12 Timeless Kitchen Finishes for a Kitchen Remodel

This kitchen remodel has twelve timeless kitchen finishes for a remodel that will increase the value of your house.  The kitchen is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It was featured in Colorado Homes and Lifestyles, and one year later, it is still a practical and functional space. The kitchen designer was Second Nature Interiors.

White Kitchen Cabinets with Glass Doors

Kitchen cabinets are the backbone of your kitchen, and white is the most classic color. Choose white uppers if you decide on Tuxedo Cabinets as we did. We chose Greenfield Cabinetry with Glacier uppers to match the true white wood molding colors in the house, and Cyberspace (SW 7076) lower cabinets.  Greenfield Cabinetry offers an affordable option, built from solid wood.  I consider them a moderately priced yet high quality alternative.  If you want a timeless kitchen, you should have cabinets that will last. Otherwise, why bother?

classic kitchen with tuxedo cabinets, subway backsplash, marble counters and groceries on island
Photo by M. Camilli

Smart Storage Solutions

KornerKing aftermarket storage solutions for your base corner cabinets are a very smart solution instead of Lazy Susans.  They have drawers and also spin like a lazy susan with storage bins on the side to maximize storage space.

Kornerking cabinet smart storage solution for corners
Kornerking corner cabinet solution
This kornerking storage cabinet is an excellent smart storage solution to maximize kitchen organization.
Photo by M. Camilli

Carrara Marble Counters

These are absolutely gorgeous, and have been used in Italian kitchens for a thousand years. For American homeowners they are either a work of art that gets lovingly cared for, or a complete hassle to maintain.  They are not always as palatable to American designers because of the patina and etching they develop.  My review of the Carrara Marble countertops is here. The cost for natural marble is on the low end of the granite scale. If you don’t want the upkeep, you can always choose a quartz version.

Classic kitchen with marble counters and farmhouse sink.
Photo by M. Camilli

Mid-Toned Brown Hardwood Floors

Mid-toned brown stain is the most classic and timeless color for wood floors. We replaced charcoal tile floors with stained #1 Red Oak hardwood.  The stain was 50/50 Minwax Classic Gray and Jacobean.  Make sure that you test combinations in place on the floor you will stain for exactly the right color.

Red Oak Hardwood Floors, MinWax, 50/50 Jacobean and Classic Gray
Mid-toned brown hardwood floors are classic and timeless

Mid-toned wood floors are timeless

White Subway Tile

I resisted subway tile as a design choice, but we chose it because we ran out of money. This has become one of my favorite parts of the kitchen, which has Western exposure.  No one ever told me how the glossy subway tile sparkles as the sun hits it in the afternoon.  We used Daltile White Rittenhouse 3X6 Subway tile.

Island Pendants

Pendants provide much needed task lighting to kitchen islands.  They are both practical and beautiful! How I adore these Thomas O’Brien Hicks Pendants. They are like jewelry! When they arrived, I opened the box gleefully, and the first thing I saw were the rectangular links on the pendant chain. The links are RECTANGLES!  So beautiful.  I was worried about using them because you see them so often on Pinterest.  I looked through my local Zillow listings, and did not see them anywhere. Best splurge ever!  One of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make is to install pendants that are too small.  Link here for an article on how to choose the best size for your pendants.  Studio McGee has a great article on how to hang pendant lights here.

Subway Tiles a classic finish for a Timeless Kitchen
Photo by M. Camilli

Cabinet Pulls

We chose Restoration Hardware Asbury Satin Nickel Pulls 6” pulls for the smaller drawers and cabinets, and 8” pulls for the larger ones. I had Restoration Hardware knobs for 18 years in my old kitchen, and repurposed in the laundry room and other bathrooms.  They never showed wear, and I simply got tired of them.  They have another 20 years of life to them. The new pulls will last for at least twenty years. They are solid and beautiful.

Farmhouse Sink

I chose a Kohler Whitehaven farmhouse sink because the design is so practical and gets the person that is doing dishes closest to the sink.  It is big enough to hide all of your dishes, including cookie sheets and roasting pans if you don’t get to them.  I clean it with Comet bleach.  I had a Koehler 2-basin sink with the same finish for 15 years, and I scrubbed it with powdered bleach cleanser every day.

Tall Kitchen Faucet

The Kraus KPF-2130 Stainless Steel Pullout Spray Kitchen Faucet was purchased in 2012, and kept for the remodel.  It has been dependable and beautiful, with great water pressure at a moderate price. This was a great purchase, and I bought the dispenser to match. It comes with a limited lifetime warrantee, and they have already replaced the faucet head.

Farmhouse sink in classic kitchen remodel with carrara marble kitchen counters
Koehler Whitehaven Farmhouse Sink – Photo by M. Camilli

White Ceilings

Ceilings were painted with Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace (OC-65) with flat finish, to match the Greenfield Cabinet Glacier White color. The white-on-white transitions between ceiling and crown molding add subtle texture.

Electric Outlets Installed Low

These should be low on the backsplash to keep plugs hidden, and include USB ports for modern devices.

Kitchen backsplash with outlets installed low
Photo by M. Camilli

Stainless Steel Appliances

Many have predicted the end of stainless steel for appliances, but it is here to stay.  Stainless looks beautiful with Carrara marble.  We picked all stainless appliances, and I expect them to be stylish for long after they wear out.  I picked Kitchenaid refrigerator, oven/microwave combo and cooktop, and a Bosch dishwasher.  You can use white, but only if it’s the right color for the kitchen.  Stainless will go with anything.  Except for cooktops, avoid black appliances.  They really darken a kitchen.

