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Things That Outdate Your Kitchen!

Is your kitchen decor so outdated it makes you nostalgic for the days of mullets, skinny ties, and acid-washed jeans? Don’t feel bad. It’s easy to get comfortable with what you know and love.

Some kitchen trends are timeless, but other decor choices have a definite expiration date. In fact, there may be a number of culprits in your kitchen that are making it look woefully outdated.

So whether you’re thinking of sprucing up your house to sell or you simply want to bring your kitchen into the current decade, here’s how to improve those passé kitchen components without breaking the bank.

Pine cabinets

Ah, the cozy country look of pine. Pine cabinets reached their height of popularity in the 1970s and ’80s, and kitchens featuring them now look like they’re stuck in a time warp. Thankfully, as long as you’re willing to put some elbow grease into a rehab, you’ll be able to beam your kitchen back to the present day in a weekend.

“As much as we love the old country look, pine furniture only dates a kitchen,” says Catherine Mack, co-owner of House Buyer Network in Lewisville, TX. “You can transform your kitchen in three simple steps of just sanding, priming, and adding a slick of neutral paint over your kitchen cupboards.”

You can buy everything you need at your local home store, or online at the Home Depot. The price of all of the tools and paint will cost about $150.

Retro hardware and faucets

Like pine cabinets, retro hardware and faucets can date your kitchen. Installing upgrades will not only modernize the space, they may also end up saving you money over the long haul.

“Faucets and hardware could be considered the ‘jewelry’ of the kitchen,” says Jean-Jacques L’Henaff, leader of LIXIL Global Design. “An old, dull faucet can hold your kitchen back from feeling new, modern, and refreshed. New faucets are often more aesthetically pleasing and come with various water-saving features like pause and resume functions. Plus, they can often be installed in a matter of minutes by yourself with some basic tools, saving you a good amount of cash in the process.”

Fashionable hardware can be found at your local home improvement store, or online at, where prices start at around $10. Faucets can also be purchased in home improvement stores or online at Home Depot, where prices start at around $42.

Inspirational word art

If you have words like “Love” or “Breathe” on your kitchen wall—or anywhere else in your home—it’s time to retire them. Inspirational quotes need to go, too.

“Word signs on walls in the kitchen have run their course,” says Kieth Au, national sales manager at Sugatsune America in Carson, CA. “Replace them with paintings or photographs that are timeless instead of trendy. They’re more captivating and more thought-provoking.”

Drab colors

When was your kitchen painted? If you have no idea or the date stretches back past a few presidential elections, it’s probably time for a refresh.

“Paint colors can be very trendy and can go out of style,” says Lindsey Mahoney, a licensed real estate agent and founder of DIY site Building Bluebird in Toledo, OH. “Hues often shout the decade they belong to. If the kitchen is painted in one of those hues, a can of new paint and a weekend spent at home can significantly alter the room’s appearance and atmosphere.”

Brighten up the kitchen with a few fresh coats of light, natural white or gray paint. Prices for paint and supplies at home improvement stores like Lowe’s will cost about $150.

Funky lighting

If your kitchen’s lighting was installed a long time ago or is mismatched, it’s time to upgrade to modern, sleek recessed lighting.

“Getting rid of competing lights of various shapes and sizes and putting in simple recessed lighting is a nice understated touch that can make a big difference in your kitchen,” says Au.

Home Depot offers an entire guide to recessed lighting, including information on how to install it. Prices for recessed lighting start at around $20.

Mounted pots and pans

Organizing your pots and pans by hanging them from racks mounted on the ceiling was in fashion 20 years ago. Today, that looks dated and, chances are, your cookware is dusty.

“Times have changed, says Robin Antill, director at Leisure Buildings. “The fact that these pots may be difficult for certain people to reach is one of the biggest issues with this outmoded fashion. As we all know, not every pot has been used recently, and the appearance also has the disadvantage of making infrequently used things get dusty. By taking down the hanging pot rack, you may arrange your kitchen and make it appear more welcoming.”

Taking down the rack is free in theory, but may require minor patches or a repaint job.

These jobs are all small enough to take on solo and in a weekend. But the impact will be enormous. Go forth and modernize!

Kathleen Willcox,