Top Kitchen Design Styles
Long gone are the days when kitchens were dreary workspaces, hidden behind closed doors. Today's kitchens are central to everyday living and special-occasion entertaining, often doing double duty as family rooms, offices and media centers, as well.
"The kitchen is truly the focus of the home today," says New York-based interior designer Andrew Suvalsky. "A great kitchen design will give essential clues to how the rest of the home can and should develop."
To meet the growing demand for showstopping kitchens, manufacturers now offer cabinets, countertops and fixtures in all of today's most popular design styles, from Old World to modern, city chic to country cozy. And your options aren't limited to what you'll find in the kitchen showrooms, either. Andrew and many other designers also turn to antiques stores, high-end furniture makers and salvage resellers when sourcing kitchen projects.
Whether you're designing your kitchen to match the decor of other rooms, or planning your whole home's look around the kitchen, you can make it a beautiful reflection of your personal style.
Open and inviting, country kitchens allow you to enjoy the feeling of a weekend getaway right in your own home — even if you're smack in the middle of suburbia. Farmhouse tables and furniture-like cabinetry are popular conventions, and an eclectic mix of finishes helps create a comfortable, lived-in look. Country colors range from primary red, yellow and blue to aged tones of cream and pale yellow; whatever hues you favor, mixing rather than matching is the country way to go.
It's the mix of woods, including heart-pine flooring and recycled-timber beams, that distinguish this country kitchen by Studio Entourage and architect Linda MacArthur. The barstools are slipcovered in muslin for a casual look and easy care.
Knotty pine walls and cabinets give this kitchen designed by Christine Albertsson of Albertsson Hansen Architects a rustic, cabin-in-the-woods ambiance. Wrought-iron chandeliers with candle bulbs harken back to simpler times.
Exposed ceiling beams and a wood-burning fireplace provide the open, lodge-like feel in this kitchen designed by Jeff Murphy. The island is weathered wood and the sconces are aged copper.
Rustic Meets Refined
A stone wall is the focal point of this country kitchen designed by Jill Jarrett and Lauren Costar of Jarrett Design, LLC. Professional-quality appliances ensure that the workspace is as functional as it is charming.
This fishcamp cabin kitchen by Historical Concepts Architecture & Planning hits just about every country note: Rustic wood, milk-paint colors, suspended plate racks and casual scatter rugs – and, of course, a deep farmhouse sink. Pale walls and a disciplined lack of clutter keep it all from becoming overwhelming.
Don’t be afraid of adding other countries to your country kitchen. A Middle-Eastern-style chandelier fits perfectly in this American kitchen with a classic country table and fabric-covered chairs. Seasonal centerpieces highlight nature; imagine how glorious sunflowers would look here in the summer!
Sleek, sexy and sophisticated, the modern kitchen is designed to keep clutter to a minimum. Reflective surfaces and high-tech materials are central to the most modern kitchen, and exotic woods add a touch of luxury without frills or fabric. Iconic midcentury seating, including Bertoia stools and chairs by Eames and Cherner, are often chosen for a classically modern look; seating made of Lucite and highly polished woods is often chosen for a more current interpretation of the style.
Less Is More
It's all about clean, rectilinear lines and neutral colors in this modern kitchen. Multitoned terrazzo flooring adds subtle color and delineates the space from the adjacent dining room. Design by designer Alan Tanksley; photography by Peter and Kelley Gibeon
Bold Meets Practical
Clutter is out and color is in. Abundant cabinet space offers a place for everything, including the homeowners' favorite wines. Simple drawer pulls keep the look spare. Design by Todd Hansen of Albertsson Hansen Architecture, LTD; photography by Pete Sieger
Miniature in size but maximum in modern style, this kitchen features bright red upper cabinets and lots of metallic shimmer. Design by Jill Greene of Sand Castle Kitchens; photography by Ron Rosenzweig
Airy and Industrial
Caesarstone doesn't just top the cabinets in this kitchen, it envelops them, creating a bold, modern look. Design by Jamie Gold, AKBD; co-design by Terry Smith and Kevin Heinly; photography by Doyle Terry
Modern: Made to Order
Unadorned, curved cabinets lend a modern influence. Thick concrete countertops are durable and functional, and commercial-style stainless steel appliances allow for serious cooking. Design by John Petrie, CMKBD; photography by Carl Socolow
Whether the space is large or tiny, cottage kitchens are designed to feel cozy and enveloping. With their homespun touches and imperfect finishes, cottage-style kitchens are always one of a kind and serve as the perfect backdrop for offbeat art and collectibles. If you're an avid flea marketer, this style will allow you to turn your weekend finds into everyday pleasures. To marry serious cooking with whimsical style, look for high-end appliances in white or retro colors.
Designer Sandra Bird used ceramic tiles in 12 different colors for the backsplash in this cottage-style kitchen. Playful knobs and painted cabinets carry the color scheme throughout the room, and open shelving shows off bright pottery to its best advantage. Photography by Dennis Andersen
Think of it as "cottage Zen": The apron sink and vintage-look hardware are "classic cottage," but the uniform materials and ceiling-height cabinets keep the look clean and serene. Design by Studio Entourage
With its wagon-wheel chandelier, fence-like railings and large-as-life barn doors, this cottage kitchen is sure to put a smile on anyone's face. The red-and-white color scheme hints at gingham and bandanas, two classic cottage motifs. Design by Debbie Pugh, AKBD; photography by Karen Infusino
For the Love of Old
A wooden backsplash and zinc stove hood are the stand-out elements in this cottage kitchen, while distressed edges on the center island add to the long-loved look. Design by Studio Entourage
Where function meets family friendliness, you'll find the contemporary kitchen. The look is a carefully curated mix of materials: new and old, casual and polished. And because cooking with company has replaced cooking for company as the entertaining ideal, today's kitchen has plenty of room for hosts and guests to work and interact. Add gourmet cooking equipment, comfortable, durable seating and lots of open space for a kitchen perfectly suited to 21st-century living.
