brand has a unique take on any particular finish. A stainless in Wolf and Samsung will never match.

Also, stick to the same level of fixture in one space. Pairing a $1,000 bathroom faucet from Samuel Heath with a cheap Kohler sink looks tacky. Especially because Kohler likes to stick their logo front and center on just about everything they make.

Pro tip: Remember, that you can always panel a dishwasher, fridge, or wine fridge so that you avoid the mismatch look.

You can flip most sinks so that the logo is on the edge of the countertop side. That way you don't see the logo when you look at the vanity.

Good luck! Happy remodeling!

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