7 Kitchen Items That Aren't Worth the Splurge, According to Designers

A Pot Filler

Have you been daydreaming about upgrading your kitchen—and your bolognese dinners—with a pot filler? It’s easy to see why. Sometimes affectionately called a “pasta faucet,” a wall-mounted faucet installed above the stove adds a restaurant-level upgrade to add a convenient water source where you need it. The convenience of filling a pot with water directly on the stove (instead of precariously carrying a heavy pot from the sink) is tempting. Still, if you’re on the fence, Galvani says skip it.

Pricey Cutting Boards

A cutting board (or two) is a kitchen must-have. A $200-cutting board isn’t, says Phillips.    “These are necessary pieces of wood or plastic that bear the brunt of many a sharp knife,” she says. Instead of blowing your budget on a high-end cutting board, prioritize practical aspects with boards that are within your budget. Choose cutting boards that are easy to clean and kind to your knives, with a thickness of around one to one-and-a-half inches to provide stability and durability.

A Built-In Island

For many, a built-in island—one with plenty of elbow room to cook, entertain, and eat around—is what kitchen dreams are made of. If you’re working with budget constraints though, save that dream for another day, says Galvani.

Kitchen Towels

Tea towels get put through the wringer. They dry your hands and dishes, they clean countertops, they assist in opening tough jars of pickles, and they help you carry hot plates. Because they’re used over and over for a variety of tasks, Phillips says to spare yourself the splurge.

Mixing Bowls

Ever had sticker shock from a set of mixing bowls? You’re not alone. What seems like a straightforward kitchen item can quickly turn into a budget buster. Prices will vary based on brand, size, and material (such as plastic, glass, stainless steel, and ceramic), but a mixing bowl isn't worth a high price tag, says Phillips. “Function over form reigns here, as mixing bowls just need to be simple and sturdy,” Phillips says, “with a bonus, if they stack to save room in the pantry."

Upper Cabinets

If the price of new cabinets gives you sticker shock, consider Galvani’s advice. She recommends forgetting about upper cabinets, in favor of open shelving instead. You’ll just want to edit your inventory of glassware and dinnerware to make for an aesthetically pleasing out-for-everyone-to-see situation.

An Electric Can Opener

When it comes to essential kitchen tools, stick to the basics. Instead of splurging on a "smart" can opener that over-promises and under-delivers, Phillips says to stick to the design your grandma would recognize. “Sometimes the electronic ones are more trouble than what they are worth,” Phillips says. “The basic opener that gives a satisfying 'pop' when the top of the can has been punctured is the most efficient. Just a little elbow grease is needed—that's it."

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