Interior by Campbell Cabinetry Designs. Photography by Tara Correa Photography.

As house-hunters and longtime owners alike know well, there’s nothing like a beautifully updated kitchen to make a home feel fresh, current, and functional. And while it can be tempting to embrace the latest trends in your remodel, sometimes the best approach is to balance timeless elements with personal touches and perhaps an unexpected twist. For those who might be considering a kitchen project in the near future, we reached out to interior design experts throughout The Scout Guide network for advice on creating a room that will stand the test of time. From tips on material selection to details that will go the distance, here are their recommendations.

Factor the rest of the house into your design. It’s important to hone in on the space you’re creating and ensure it complements its environment, says Kathryn Sandlin, designer at Campbell Cabinetry Designs in Sarasota, Florida. This is something to consider in particular when choosing your flooring, backsplash, and hood. Selecting elements that naturally blend in with the rest of the home, from a style and color palette standpoint, will create a sense of cohesiveness and calm.

Interior by Mel Bean Interiors. Photography by Laurey Glenn.

Embrace the beauty of natural stone. “The slab yard is one of my favorite and most inspirational places to visit,” says Mel Bean, Interior Designer at Mel Bean Interiors in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “A stunning slab can launch an entire design!” Emily Culley, senior designer at Kitchen & Bath Galleries of North Hills in Raleigh, North Carolina, seconds the importance of stone, and recommends clients pay a visit to the yard to see how the veining and patterning looks on a large piece, and suggests running a slab up the backsplash as a beautiful way to enhance the overall design aesthetic with an element you won’t soon tire of.

Interior by Emily Culley of Kitchen & Bath Galleries of North Hills. Photography courtesy of Emily Culley of Kitchen & Bath Galleries of North Hills.

Create a beautiful foundation through flooring. Especially when working with an open concept kitchen, Culley recommends select one flooring material and flowing it throughout your space. She prefers hardwood flooring, as it is one of the most timeless materials, easy to maintain, and nice underfoot. When selecting a stain, she recommends spreading multiple color samples out on your floors and using a matte top coat to conceal wear and traffic patterns. For a classic choice, she says that medium stains like Jacobean will stand the test of time, but notes that lighter and natural wood tones are having a resurgence.

Interior by Melanie Gowen Design. Photography by Michael Lucas Photography.

Don’t be tempted by trendy finishes. While rose gold may feel fashion-forward at the moment, if you want your selection to stand the test of time, stick with classic finishes like nickel, brass, and oil-rubbed bronze, advises Melanie Gowen, owner and interior designer at Melanie Gowen Design in Nantucket, Massachusetts. In addition, Gowen suggests opting for unlacquered or “living finishes” in these metals, as they will develop even more character over time.

Interior by Mel Bean Interiors. Photography by Kacey Gilpin.

Always prioritize organization and function. The most timeless kitchen is one that is fully functional. The first order of business is to imagine where everything you need will be stored, which zones it will be needed in, and even the details of in-cabinet organization. “In my own home, I prioritized deep drawers alongside vertical pull-outs near the range, full-height cabinetry for dish storage to be more easily accessible than upper cabinets near the sink and dishwasher, and an island with pass-through storage accessible from either side (the cleanup zone and the cooking zone),” she says.

Interior by Britt Design Studio. Photography by Raquel Langworthy.

Have fun with soft furnishings. Just because you decide to keep your kitchen primarily neutral for the sake of longevity, that doesn’t mean you still can’t have fun. If you want to inject a little personality, “Add pattern and color in window treatments and counter stools,” Britt Pietragallo, interior designer and owner of Britt Design Studio in Ridegewood, New Jersey, recommends. Just remember to consider the best fabrics for your family. For example, clients with young children might want to invest in a wipeable surface like faux leather for stools, etc.

Interior by Mel Bean Interiors. Photography by Laurey Glenn.

Remember that even monochromatic kitchens can have dimension. “An all-white kitchen can have so much depth when the materials and textures are layered,” Bean says. Think smooth white cabinets, honed countertops, sleek faucets, cabinet hardware in mixed metals, reclaimed beams, light fixtures in unique finishes like aged brass or alabaster, and textural rugs. “This diversity defines the experience of what it means to live in the space.” Along these lines, Pietragallo, whose favorite paint color for a white kitchen is Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace, recommends breaking up a white kitchen with a wood tone on the island or range hood, which will not only bring in a natural element, but allows the eye to take a break.

Interior by Mel Bean Interiors. Photography by Kacey Gilpin.

Consider cabinet details. Taking the time to research cabinet options, like “full overlay” and “flush inset,” is worth the time, according to Bean. “A shaker style door on a full overlay cabinet style has been used exhaustively, and not in a way that would have been historically authentic,” she explains, while “The same shaker door in a flush inset frame is absolutely timeless.” She notes that full overlay cabinets are still a beautiful choice, but encourages clients to elect a door style with a bit of simple embellishment, such as a flat panel with a simple cove detail—and cautions them to avoid anything too built up or complex.

Interior by Emily Culley of Kitchen & Bath Galleries of North Hills. Photography by Catherine Nguyen.

Add a twist to classic subway tile. While subway tile continues to be a popular choice in kitchen backsplashes, Culley recommends adding a spin on this classic option by selecting an undulated style with a handmade look or using a herringbone pattern to add dimension to a kitchen amongst all of the linear lines of cabinetry. Additionally, she suggests laser jet mosaic patterns that can offer the ability to bring in softer lines to the kitchen space.

TSG Tip 398 from Mel Bean, Interior Designer at Mel Bean Interiors in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Emily Culley, senior designer at Kitchen & Bath Galleries of North Hills in Raleigh, North Carolina; Britt Pietragallo, owner and interior designer of Britt Design Studio in Ridgewood, New Jersey; Melanie Gowen, interior designer at Melanie Gowen Design in Nantucket, Massachusetts; and Kathryn Sandlin, designer at Campbell Cabinetry Designs in Sarasota, Florida. Mel Bean Interiors is featured in The Scout Guide Tulsa. Kitchen & Galleries of North Hills is featured in The Scout Guide Raleigh, Durham & Chapel Hill. Britt Design Studio is featured in The Scout Guide Northern New Jersey. Melanie Gowen Design is featured in The Scout Guide Nantucket. Campbell Cabinetry Design is featured in The Scout Guide Sarasota, Anna Maria Island to Boca Grande