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I'm an interior decorator. Here are 10 things I'd never have in my kitchen.

I'm an interior decorator. Here are 10 things I'd never have in my kitchen.
  • As an interior decorator, I think kitchens need to be designed for functionality and timelessness.

  • Real and faux plants and glassware on open shelving get way too grimy and dusty.

  • I think matching dish sets and table settings lack personality and won't impress your guests.

As an interior decorator, I know some things can look tacky or would never be functional in a kitchen.

Here are 10 things you would never find in my kitchen.

Impractical countertops aren't versatile in the long run.

A kitchen with a butcher-block topped center island and black countertops.
Avoid butcher-block countertops.chuckcollier/Getty Images

If you're renovating your kitchen, I recommend selecting countertops that are neutral and conventional to most designs.

Though it's tempting to design your space to match current trends, going with neutral big-ticket items, like a countertop, will allow you the flexibility to change your decor in the future.

I'd especially avoid materials like butcher block, wood, concrete, and tile because they have a trendy, distinct look and may require special maintenance. Instead, use those materials in a portion of your kitchen, like in a separate bar area, to give you the look you want without committing 100% to the trend.

Plants get too grimy in the kitchen.

Mostly white and cream kitchen with plants
Without regular cleaning, grease and dust build up on plants.New Africa/Shutterstock

Plants are a beautiful addition to kitchen decor but they collect dust and can get covered in layers of cooking grease that's hard to clean off. Faux plants might also trap cooking odors if not regularly cleaned, and natural plants are susceptible to mold, mildew, and pests.

Though I recommend staying away from plants, if you really love the look of greenery, I'd go with the faux version and place them further away from the stove to avoid grease buildup. Or, pot fresh herbs for a beautiful, tasty decor accent that you'll regularly use in recipes and won't need to clean.

Many laminate cabinets can't withstand a little water.

Laminate cabinets in kitchen
Laminate cabinets are very susceptible to water damage.Alphotographic/Getty Images

Prefabricated laminate cabinets are a popular builder's choice because they're easy to install and very budget-friendly. However, any spraying water can seep into the seams and cause the particle board to swell and the laminate surface to bubble up.

If your budget allows, I always recommend choosing wood cabinets. They're more durable, can have an upscale finish, and may be painted over if your taste changes over time.

Matching dish sets lack personality.

White dish set on a table setting
Matching dish sets don't bring any unique qualities to the kitchen.Tracy ben/Shutterstock

It makes sense to pick up a dish set with identical matching plates, bowls, and saucers from your local big-box store. But, in my opinion, matching dish sets can look boring and often lack personality.

Instead, I favor the elevated look of a coordinated, customized plate setup. Impress your guests by selecting individual pieces with matching or complementary colors, patterns, and styles to create a cohesive, visually pleasing table setting.

As a bonus tip, intentional linen tablecloths and place mats can also bring your personality into the kitchen and give a designer feel.

Heavy drapes will trap cooking odors.

Mauve drapes in kitchen
Heavy drapes can weigh down the look of the kitchen.onurdongel/Getty Images

Thick, luxurious curtains are better left out of the kitchen so they can avoid grease and cooking odors.

Cotton and linen fabrics, which many drapes are made out of, quickly fade in direct sunlight and need to be regularly washed. Thick curtains also visually weigh down a space, a tone that doesn't fit an energetic work zone like a kitchen.

I recommend framing kitchen windows with sheer polyester curtains, wooden blinds, shutters, or roller shades for privacy and some UV protection. These window treatments have clean lines and will keep your kitchen bright and functional.

Top-mount sinks are not my favorite choice.

Top-mount sink
Instead of top-mount sinks, I'd go with the beautiful streamlined design of under-mount versions.brizmaker/Getty Images

Top-mount sinks are usually the most budget-friendly option and are easy to install: Just drop the sink into a precut hole in the countertop and seal the edges. However, grime can easily build up along the seam between the sink and the countertop.

I also think the top-mount sink looks less sophisticated compared to the under-mount or farmhouse options. Under-mount sinks allow you to wipe water and debris directly off the countertop and have a more intentional, modern design.

Builder-grade cabinet hardware bores me.

white lower cabinets in kitchen with silver handles
I especially don't like the look of basic silver hardware.Bogdan Sonjachnyj/Shutterstock

I think the current trend of leaving builder-grade silver rods and knobs on cabinets lacks personality and can make even a luxurious kitchen feel underwhelming. Swapping out dull, builder-grade cabinet hardware is a relatively inexpensive way to spice up your decor.

Think about the elements of your home that excite you and incorporate that design element into your kitchen hardware. For example, if your decor aesthetic is modern vintage, go with modern-looking cabinets and install playful gold vintage hardware.

Open shelving in the kitchen can be a chore to keep clean.

A kitchen with open shelving
Open shelving allows the glassware and dishes to collect dust.David Papazian/Shutterstock

Open shelving is a beautiful way to display fine glassware but the accumulation of dust and grease on exposed items requires frequent cleaning. The lack of concealed storage to keep clutter out of sight can also create a visually chaotic, cluttered space.

I recommend going with cabinets with transparent glass to keep the open shelving without the risk of dusty glassware. If you have to go with the light, airy look of open shelves, I recommend using them sparingly and displaying items that are easy to clean and organize.

I'd never put non-soft-close cabinets and drawers in my kitchen.

A kitchen with blue cabinets
Using cabinets that slam shut can negatively impact your kitchen experience.Hendrickson Photography/Shutterstock

Many traditional cabinets lack the dampening technology that prevents doors and drawers from slamming shut. Slamming cabinets shut can accelerate wear and tear on hinges or slides and isn't a pleasant kitchen experience.

Soft-close cabinets and drawers extend the lifespan of the hardware and add an element of luxury to your kitchen experience without breaking the bank. Adding soft-close cabinets to your kitchen can also be a relatively simple DIY project.

Drawers and cabinets without shelves are organizers are an inefficient use of space.

Gray lower kitchen cabinets
I like to opt for drawers rather than lower cabinets without shelving.Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

Prefabricated cabinets, especially lower cabinets, are usually large empty spaces without much functionality for organizing your belongings. Although they may cost less upfront, you'll probably need to install organizers and buy shelves to maximize the storage space.

In a modern kitchen, I prefer large drawers or cabinets with pull-out shelves. Smart storage solutions like vertical utensil drawers and cutting-board racks are also great ways to keep your countertops clutter-free and your kitchen organized.

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