“DeTuscanize” Your Home

A lot can change in 20 years.

Around the new millennium, two emerging trends completely transformed interior design: the granite countertop and the open floor plan. At the time, the way you used your kitchen was changing—no longer purely functional, it became the new social hub of the home. And slowly but surely, it began to merge with the living room to create the big, open living space homebuyers know and love today.

It makes sense then that as kitchens become much more visible, we started to invest more in their design. In came the elaborate custom cabinets, immaculate granite countertops, and prestigious travertine flooring. These elements were rounded off with a warm, brown-heavy color palate, a bit of old-world luxury, and ornate furniture to create a Tuscan-inspired look that was all American.

Until recently, the Tuscan aesthetic dominated new home construction and drove remodelers to upgrade their homes. But just as the style reached peak ubiquity, a new generation of homebuyers entered the market: millennials. These buyers crave a light palate with pops of bright color; clean, modern lines; and no-fuss features that are easy to maintain—preferences that fly in the face of the heavy-handed Tuscan style.

As more baby boomers and gen-Xers start to move onto the next stages of their lives, they’re looking to either upsize their homes as their families grow, or downsize as they send the last of their kids off to college. That means their Tuscan style homes are hitting the market in droves, regardless of what buyers are looking for.

Today, there is a mass “detuscanization” taking place in America, especially on the coasts and in places like Florida, where contemporary coastal design reigns supreme.

For homeowners looking to sell, or just give their home a bit of a refresh so it’s more in tune with their current tastes, it can feel like there’s a lot that needs to be done. But even small fixes like changing the color of your cabinets can make a big difference. Detuscanizing your house doesn’t mean you need a total remodel—there’s still much that can be salvaged or repurposed.

Key Areas for Detuscanization

In the Kitchen

What to ditch:

  • The countertops
    • Granite helped introduce homeowners to stone in the kitchen, and we haven’t looked back since. But now we have more options than ever, including engineered quartz and other stone surfaces that are more popular and suited to today’s minimalist aesthetic.
    • Try quartz in a light color with subtle—but intriguing—striations. It doesn’t require the maintenance of granite, plus it can be customized to the color(s) you want.
  • The hanging pot rack
    • This can make your kitchen feel cluttered and messy, and disrupts the flow of the room. Ditch it and make the most of the hanging space by adding extra lighting.

What to rework:

  • The cabinets
    • Elaborate cabinets with ornate panels and molding scream “maintenance” to prospective home buyers, and can clash with more modern decor. In some cases, it might be worth it to replace this style of cabinet, especially if you are updating the rest of your house and want a cohesive look throughout. However, cabinets are a major investment—if you don’t want to replace them entirely, you can make a few cosmetic updates to bring your kitchen up to speed. Tone down your Tuscan cabinets by removing distressed textures (a little spackling goes a long way) and adding a coat of paint. White is a safe choice, though you can opt to be more on-trend with shades of blue or gray.
  • The faux wall treatment
    • Remove textured paint and other treatments from your walls before painting them in a neutral color. Cool tones and grays are preferred, however, the color you choose will depend on other features like the color of your countertop. If you don’t plan to replace that old, brown granite, for example, opt for something in a warm tone, like beige.

What to keep:

  • Stainless steel appliances
    • Most homeowners still prefer stainless steel, a look that works well with minimalist and contemporary styles that are gaining in popularity. If budget is a concern, save the money you would spend on expensive, unnecessary appliances and use it elsewhere.

In the Bathroom 

What to ditch:

  • The jacuzzi tub
    • A relic of the 90s, the jacuzzi tub has fallen out of favor. In fact, the mere sight of one today can signal to a home buyer that the space is long overdue for an update. If there’s one thing you change in your bathroom—let it be this! Replace your jacuzzi with a much simpler soaking tub and stand-alone shower.

What to rework:

  • The vanity
    • Much like the cabinets in your kitchen, a fresh coat of paint will take you far. Modernize your vanity with new hardware and sinks to match. And that mirror in the gilded frame? Ditch the frame and salvage the mirror, if possible. If you want to make an impact, try a circular or oval mirror with a pencil-thin frame.

What to keep:

  • Travertine flooring
    • Travertine is one of the most enduring elements of the Tuscan style, and it has a lot of cross-over appeal. The natural, organic look is bigger than ever—so no need to replace it if it’s still in good shape.

Other Areas

What to ditch:

  • The drapery
    • Heavy window treatments add weight in an era where lightness and airiness are highly sought-after. Opt instead for something that lets in plenty of natural light while still providing a bit of privacy. And importantly, choose something easy to operate—it shouldn’t feel like a chore to open and close your drapes.

What to rework:

  • The fireplace
    • Simplify an overly ornate mantle or remove it entirely for a super minimal look. Consider encaustic tile for the surround to add an interesting pattern.
  • Staircase
    • Replace busy wrought-iron rails and carved newel posts with something more simplistic. Try adding a carpet runner in a geometric pattern to lighten dark wooden stairs.
  • Door
    • Many Tuscan style doors are a work of beauty, but just a need a quick update. Paint your front door in a bold color that looks great inside and out, and add instant character and curb appeal.

What to keep:

  • The arched or beamed ceiling
    • The Tuscan style paid attention to the ceiling when other styles ignored it completely. Today, statement ceilings are an up-and-coming wishlist item, especially for homeowners looking for houses with extra charm and character.


See our Detuscanizing Pinterest Board for more ideas!

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