This wide-open kitchen offers plenty of room for dining and entertaining, and the mix of natural and man-made materials embodies the best of contemporary style. Design by Alan Tanksley; photography by William Abranowicz
Tone-on-Tone Color Palette
Toronto-based designer Frankie Castro created a natural look in this contemporary kitchen with earth-toned tiles and a tree branch chandelier. Photography by Celebration Studios
Entertain With Ease
This kitchen by Linda McDougald Design and Postcard from Paris opens right onto a comfortable great room, allowing for easy living and causal entertaining. Photography by Rachael Boling
A glass penny-tile backsplash adds pop-art punch. Because the colors are all neutral, the homeowner, a floral designer, can add flowers and accessories without making the space feel chaotic. Design by Lindsay Schultz; photography by Kelly Moss
Mediterranean or French Country
Imagine a small hotel in the South of France, or a contessa's villa on the Amalfi Coast. The colors are sun-dappled. The surfaces are elegantly timeworn, and the atmosphere is pure romance. To replicate that Mediterranean ambiance anywhere, look for Provencal fabrics in rich tones of russet, cobalt and ochre, warm-toned wooden cabinetry, and handmade ceramic accessories. Rough-hewn textures, copper pots and rush seats add the final touches.
Eclectic but Gallic details include a toile-upholstered armchair and wrought-iron pot rack, tile backsplashes and ladder-back chairs. Design by Jennifer Norrington, CKD; photography by Liz Kaye
Sophisticated and elegant, traditional toile in soft shades of tan and rose are integral to the French-country style. Curtained oak cabinetry is a hallmark of the look, and dried flowers are a classic Provencal accent. Design by David Stimmel
Italian-Inspired Cook Station
Designer Ellinor Ellefson imported a cherubic early-19th-century iron fireback from Italy for this Mediterranean style kitchen. The arched stove hood enhances the Old Europe feeling. Photography by Bryan Schiele
Whether you live at the beach or just wish you did, you can count on cool shades of blue, green, white and sand to create a vacation-time mood. Seagrass and wicker seating are casual, comfortable and coastal. Fabrics and flooring designed to stand up to wet bathing suits make coastal-style kitchens easy to care for, and window treatments that allow for maximum sunlight will have everyone in let’s-get-to-the-beach mode bright and early.
Light anigre-wood cabinets contrast with stainless steel in this modern, coastal kitchen. The curved drawer fronts reference the waves just beyond the windows. Design by architect McKee Patterson, AIA; photography by Chichi Ubina
If you are lucky enough to have unobstructed views of the beach, you can keep the colors neutral and let Mother Nature speak for herself. TMS Architects designed a kitchen floor plan that doesn't compete with the views.
Designer Mollyanne Sherman gave this coastal kitchen an eco-friendly design with bamboo cabinets and Paperstone counter tops. Walls in a deep-sea turquoise evoke an ocean ambiance. Photography by Treve Johnson
If you yearn for a time when materials were solid and craftsmanship was king, Old World design will embrace you in history and luxury. Look for dark mahogany finishes with lots of carving and detail, countertops with ogee or bullnosed edges, and stone or wooden floors. Add historical accessories and heavy fabrics, and enjoy time travel comfortably in your own home.
Old World Craftsmanship
Linda McDougald Design and Postcard from Paris Home created a rich, Old World ambiance with dark woods, cabinetry carved to look like antique furniture and comfortable upholstered stools. Photography by Rachael Boling
A wood floor and vintage stove are among the salient details in this kitchen. Pendant lighting and a display of copper pots complete the Old World look. Design by McKee Patterson, AIA; photography by John Bessler
Soaring wood-beamed ceilings, double-height windows and intricately edged marble countertops add architectural splendor. Stone flooring and bisque-colored cabinets keep the palette neutral and elegant. Design by Heather Moe; photography by Dan Forster
Coffered ceilings were set over the 70-square-foot island in this grand space. Laser-cut moldings and custom finials adorn this unusual overhead treatment, and can be found throughout the room. Design by Kathy Cvetkovich of Willowbrook Design; photography by TK
Turkey on Thanksgiving, ham on Christmas Eve and chocolate chip cookies after school. A traditional kitchen is the perfect backdrop for a life that centers on family, friends and holidays — but its clean, comfortable look is welcoming 365 days a year. Paneled or glass doors on cupboards contribute timeless style, and latched or icebox hardware is often added for period detail. White tiles add a clean look and help reflect light, and artisanal or vintage-look light fixtures add special touches.
Elegance on Display
Stepped crown moldings and classic marble are among the timeless characteristics in this space. Glass-front cabinets allow the homeowner to display traditional china and crystal. Design by Karen Williams of St. Charles Kitchens; photography by Keith Scott Morton
Designer Mark Haddad used freestanding furniture — including this hutch, painted Benjamin Moore's Louisberg Green — for an elegant, English-style kitchen. The drawer pulls and glass-front cabinetry add to the traditional appeal. Photography by Joseph St. Pierre
Punch of Color
There's plenty of room for color in a traditional kitchen. This British-inspired design includes a color scheme of royal blue, black and white. Design by Michael Howells; photography by Anna M. Campbell
Designer Jeffrey Krieger uses traditional cabinetry, upholstered dining chairs and a fireplace to create a classic look. Valances at the window add softness without fussiness. Photography by TK