design dilemma: choosing a kitchen cabinet with broad appeal

Remember when I said I was going to be barraging you with questions about her home design? Well, I really wasn't kidding.  I'm already  in need of advice. I'm trying to figure out what kitchen cabinets to put into our new house.

As I make choices for this house, I'm really trying to figure out what is the most appealing to the broadest population of people. The chances are that we won't be in this house for very long, if we do end up moving into it. I don’t think that this is THE HOUSE – I think it’s a great investment but I don’t think we will settle in forever. So I anticipate then in about 3 to 5 years, will either be looking to sell this house or rent it out. Consequently, I don't really feel like I can just go with what appeals to ME., but rather I need to think about what will be appealing to your average SoCal renter. I;m trying to make it appealing to a wide variety of people so that when we have renters looking, people aren't turned off because I've chosen something too modern or too specific to my own tastes.

If I was just going to choose what I like myself, I would go with something really really modern. I really like clean, simplistic kitchens. I would say my taste runs minimalist. This would be an example of my dream kitchen/dream house:


I understand, however, that this modern look is not everyone's cup of tea. I know, for example, that my mother thinks that my design aesthetic is rather cold and boring. I guess what I really need to figure out is: what is it that most people are attracted to in terms of design? What is the most popular design style that has the broadest appeal to the general public?

We used IKEA cabinets in our current home and I think we found a good balance between modern and traditional, though I feel like the floors and cabinets are too close in color. Unfortunately they don’t carry these cabinets anymore.

Photo Aug 31, 5 50 46 PM

Photo Aug 31, 5 50 37 PM

It seems like a lot of people my age (and a lot of folks who live here in Southern California) are drawn to the mid-century look. I know that's what I really prefer. But I don't think that is necessarily the case for people who aren't in my generation, or who live in different parts of the country.  When I look at Pinterest, and what seems to be the most popular there, it seems like most of the kitchens people are pining for have a very cottagey, “farmhouse” look.

Like this:

Or this:


This isn’t my favorite look, but, as we choose a kitchen cabinet, I'm trying to figure out what would be most appealing to the most people.  The following are some options that I'm looking at, and I'd love some feedback on what you think would be most appealing to potential renters or buyers.

The first option (my favorite) is a clean and modern black/brown cabinet. I think it could look really sleek with modern handles. And I'm thinking of using a white countertop with this one. Similar to this photo:


Source: via Kristen on Pinterest

I love it, but I’m worried that it’s too modern.  The second option is similar to the previous. It's got the same color (a black/brown wood grain), but this one has some trim that makes it look more traditional. I think that these cabinets look rather high-end and expensive, but they're pretty reasonable. I was thinking that these would appeal to a lot of people. If I go with this choice, I will probably use a light gray countertop and then install a big white farm sink to make it look a little more cottage-y.


Source: via Kristen on Pinterest

Below are the same cabinets, but used with long, modern handles and a white countertop. I think it pushes it in the modern direction, without being over-the-top.

Source: via Kristen on Pinterest

The third option is going with a white cabinet. I think that this would be appealing to a lot of people, and I like the look. But there are two issues that keep me from wanting to choose this. First, I'm worried that it will show dirt very easily. Secondly, I feel like these cabinets look the most cheap of the three options, but in fact they are the most expensive. I'm not really sure why, but these white cabinets are pricey and would push it a little bit out of our price range.  I'm really hesitant to break the bank on something that I don't think looks very high-end at all.  I think this is a safe, vanilla option.


Source: via Kristen on Pinterest

Source: via Kristen on Pinterest

Alright guys, what do you think? First of all. do you think the most popular kitchen style is this sort of cottage farmhouse look, or is it something else? And if you were me, and trying to appeal to a broad potential renter base, which cabinet would you go with?

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