A new kitchen is a huge investment for many homeowners, and so choosing a design which will not date quickly should be a key consideration.

Whether you aim to stay in your home for the foreseeable future, or plan to sell on, specifying a design with timeless appeal – rather than slavishly following the latest trends – will help ensure this room doesn’t need a makeover within a couple of years.

Stick with Kitchen Design Classics

There are some features which, despite the ebb and flow of interior trends, remain firm favourites. A butler or Belfast sink – beautifully paired with a classic bridge tap – is a prime example.


Butler sinks and bridge taps remain firm favourites. In this Real Shaker Kitchen by deVOL, the brass tap has been paired with brass cup handles for a coherent, timeless look

Again, ranges – whether you opt for a model which is achingly modern in style or traditional – seem to fit as comfortably within the 21st-century kitchen as they did in those 50 years or so prior.

When it comes to the units, Shaker-style doors remain ever-popular, regardless of passing trends. As do in-frame painted timber units.

Aim for a Cohesive Interior Scheme

Designing your space in isolation is one way to ensure it sticks out like a sore thumb in coming years. A cohesive interior scheme – whereby a holistic view is taken across the whole house – will help to ensure a new kitchen feels an integral part of the house. 

Kitchen from 1909 kitchens

Using the same cabinetry in the hall and kitchen creates a sense of cohesion between these spaces. This kitchen is from 1909

This could involve:

  • Picking up colours, textures and materials used elsewhere in the house when designing your kitchen, or vice versa
  • Choosing a kitchen with period detailing can be a good idea in old homes. Many manufacturers and designers offer kitchens which emulate period details — allowing you to match original features such as Victorian cornicing within the room, with kitchen pelmets and cornices in a similar style
  • Embracing and highlighting any original features, such as exposed beams
  • Choosing similar floor coverings across open plan spaces and/or the ground floor can create a sense of flow between rooms.

Keep Your New Kitchen Simple


Light pastel units combined with neutral worktops ensure this kitchen in an oak frame self build remains a light, bright space

Timeless does not need to mean traditional. So how do you go about injecting modern style without your space being left behind the times in coming years?

  • Keep things simple and neutral. White is an obvious option, but a soft pastel colour can also work wonders
  • Handleless designs are a good choice, but cup handles and knobs offer timeless style
  • Introducing texture into a scheme through the use of natural materials, such as timber, can add warmth. Despite recent trends for dark, exotic hardwoods, lighter woods such as oak and beech remain popular

Integrate White Goods and Kitchen Appliances

Integrating white goods such as dishwashers, fridges and washing machines is a good idea, as dated appliances can detract from the look of your kitchen. Hidden behind a door, dated appliances won’t give away the age of your kitchen.


Some appliances and white goods have timeless appeal – such as the Smeg fridge freezer – in this Border Oak home.

That said, high-spec items which are unlikely to date so easily – like a sleek American-style fridge – or iconic appliances such as range cookers and Smeg fridges, can be left on display.

For smaller appliances, think about creating an appliance hub, where microwaves, toasters and the like can be hidden away from view.

Update Your Accessories — Not Your Kitchen

a contemporary kitchen with lots of accessories

Jeanne and Tim Flynn have chosen a modern, but simple design, and gone all out with accessories

Small appliances, accessories and artwork can be used to great effect. Such paraphernalia can bring personality and colour to otherwise neutral schemes. When you fancy an update, it’s easier – and cheaper – to swap these items than it is to replace the entire kitchen.

Natural Materials add Timeless Appeal

Natural materials such as timber and stone not only have timeless appeal but, often, offer longevity.


This kitchen in a period home has many hallmarks of a timeless kitchen: original flooring, a range cooker, Shaker units and timber worktops

While requiring some maintenance, quality oak worktops can be sanded back and re-oiled in years to come. Granite provides a robust, low-maintenance worksurface, too. 

Choose wisely however, as some natural materials such as marble can be relatively high maintenance.

Minimise Wall Units

…or even better, do without them altogether. The modern kitchen is almost always the hub of the house and as such, is beginning to feel much more like a living space than just a practical, functional room. What’s more, it usually forms part of an open plan space or kitchen diner.

As such, unit-free walls and alternatives such as open shelving often date less than those cluttered with bulky wall units.


Open shelves and a lack of wall units ensures this kitchen feels an integral part of this open plan space. Note too that the light pastel colour used for the kitchen units has been matched with other elements of joinery (the windows and doors) for a coherent look

Invest in Quality Cabinetry 

The units are the backbone of the kitchen, so it’s worth investing in quality cabinetry which will last. Look for:

  • dovetail joints
  • robust runners
  • drawer and cupboard liners and dividers that will aid the longevity of your units

Investing in quality units and hardware will also mean that you can change or paint the doors in the future without necessarily replacing the entire kitchen.

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