I don't understand the demand for granite, stainless, dark sleek cabinets, and hardwood

I watch a lot of HGTV. Everyone wants granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, dark sleek cabinets, and hardwood floors. If a place isn’t like that, they call it “outdated”, and even if it’s brand new they insist on ripping it out to replace it. In 20 years, this trend will be just like the avocado green and harvest gold era. The dark cabinets in particular make the rooms so dark like a dungeon. There are plenty of pretty and resilliant alternatives to granite. There’s nothing wrong with black or white appliances. And people who get wood floors end up also buying a bunch of area rugs to soften them up. And it’s all so much more expensive! I just don’t get it.

I’ve never understood hardwood floors in a kitchen either. I prefer terra cotta tile or even a high quality vinyl.

Wood cabinet finishes need to be light. Maple or oak. I don’t like dark finishes.


Well, I have to admit, that pretty much exactly defines my kitchen after remodeling. I’ve never watched HGTV.

First, the old kitchen had tiled countertops. Pretty much the worst food preparation surface one can imagine. Any sponge wouldn’t last one wiping before tearing on the grout. Granite is way better, though there are other reasonable surfaces as well.

I don’t like vinyl floors. They aren’t any easier to clean than hardwood and somehow just look tacky. I also wanted a common surface between the kitchen and the rest of the place, and hardwood made the most sense.

My cabinets are dark but I have plenty of lighting (including under-cabinet), so it’s not exactly dark. LED lamps make it efficient.

I don’t see how stainless will ever go completely out of fashion. It takes on the hue of whatever else is in the room, and will always resemble professional equipment (which is pretty much always stainless). Black is fine too, but that sorta contradicts you not wanting it to look like a “dungeon”. Stainless brightens the room almost as much as white. A bit like blue jeans: they may not always be the most fashionable, but their practicality means they will never be completely out of fashion.

I don’t get the fixation on kitchens and baths, either. When I moved into my house 15 years ago, I toyed with the idea of fixing up the bathroom. It’s about 5’x8’, shower, no tub. The estimate made me swoon. Same for the kitchen. I’m content with my house the way it is. Whoever buys it will just have to deal.

I love the warmth of old hardwood floors but understand that people’s taste varies, and, of course fashions come and go in waves. I prefer dark wood to light, but agree a lot of dark cabinetry is cave like.

What I don’t get is thousands for granite or marble, on counter or floor. Wha…? How can anyone not recognize that what they are installing in their bath or kitchen is personal fashion, of a sort. I mean yes, I understand wanting it to be good quality and to your taste. But what’s with overbuilding with granite and marble, at a cost of thousands, like it’s going to survive for hundreds of years? Especially when, a generation from now, when you’re gone to your grave, the new modern headed owners will want whatever is in fashion then. And all that overbuilt marble and granite, at a cost of thousands, imported from some distant land, is now someone else’s nightmare removal. At a cost if thousands, no doubt!

It’s crazy. Go for whatever look you like, but recognize it’s fashion, you’re not building a pyramid!

$6,000, 2" thick, Italian marble countertops that will last for generations are way overkill in my mind. I get that you love the look, are proud of the cost, and probably won’t be living here when it goes out of style, but surely you can see how it’s kind of overkill in the name of tasteful decor.

Actually, I see a lot more white cabinets these days. I hate white cabinets and I have white cabinets in my kitchen. I’m currently saving to get wood floors in both my kitchen and dining room. Then the cabinets are getting some much needed attention.

I spend a lot of time in my home. I want to like it. I want other people to like it when I try to sell it.

I guess I don’t understand why you don’t understand that many people are unimaginative, entitled, and concerned about keeping up appearances, thus they want whatever–whatever–the current latest, but not cutting-edge, thing is. And that’s what the proscriptive gods say a prosperous kitchen should look like, right now. Why do the proscriptive gods say so? It’s not for us mere mortals to ask.

(Sattua; remodeled kitchen five years ago; white appliances, white IKEA cabinets, gray Corian countertops, commercial-grade vinyl floor).

I love granite or marble for countertops, if it is light-colored so that you can see that it is dirty. Dark countertops are a horror no matter what they are made of - how would you know if you really have the surface clean?

Advantages of granite/marble include:

  • very smooth, and therefore easy to clean.
  • You can put a hot pan from the stove directly onto them without worrying about melting/needing to find a trivet.
  • Heat absorbent, so it’s good if you take the “remove from heat” instruction in many recipes seriously.
  • Long-lasting and sturdy.
  • Planar and the surface won’t warp, so when you use an electronic scale on it, the measurements are consistent and reliable.

I have zero idea what the trends are in kitchen finishings. But I know that I’ve always been delighted to have a kitchen with light granite or marble countertops.

