French Kitchen Design
French kitchen design often combines a casually elegant pairing of high-end, quality materials and welcoming, comfortable design.
Colorful and comfortable, with vintage-inspired features, cottage kitchens continue to be a popular choice. Painted cabinets, salvaged hardwood flooring and playful patterned fabrics are hallmarks of this casual, family-friendly style. Design by Sarah Richardson
Still the reigning design style, the timeless look of traditional kitchens speaks to most of us. Cabinets can be painted or stained, and glass-front doors are a popular option, as are multipurpose islands. The best traditional kitchens pull in classic elements without looking too stodgy or trapped in a time warp. Keep the look fresh by mixing in modern or industrial elements like these patinated lighting fixtures or streamlined barstools. Design by Rebekah Zaveloff
Transitional kitchens blend the best of traditional familiarity with modern sophistication to create comfortable, livable spaces. The high-end Calacatta marble countertops and built-in breakfast nook are traditional elements, while the sleek wood-veneered cabinets and ebonized flooring are modern influences. Design by Linda Sullivan
Intricate moldings, hand-carved details and dark woods are hallmarks of this European-influenced style. Although beautiful, these elements can combine to create a kitchen that feels fussy and dark. Designer Sarah Barnard keeps the look fresh by mixing in updated elements, like the armless upholstered barstool, pop of yellow on the island and graphic, embossed concrete backsplash. Photo courtesy of Sarah Barnard Design
Streamlined and sophisticated, modern style is the forward-thinking relative of contemporary. The cabinets in this kitchen, with their unadorned doors, chrome hardware and flush setting, show their contemporary parentage, but the straight lines and matte cabinet finish is all modern.
Design Tip: Keep the look fresh by adding a geometric glass tile backsplash for color. Photo courtesy of Nicole Sassaman
This small galley-style kitchen epitomizes the sleek, chic contemporary look. The custom flush cabinets, with minimalist doors on top and simple oversize chrome pulls on bottom, are hallmarks of contemporary style.
Design Tip: To make a small kitchen feel larger, paint the cabinets and walls a similar shade. Design by Andreas Charalambous
Add a little va-va-voom to the heart of your home with white or richly stained cabinets adorned with ornamental molding. Romantic style is reminiscent of Old World — ornate moldings, furniture-like cabinets and European accents — but with a decidedly feminine feel.
Design Tip: This is one style where you can go for the glitz. Crystal chandeliers are a must, as are elaborate draperies and printed French-inspired wallpaper. Design by Dave Stimmel
Simple Shaker-style cabinet door details, rustic hardware and open shelving give this kitchen an updated Craftsman feel. Two-toned cabinets in burgundy and gray resemble individual furniture pieces, while the polished oak floors complement the kitchen's timeless charm. Design by Mary Broerman; photo by Greg Epstein
In a Tuscan kitchen, cabinets anchor the space with their sun-warmed tones. Often featuring elements that are seen in both traditional and Southwestern design, this warm and family-friendly style feels casually grand. Copper is often a feature, as are handmade tiles and subtly distressed stone or wood floors. Photo courtesy of Jamie Herzlinger
Commonly inspired by the cooking and entertaining-focused French country kitchens, these spaces conjure thoughts of long, luxurious brunches filled with great conversation and culinary delights.
French kitchen design often features an open, airy kitchen space. L-shaped, one-wall or U-shaped-with-peninsula designs are common, and many French kitchens often feature a kitchen island for extra storage and food preparation space, as well. Classic farm-style sinks, great for food preparation or cleanup after large meals, are also a stylish element often featured in French kitchens. Furniture is often antique or antique-looking, to match the casual but still Old-World feel.
Countertops, floor, cabinets and furniture are almost always constructed from natural materials. High-quality woods like oak, cherry and maple are common for cabinets and furniture, which are most often painted in white or light colors but may also be left in their natural wood state or stained to bring out a deeper hue. Cabinets often feature intricate woodworking or cutouts, paired with simple, sturdy hardware in silver, bronze or iron. Furniture and flooring often has a lived-in, weathered look. Floors may feature large planks, and ceilings may feature exposed wood beams for an elegant but countrified look. Farm-style tables commonly feature large planks and sturdy, intricately carved legs.
Countertops also most often feature natural materials, like granite or stone in high-gloss or matte styles. Paired with light cabinets, a darker countertop is often seen in black or dark grey, for a bold contrast.
Artwork and accessories can be an important aspect of French kitchen design. Simple frames containing botanical sketches, pastoral scenes or other natural subjects, flora and fauna are common. Kitchen implements, large utensils and antiques, farm equipment or artifacts and other curiosities are often displayed on walls to add further interest to the design.
Simple wicker or wire baskets, cabinet designs that eschew doors, and open shelving are common storage elements in a French kitchen design. All of these options allow the kitchen to "breathe" and create a welcoming space that can be both convenient for cooks and appealing for guests.
Tile work can be an important feature of French kitchen design, as well. Classic white subway tiles pair well with the simple, elegant design of a French kitchen; they can be especially effective if a color scheme contrasting lights and darks is employed.
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