Stainless refrigerator and oven/microwave combo in a classic kitchen
Photo by M. Marceny

The Verdict

If you have any doubts about how classic these timeless kitchen finishes are, take a look at this ubiquitous kitchen from “Something’s Got to Give”, a classic movie from 2003.  It is as beautiful today as it was then.

Somethings Gotta Give Classic Kitchen
“Something’s Gotta Give” Kitchen (2003) from Modern Country Style Blog

Online Color Consulting

If you still need help with paint colors, check out our Online Color Consulting packages or an In-Person Color Consultation in the Denver Metro area. We even offer paint color consulting services to help choose cabinet paint color.

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8 Responses

  1. Thanks, Meghan! It’s amazing and I enjoy it every day. It just goes to show how important a kitchen designer is.

  2. HI! We are in the process of re-doing parts of our kitchen and are currently obsessing over the white to paint the existing cabinets to match the white appliances. (well, I am. My husband, not so much!) I am wondering about finish. If we do a honed countertop, what finish do we do the cabinets and the backsplash? My kitchen is L shaped and has a south / south west window. The kitchen flows into the breakfast nook area, which has a lot of windows facing the south east. So many things to decide! Thank you for your input.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      It really depends on which paint you are using. All of the paint manufacturers use their own nomenclature for sheen. For example, Benjamin Moore Eggshell is the same as Sherwin Williams Satin. That said, I would use Satin Sheen for Benjamin Moore Advance paint. For Sherwin Williams, I would pick Semi-Gloss. Check out our blog post on sheens. There is a great conversion chart for sheens by paint vendor.
      Thanks,
      Michelle

  3. our home is post and beam style.. it’s time for all new cabinets and we are torn as to what will fit into this style home without looking modern.. we had shaker style and are tired of that look..we did choose an inset cabinet with moldings inside the frames.. also wanted a distressed look in a off white color.. we just can’t pull the trigger after we received a sample panel,, We just aren’t sure if this is rustic enough.. we do not want to go dark because the entire home structure is pine wood color.
    ANY suggestions would help.. Thanks Joe & T, NYC

    1. Hi Joseph,
      My suggestion would be to go with a non-distressed cabinet, as distressed cabinets are not on-trend right now and a non-distressed cabinet door will be more timeless. Also, you have enough of a rustic look in your home with the earthy finishes in your home. The inset style sounds lovely, although shaker cabinets are another very classic and timeless design. I was watching a re-run of Will and Grace the other day, and they showed Shaker cabinets in their 1990s kitchen that still looked current! In order to tie in with your home’s earthy finishes, I would recommend a creamier white cabinet color such as SW Greek Villa, SW Westhighland White, BM Swiss Coffee or BM White Dove, or a very light neutral color such as BM Edgecomb Gray, BM Classic Gray or SW Skyline Steel. An off-white might be too bright for the earthy finishes in your home, and a creamier color will look more harmonious than a crisp or off-white. You can get samples of those colors from the paint store and take them to the cabinet store. It really helps if you look at the colors outside or near the window so that the bright lights don’t wash out the color.

      Hope that helps!
      Michelle

  4. I love your take on classic finishes and years later this blog post is still relevant!! I have a question about your take on subway tile. I’ve chosen an off-white tile (to match BM Dove White upper cabinets) in 3×12 size and in a slightly wavy surface with irregular edges to make it look handmade. My husband thinks this is too much deviation from the standard 3×6 bright white flat rectangle and will look dated eventually. What do you think?

    On top of that I’m considering doing a slight variation with the tile layout. I absolutely do not want an accent tile or distinct square of herringbone behind the stove as I have always thought that is jarring to the eye. I have a U shaped bank of lowers and uppers with the stove right in the center (sink elsewhere) and the hood fan is only 9 inches higher than the upper cabinets so I want to make it appear higher. I want to do horizontal brick layout of tile until I get near the stove then, using one row of a stair step, turn the tiles vertical for the width of the stove backsplash (stove is counter height and doesn’t block the backsplash at all). Then on the other side of the stove do another row of stair step (like 90 degree herringbone) to turn the tiles back to horizontal for the rest of the backsplash. I think this will add visual interest without too much variation, but am also worried that it isn’t timeless enough and eventually will look silly. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Eliza,
      Your husband’s concern about its trendy nature is potentially an issue, but I’ve been seeing this wavy tile now for about 10 years, so I think it may become a modern classic.

      It’s hard to evaluate your project from a verbal description, but it sounds as if it could be lovely. You can purchase an ask the question package from our website to submit photos for evaluation.

      Based on your description, here are my two cents. If you are using one of those large wavy tiles, I would keep the pattern super simple. The detail is in the wavy tiles. I think you can craft a more detailed pattern with the simple flat subway tiles. Also, for this type of design use a “white” waterproof grout (to match the tile) like epoxy otherwise the pattern at best will look like graph paper, and at worst could be overwhelming. I hope that helps.

      Michelle

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Driven to help clients fall back in love with their homes with intentional paint color schemes. She started the company based on her passion for color and its ability to make a house a home.

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