10 Trendy Kitchen Upgrades That Could Tank Your Resale Value

Will you really love that open shelving in five years?

happy african american family cooking together
Updated July 11, 2024
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While you want to love your kitchen, especially if you plan to sell your home someday, following every fad is not a smart money move and can actually hurt your resale value.

Instead, consider timeless styles that will appeal to a wider range of buyers. After all, you don't want potential homeowners to envision ripping out your kitchen the minute they step inside.

Curious about what to avoid? Here are 10 kitchen trends that you should skip over.

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Open shelving

molenira/Adobe Dish on open shelves in kitchen

When you scroll through Instagram and oggle over images of gorgeous farmhouse kitchens with their reclaimed wood open shelving, matching stoneware mugs, and perfectly appointed plates, it’s easy to think adding shelves is the key to a stylish space.

However, open shelving requires dusting, staying organized, and buying dishware that looks as pretty on the shelf as on the table. Most people don’t have the time or energy for that, and future buyers probably want to hide their stuff somewhere.

Dark cabinetry

Allison/Adobe modern kitchen with open floor plan

Beautiful navy, hunter green, and even black cabinets are striking on the pages of a magazine. They’re moody and mysterious. They’re sophisticated. And they make it tempting to pull out a paintbrush and a can of dark paint.

But resist the temptation. Once you paint your cabinets dark, it’s hard to go back, and a light kitchen is always a classic choice for resale value.

Marble countertops

umair/Adobe marble countertop in modern kitchen

Marble countertops are so incredibly chic. They look expensive (because they are!), and people think of them as timeless. However, the maintenance should be a dealbreaker for most homeowners. 

One drip of lemon juice or spill of tomato sauce, and you have etching across your counter. Future buyers will be distracted by the imperfections.

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Barn doors

Sechaba/Adobe rustic kitchen with farmhouse sink

Barn doors had a moment, but if you put them on your pantry doors, they’re instantly going to be dated to 2020. These are a trend you’ll be glad you left behind since any buyer five years from now will instantly see them as something to be replaced.

Peel and stick backsplashes

vladdeep/Adobe Yellow electric kettle in kitchen

Peel-and-stick backsplashes are seen as a budget-friendly option for getting a new look without spending the money to replace tile. However, they typically don’t stand up to a kitchen's everyday wear and tear. 

By the time you go to sell, the peel and stick will no longer be pristine and may be worse than whatever you had previously.

High-contrast cabinets

Vusal/Adobe Birch wood kitchen with dining area

If you’re considering painting your upper and lower cabinets in stark contrasting colors, it might be a good idea to step away and think about the idea for a few months. 

High-contrast cabinets are a bold look that could quickly become outdated. A more subtle cabinet palette will always be more classic.

Oversized lighting

2rogan/Adobe Luxurious kitchen with gold faucet Chicago

Massive, restaurant-worthy lighting has a modern, on-trend style, but lighting trends can come and go with the wind. 

Your of-the-moment fixture over the island may look magazine-worthy today, but when you go to sell, it could shine like a beacon over your kitchen, dating your space.

High-end appliances

coralimages/Adobe white marble themed open kitchen

High-end appliances could seem like one of the best moves you can make. They scream expensive, right? And that makes buyers want to spend more, right? Not so fast. 

High-end appliances can also be pricey to service, and unless you’re in a high-cost-of-living market, they could seem out of place with what a buyer is expecting.

Removing cabinets

artjafara/Adobe aesthetic kitchen sink wall

Light, airy, contemporary kitchens without upper cabinets may look calming and serene, but they aren’t necessarily practical. A future buyer will immediately see this as money they’ll have to spend putting cabinets into the kitchen — and that’s a big expense.

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DIY’ing ‘stone’ countertops

New Africa/Adobe Worker measuring countertop with spirit level

You’ve probably seen DIY tutorials online where people use contact paper or epoxy to create a stone-looking countertop. This kind of project goes viral on social media, but the reality of the trend isn’t so picture-perfect.

This DIY project will immediately alert buyers that perhaps upgrades were done on a budget, which can be a red flag when you’re about to spend a significant amount of money on a home.

Bottom line

Nina Lawrenson/peopleimages.com/Adobe retired woman posing in modern kitchen

While your kitchen should ultimately reflect your taste, considering features with broader appeal can be a wise move if you plan to sell within a few years.

Striking this balance between personal style and resale potential can help you create a kitchen you love that can boost your bank account when it comes time to sell your home.

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Author Details

Heather Bien

Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.