10 Things That Immediately Make Your Kitchen Look Dated

Retro, or simply outdated?

We love old houses. Their architectural styles tell stories from the past, and their classic character feels familiar and welcoming. A place with a history behind it is a major draw for many potential buyers. However, some aspects of an old home can feel outdated rather than retro. Stepping through the front door of a 1970s rancher can often feel like a time warp. While keeping the home's original character is great, making some updates is necessary, so you don't feel stuck in another decade. Repainting the exterior, for example, is an easy way to freshen up an older home. Some interior design trends—wood paneling, popcorn ceilings, vertical blinds—should be left in the past for good. Here are things that immediately date your house:

Outdated Kitchen
Getty Images

1. Busy Granite Countertops

The one thing that will immediately make your home look outdated is the material of your kitchen countertops. Busy granite instantly ages a space. The dizzying pattern of the heavy slabs becomes an unwelcome focal point and usually overpowers the rest of the room.

2. Outdated Cabinetry

Granite countertops typically pair with natural wood cabinets, but pine or hickory cabinetry can date your kitchen's style back a few decades. Additionally, cabinetry with gold or brass fixtures shows that the kitchen hasn't had an update for a while.

3. Ceramic Tile Countertops

Another countertop material that instantly ages your kitchen is tile. Ceramic tile counters crack easily, so they don't stand up to the demands of a hardworking kitchen. Bright white grout quickly gets stained by inevitable spills, leaving even a clean space looking dirty.

4. Outdated Colors

Color trends constantly change. In the 1970s, people used bold colors like avocado green or poppy red in kitchens. Repainting cabinetry, for instance, is a cost-efficient way of bringing a new look (and incorporating some color) to the room.

5. Old Window Treatments

Nothing dates a house quite like the look of dusty window treatments. Drapes with dated styles, heavy fabrics, or ornate paneling signify older decor. Opt for a modern or custom blind to make a home more contemporary. Over-the-top floral window treatments are also a common indication of outdated decor.

6. Clashing Backsplash

Picking a backsplash that doesn't clash with a busy granite pattern poses another challenge. Unfortunately, replacing kitchen countertops can be pricey. Purchasing granite remnants rather than investing in entire slabs is one way to save money. Or keep the original countertops and freshen up the space in other ways.

7. Busy Wallpaper Prints

Mixing clashing prints can date a home, but this rule has exceptions. Depending on the style, bold and expressive wallpaper might be leftover from the 1970s or 1980s decorating style, but more modern wallpaper can also have a maximalist look. If wallpaper is intended to be bright, but looks a bit faded or dull, then it is probably a good idea to exchange it for something new or choose a neutral paint color instead.

8. Wood Paneling

Often found in a home built around the 1950s through 1970s, wood paneling was an inexpensive and easy-to-install option for wall decor. Alternatively, if you like the look of wood paneling, then try updating it with a new wood stain or paint color. Also, a wainscotted wall tends to appear more modern.

9. Dim Light Fixtures

Lighting can have a significant impact on the way a room looks. Recessed or overhead lighting and fluorescent bulbs cast a harsh light. It's better to have a strategically placed row of pendant lights or a variety of table and floor lamps.

10. Outdated Appliances

If the appliances are old, then the entire space will appear dated. White and small appliances tend to give an outdated impression. Although appliances are often one of the more costly updates, they can significantly impact your home's future real estate value.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles