Kitchens come in many shapes, styles, designs and themes. Since a new kitchen can be a large part of your overall home improvement budget, making the right decision on your kitchen design style requires serious thought and planning for a successful kitchen remodel.
It helps tremendously if you know what style look you prefer, such as classic, modern, rustic, country, etc., before you embark upon your kitchen remodel. Making that decision will help you start to narrow down choices on everything from wall color to cabinet doors. Picking a very specific design theme, such as French Colonial or Art Deco, provides you a design platform to build your kitchen design. Mixing and matching styles typically is called eclectic, while a look that blends traditional and contemporary elements is considered transitional.
Traditional Kitchen Style
Formal, Elegant and Classic
Traditional kitchens have a formal, elegant look characteristic of American and European homes of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.
What You Can Expect to see in a Traditional Kitchen Style:
- Crown and rope molding, fluting, corbels and other ornamentation and trim
- Cabinets in cherry, walnut and mahogany
- Raised panel cabinet door styles
- Antique fixtures and appliances
- Wood, stone or other natural materials
Victorian: Elegance is the catchword when it comes to Victorian kitchens. Cathedral arch doors and raised panels come into play, accented by ornate molding and trim. Dark and heavy woods are best when it comes to the cabinets.
Italianate: Much like the Victorian classic style, an Italianate kitchen relies on elegant cabinetry details, especially those of molding and trim. Generally painted cream with intricate raised paneling, these cabinets boast onlays, rope molding, and custom carved reliefs.
Of all the homes built during the Victorian era, the romantic Italianate style became the most popular. With their nearly-flat roofs, wide eaves, and massive brackets, these homes suggested the romantic villas of Renaissance Italy. The Italianate style is also known as Tuscan, Lombard, or bracketed.
Georgian: Formal is the catchword when designing a Georgian kitchen. Look to woods like cherry, walnut and mahogany for your cabinets. Square panel raised doors are typical, as are heavy crown molding and stacked cabinetry that reaches the ceiling. Black accents (such as a painted black island) are not uncommon.
Other traditional styles: Edwardian, Colonial, Farmhouse, Plantation, Regency, Cottage, Cape Cod, Estate, Bungalow, Federal, Queen Anne, Neoclassical, Early American, Manor, Shaker
Country Kitchen Style
Cheery, Welcoming, With Many Variations
Country kitchens are cheery and welcoming, with light and/or bright colors, painted and glazed cabinets, woven baskets, floral motifs, and decorative shelving and molding.
What You Can Expect to see in a Country Style Kitchen:
- Floral, checked, striped, gingham and plaid patterns
- Window and wall treatments in fabrics such as chintz and calico
- Beadboard wainscoting and paneling
- Painted, glazed and distressed cabinet finishes
- Chicken wire or metal cabinet inserts
- Handmade, hand-forged, homespun look
- Antiques and flea-market finds
Cottage: Consider driftwood-like finishes for a seaside cottage feel. If you’re leaning more toward a lake look, a slightly darker (but still natural and wooden) cabinet is your best bet.
Farmhouse: The words “wood” and “heirloom” should guide your decorative decisions when creating a farmhouse kitchen. Stained wood, both light and dark, fit in well, though excessive glazing and finishing can create a look that’s a little too complicated.
French Country: Framed cabinets in either raised or recessed panels outfit a room with French country flair. Cherry and oak cabinetry-glazed, distressed or pickled for an authentic finish-reign supreme, though pastel painted cabinetry is also a wise choice. Decorative shelving, the use of beadboard, a butler’s wall or pantry and plate racks will add to the genuine French Country feel.
Transitional Kitchen Style
Mixing Traditional With Contemporary
Transitional kitchens include elements of both traditional and contemporary design. Eclectic in nature, they mix natural and man-made materials as well as finishes and textures.
For example, an Arts & Crafts or Shaker kitchen can be made transitional rather than traditional by lightening the color palette, adding bamboo flooring, and showcasing appliances rather than hiding them behind wooden panels.
Molding and fixtures aren’t elaborate but do have some ornamentation.
Contemporary Kitchen Style
Modern, Minimalist and Geometric
Contemporary kitchens tend to be described as modern, minimalist and geometric. The characteristics include horizontal lines, asymmetry and a lack of molding and other ornamentation. Materials often are man-made rather than natural: stainless steel, laminate, glass, concrete, chrome and lacquer.
Contemporary encompasses styles from the 1940s to the present, with Europe-especially Italy, Germany and Scandinavia-leading the way.
What You Can Expect to see in a Contemporary Kitchen:
- Frameless cabinets with oversized hardware
- Cabinet material: stainless steel; white or bold-colored laminate; or subtly grained woods such as birch, ash or maple
- Cabinet door style: slab or horizontal lift-up
- Frosted glass inserts
- Stainless steel and other metallic accents
- Curved cabinets and counters
Mediterranean Kitchen Style
The Elegantly Classic 17th Century Style Lives On
Crown molding and , corbels make a Mediterranean Style Classic kitchen.
Mediterranean kitchens — have large sized cooking hearths and distressed, unfitted cabinets. The Mediterranean kitchen boasts painted, raised panel cabinetry and features elements like beadboard, dish and cup racks, and valence legs.
What You Can Expect to see in a Mediterranean Kitchen:
- Furniture-look cabinetry
- Stone walls and/or floors
- Pewter or copper accents
- Mosaic tiles
- Brick or plaster walls
- Deep, rich colors
- Appliances hidden behind panels
Tuscan: With a softer, more feminine design, Tuscan kitchens rely on natural materials. While the cabinets are often painted in whites, creams or earth-tone yellows or browns, they tend to be monochromatic.
Other styles: Italian Villa, French Chateau, Normandy cottage, Dutch cottage, medieval, Gothic, Castle