We Asked 5 Contractors the Kitchen Reno Trend Homeowners Regret Most, and They Basically All Agreed

published Jul 8, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Eindhoven, The Netherlands - December 19, 2015: Bright modern kitchen interior with island, sink, and cabinets in new luxury home.
Credit: J.Croese/Shutterstock

Whenever I’m watching a home renovation show, I’m quick to fall in love with the regional styles of the homes I see on TV without actually thinking much about how they’d look in my IRL space. From shiplap to exposed brick to open concept designs to bold paint colors to soothing neutrals and more, I want it all!

Seeing so many cool ideas and options can make it hard to narrow down what will actually work in your space, and might leave you feeling like you don’t know where to begin. That’s especially true in the kitchen, which requires a lot more choices than some other rooms at home — not just paint colors, but also cabinets, countertops, appliances, flooring, fixtures, lighting, and more.

With all those factors to juggle, it’s not surprising that some homeowners find themselves regretting a few of their choices later. No one is more familiar with the most-regretted home renovations than contractors, who are often called back to replace certain features within a year or two. That’s why I asked five contractors to share the renovations that homeowners regretted most and why. And wouldn’t you know it: There was one answer I got over and over. Here’s what the pros had to say about the renovation trends their clients most regretted and why.

Credit: property-exposure/Shutterstock

The Most Regretted Kitchen Renovation Trend Is Concrete Countertops 

Richard Ala, co-founder of Six Brothers Contractors in New Jersey, sees this mistake time and time again in his contracting work. “Concrete countertops were all the craze [a few years ago], and they certainly look great in the right kitchen,” he shares. However, when you fast-forward to present-day, he sees a lot of regrets with this choice.  

“Being concrete, you’d think they’d be low-maintenance and super-strong,” says Ala. “In reality, you need to take a lot of care with concrete worktops and they can be easily damaged if not properly maintained.”

The biggest issue Ala sees is staining. “Many folks didn’t understand how porous concrete is. If the seal is damaged through heat or lack of maintenance, spills that are not immediately cleaned can stain the concrete,” he says. “I’ve seen some real eyesores and totally understand the homeowners’ regret.”

Paige Warrington, project supervisor at ASAP Restoration in Arizona, agrees. It’s important for homeowners to understand the structure of the material they’re using before wanting to use it just for aesthetic purposes. 

“Customers who want to save cash on their kitchen renovations will sometimes take on the task of making their own countertops by doing the very-trendy-but-nearly-impossible-to-pull-off concrete countertops,” she says. “These almost always fail because getting everything to work properly before the concrete cures is a serious challenge. Without significant and regular sealant protection, the concrete countertops will be ruined in no time,” she adds.

The moral of the story? If your heart is set on concrete countertops, make sure you understand what kind of upkeep will be required — and how to do it effectively.

Credit: Dariusz Jarzabek/Shutterstock

The Second-Most Regretted Kitchen Renovation Trend: The Wrong Flooring 

Although this option was mentioned much less frequently than concrete countertops, it still came up in a variety of ways. First, Al Ruggie, marketing director at ASAP Restoration, notes that he’s seen a lot of regrets when it comes to carpet in both kitchen and bathrooms. 

“There is no universe where carpeting in a kitchen won’t be a regret later on,” says Ruggie. “It may seem like you can cook barefoot without having to deal with cold feet, but in the end it will be a magnet for spills, splatters, dust, and food particles of all manner. Before long the kitchen carpet will smell, and be a host to anything creepy and crawly that lives on the ground. To keep your sanity, don’t carpet kitchens or bathrooms.”

Matthew Consolo, owner of both Air Force Roofing and Dreamscape Construction in Florida, sees flooring regrets in the form of the types of patterns used in kitchens. 

“Patterned flooring was a big thing for a while, but it’s really limiting and has to be the main feature of the kitchen,” explains Consolo. “We’re replacing a lot of them, mainly because owners are tired of the look or they feel limited on decor options. No matter how beautiful the flooring, you can’t have patterns elsewhere or opt for a different color scheme. Homeowners are swapping out their patterned flooring for very neutral and traditional alternatives. They’re looking for a flooring that will always remain in style and doesn’t limit their future decor choices.”

Of course, you can always add whatever home feature you wish to your kitchen; half the fun of owning a home is being able to make all the creative decisions you want to! But when faced with seemingly endless options, it can be helpful to learn from others’ mistakes; hearing the inside scoop on certain materials and trends can help you narrow down your options to what actually works for your lifestyle. If you’re remodeling your kitchen this year, maybe you can avoid the heartache of one of these major regrets.