Renovation

Common home design features that are more hassle than they're worth

By Lucy Cohen Blatter | January 22, 2015 - 3:59PM 

In Case You Missed It: Every so often, BrickUnderground digs through the archives to find the best advice our experts have shared through the years

Some decorating ideas gleam in glossy magazines but fall flat in real life. Several years ago, we spoke with New York architect Penny Fallman May to round up regrettable renovation decisions, and it turns out these common flourishes are still worth a second thought:

Dark-stained wood floors: Beautiful, sure. But you can also see every scratch and imperfection. (Try a satin polyurethane finish rather than a gloss to protect against this.)

Butcher-block countertops: An economical choice for kitchens, they are difficult to maintain, and areas around the sink discolor over time. 

Vividly patterned kitchen backsplashes: These can start to look dated quicker than you can say "kitchen renovation."

White grout on floor tiles: Unsealed light-colored grout will get dirty in no time, and it's hard to clean. It should only be used if  the contractor can seal the grout after applying it.

For more, read "8 renovation decisions you'll regret."

Related:

5 pro tips to keep the peace with your contractor

New Yorkers' biggest home improvement delusions

Renovate without conflict: Why notifying your neighbors helps, plus 3 sample letters that worked

20 renovation ideas your contractor will try to talk you out of

Remodeling your kitchen: 12 sanity-saving tips

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