High Style: Which Kitchen Style Is For You?

Casual? Formal? Sleek and simple? Choose your style.

Like clothing and shoes, kitchens come in many different styles. For some people choosing a kitchen style is easy, they simply have a fondness for a particular style and are not interested in the others. But for some it isn’t as simple. Choosing a kitchen style should take some consideration. Some styles are more expensive than others. The design elements for some styles are easy to find, some are not. Some styles suit the style of the home overall, and some don’t. For example it just wouldn’t be right to have a very modern style of kitchen in a period home like a Victorian or Craftsman. On the other hand you wouldn’t want to have a formal Traditional style kitchen in a very modern style home.

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Even if you don’t know just which style to want you probably prefer either a more modern or more traditional kitchen type. The best way to start is to search the web for kitchen photos and collect some that you like. Later look at them and see if you can see a pattern. Are most of them modern and contemporary or more formal and beautiful?

What is the main thing in all these photos? What is the first thing you notice? If the cabinetry isn’t the first thing, it must certainly be among the top two. Cabinetry is the main design element. It helps define your style. So when designing a kitchen we usually start with the basics and the most basic is the cabinetry.

Let’s look at some basic kitchen styles to help you choose which one is right for you.

Traditional Style

Traditional is more formal and elegant and has been around for a long time. It is timeless and never goes out of style. Some of the characteristics are crown, rope or carved molding, fluting, decorative trim and corbels. The cabinets are usually cherry, walnut or mahogany and have raised panel doors. Painted cabinets are also commonly seen-white, cream, pale yellow, pale blue or green. Decorative glazes are seen but are sheerer and often rosy. Appliances are usually paneled or black but stainless steel has made its way into Traditional kitchens. Granite countertops are the most popular with this style but other types of stone, is popular too. Backsplashes are usually ceramic or stone tile. Sinks are often apron front but of a more formal type than the farmhouse sinks you may see in country styles. Floors are usually ceramic tile, stone tile or wood. Metals are brushed nickel, platinum, brass and gold.

Do you love to entertain? Are you more likely to buy timeless styles of clothing rather than going with the current fads? Do you crave rich, expensive, timeless furniture styles? Do you drive a luxury car (or wish you could)? Do you love to cook? Is your kitchen your favorite room? Would you rather wear silk than denim? Traditional may be your style.

Country Style

Country style kitchens are warm, casual, comfortable and welcoming. The cabinets are usually painted, but oak and pine are popular too. Distressed cabinets are right to home in the country kitchen, as are glazed but it is more rustic in nature. There are many different types of country-French, English, Cottage, Farmhouse, European. Cabinets are mixed either more than one painted colors or paint and wood finish. Cabinetry insets include bead board, glass, tin, and “chicken wire.” Open shelving is common for dishes, food, glasses and cups. Countertops include granite, solid surface, tile, soapstone, slate, and butcher block. Backsplashes may be bead board, tile, including hand painted tile. Apron front farmhouse sinks-copper, hand painted art styles, cast iron. Metals are copper and bronze. Floors are most often wood, but stone or ceramic tile is popular too. Hand painted dishes, folk art, things like cookie jars, painted cups, pot s of herbs, throw rugs and curtains are design elements as much as cabinets in the country style.

Do you love to bake? Would you rather wear jeans than Kashmir sweaters? Do you love gardening? Would you rather spend your time at home with family than out nightclubbing? Is comfort in your home a priority? Does entertaining mean eating fried chicken with family and a few close friends to you? Country may be your style.

Cottage Style

Casual, cozy, bright, light, sunny, describe the cottage style. Inspired by English county it is charming and relaxed, like being on vacation all year round. The cottage style is also reminiscent of beach houses and the Nantucket Shingle style homes. These kitchens are most at home with white cabinetry or pastels like blue, pale yellow and pale green. Cabinetry is often given the look of being slightly worn, but not shabby. Glass door upper cabinets, or sometimes with mesh or even fabric inserts and bead board. Tile, solid surface or butcher block counters, tile backsplashes, farm sinks, white or paneled appliances, wood or ceramic tile floors. While the cabinetry tends to be pale, walls are often bright and cheery and patterned wall coverings are common-checks, plaids, and small prints or floral. Cottage kitchens often have a beach theme. Accessories mean a lot and cottage kitchens are, if not cluttered, they are accessorized. Decorative plates and collectibles serve as design elements in these kitchens.

Do you love going to yard sales? Would you rather vacation at the beach than a posh resort? Do you like bright sunny rooms with bright sunny colors? Do you prefer to invite friends over for a cookout rather than a formal dinner party? Is your perfect afternoon curling up with a good romance book and a cup of tea? Cottage may be your style.

Arts & Crafts Style

Also known as craftsmen or mission, this style is high on craftsmanship, low on fuss and is a comfortable style. This style uses natural materials, textures, and colors. The cabinetry has recessed panel doors, thick frames, and flush frame. While it isn’t a formal style you may see hand carved corbels and wood brackets. Upper cabinets might have small glass pane doors. Most of this cabinetry is of wood finish in keeping with the natural charactoristics of the style. Countertops are granite, solid surface, tile, butcher block. Backsplashes are stone tile, or ceramic tile. Wood or stone tile floors. Tiffany-styled lighting.

Do you value fine handmade workmanship rather than something mass-produced in a factory? Do you prefer leather or wool over silk or satin? Do you hate clutter? Would you rather have one exquisite piece of art than many fairly good art prints? Arts & Crafts might be for you.

Contemporary style

This style is essentially modern and its characteristics are simple, sleek, clean lines with few personal touches. The materials are more manmade than natural-stainless steel, glass, laminate, concrete, chrome, lacquer– although light finished wood cabinetry is quite common. The style is largely European. Sinks are usually stainless; countertops are stainless steel, glass, laminate. Backsplashes are largely the same. We are seeing wood flooring, but tile is the most common. Appliances are usually steel, but black holds its own in these kitchens as well.

Do you love going out to the clubs and dancing until dawn? Do you love to wear whatever is hot this season? Do you hate fluff and clutter in your home? Do you drive a sports car (or crave one)? Do you entertain with good friends often with good food and good wine? Would you rather live in a penthouse than in the suburbs? Contemporary might be your style.

Old World Style

Old World includes French Country, Tuscany, and Mediterranean. Many of these influences are mingled in the Old World style-but with beautiful results. Wood is an important element of Old World-rich, beautiful wood grains, often with lovely glazes that give it just the right amount of patina, like a cherished antique. When painted cabinetry is used it is in rich colors-greens and reds. Mixing wood finish and paint is common. This style favors natural materials. Stone countertops and stone tile backsplashes, stone or wood floors, metals are copper and bronze, apron front sinks-stone or metal-vessel island sinks also stone or metal. Amber glass light fixtures. Black or paneled appliances. Colors are deep, rich and earthy. Wall colors are the same-reds, gold, browns, burnt orange or rust. Copper or bronze pot hangers are almost a must. Grape and wine themes are very popular.

Do you love cooking? Would you rather have homemade pasta than sushi? Would you rather vacation in wine country or the mountains? Do you love rich deep dark colors? Do you like wearing an expensive silk blouse with jeans? Do you prefer an art masterpiece over modern art? Old World may be your style.