Our kitchen was built with most of the “right trends” when we bought it since it was a mid-2000s gut reno of an 1800s carriage house that had been stripped down to the walls/foundation. But there was something that really bothered me about the look of the kitchen-it has terra cotta tiles, modern birch cabinets, stainless steel and black granite. At first I thought it was the birch color of the cabinets (which I debated painting white), then the terra cotta tiles, but now I’ve pinned it down to the black granite countertops. They just made a huge colour mistake with that one-it makes the terra cotta look super pink. I just saw a picture of a beautiful Swedish house in the New York Times that had almost all the same colors as our current kitchen, including the birch cabinets and terra cotta tiles, with the exception of the countertop. We’re swapping out the black granite for a white stone countertop next year. Probably quartz/silestone or a white with gray granite.

So the house will hit all the trends, I guess, but the color scheme isn’t especially trendy right now.

I can’t deal with any more renovations for this year, though. We just replaced the roof.

My LL renovated our kitchen (created it really, the room didn’t have so much as a cabinet, much less sinks or countertops) with sparkly-accented black granite. It looks nice, but I can never tell when it’s dirty. I’d have preferred some nice white formica, but that decision wasn’t up to me.

Well I have a stainless steel kitchen bench (1950s) and thats the way I like it. Nothing but nothing harms that bench. Impervious.

My, what a misanthropic worldview! Come sit next to me :slight_smile:

I’d prefer to live in an all-tile & stainless steel environment that could be hosed-down periodically; a taste formed by my dirty-job years in Wisconsin Cheese factories, 80’s industrial chic, and my avid viewing of that show This Old Abattoir

I’ve got to agree about the dark cabinets. The OP is exactly right: it makes the kitchen look like a dungeon. Unless you’re a goth, why do you want that look? Hardwood floors in a kitchen are not a good idea. Vinyl or tile (depending on your budget) are really the only choices that make sense. Ditto for bathrooms.

As for countertops, if I had the money for a remodel, I’d go with Corian or a similar sold surface material. Damn-near indestructable, look good, and not as expensive as granite.

Some reasons that granite and stainless are common are practical.

Granite is great for all the reasons that CairoCarol enumerated above, and it’s also usually pretty. Marble sucks because it can be etched by common kitchen acids like lemon juice and vinegar, plus it’s soft (~3 on the Mohs scale) so everything out there will scratch it. Engineered stone countertops are somewhat harder than granite and you have more color options, but they’re not as heat resistant, and they’re actually more expensive, believe it or not.

Hardwood floors in a kitchen is a dumb idea, unless you don’t cook or clean. Tile or laminate are the way to go.

Stainless appliances are kind of a pain, but stainless sinks are terrific- durable, easy to clean and look good.

All that said, when we renovated our kitchen, we went with white cabinets, porcelain tile floors, granite countertops and stainless appliances.

Grizzwife and I have had the same observations.

Moreover, the surprising number of first-time home-buyers on these shows that look at houses and proclaim how many existing structures in the home need to be ripped out and re-done.

I find myself practically lusting after carpet. Whenever I’m on a different surface, such as wood, tile, or linoleum, I’m thinking of how much nicer I’d find it if I were standing on carpet. Walking on good carpet is like having the floor seduce your feet.

I’m not at the point where I’d label it a dysfunction. Yet.

I think it’s a lingering aftertaste from the housing bubble which burst in 2006/7. Back then, with Home Equity Loans being easy to get, people thought of their houses as investments and ATMs, not homes where they could live and raise their families. And granite, black, and stainless in their kitchens were considered the trends AND adding value to their homes.

Me? I figure something’s value is what someone else is willing to pay to buy it from you. I’d go with corian myself; it’s cheaper and probably isn’t nearly as radioactive as granite. I do like the look of stainless steel, though.

Problem is, carpeting in a kitchen is a really, really bad idea. If you actually do any cooking in the kitchen, you might get a week out of the carpeting before some sort of stain gets on it. Maybe 2 weeks if you’re lucky.

We have vinyl in the kitchen, hardware everywhere else. It’s easy to clean, looks beautiful and sleek when polished, and is less allergy-inducing than carpet. What’s not to love? No rugs here. Carpet gets disgusting fast.

My husband really, really wanted granite in our kitchen. I didn’t. He won. I hate it. I admit that it’s nice to be able to put a hot pot directly on the counter, but I had enough hot pads that it wasn’t a big deal when we had laminate counters. The granite is too busy and it’s impossible to see if it’s dirty unless you’re standing at just the right angle relative to the window. I’m terrified of breaking anything glass when I set it on the counter.

If I’d had my way, we’d have saved a lot of money…