Top Kitchen Design Styles

From contemporary to cottage, today's most popular looks inspire beautiful kitchen designs.
Old-World Kitchen with Barrel Ceiling

Old-World Kitchen with Barrel Ceiling

Design by Postcard from Paris Home; photography by Rachael Boling

Design by Postcard from Paris Home; photography by Rachael Boling

By: Susan Kleinman

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.

Country Farmhouse

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.

Cozy Country Kitchen Designs

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Classic Country Appeal

Hardwood floors and weathered brick contribute to the timeless design in this kitchen by Cyndy Cantley, CKD. A deep farmhouse sink is as practical as it is pretty, and a rough-hewn island keeps the look down to earth.

Photo By: Cyndy Cantley, CKD

Pale Perfection

Painted finishes are a hallmark of country design. The robins-egg blue cabinetry in this kitchen by BeDe Design adds welcome color amid the natural hues.

Photo By: Rick Hammer; Design By: BeDe Design

Simple Pleasures

Plate racks and candlestick-style sconces; white-on-white-on-wood. Keep your country kitchen simple as Historical Concepts Architecture & Planning did here, and you’ve got the perfect backdrop to highlight food and family.

Photo By: Richard Leo Johnson; Design By: Historical Concepts Architecture & Planning

Colorful Country

Fiestaware colors and checkerboard flooring lend this country kitchen a hip, midcentury flair. Rustic open shelving gives colorful ceramics pride of place.

Photo By: Julia Staples Photography; Design By: Hannah Dee Interiors

The Tractor Factor

Tractor-seat stools add an agrarian touch to this country kitchen, and terra-cotta floors with Moravian accent tiles featuring cows add to the farmhouse feeling.

Photo By: Matt Villano Photography; Design By: Jill Jarrett, CKD, CBD, and Lauren Villano, AKBD, of Jarret Design, LLC

Terra-Cotta Close-Up

A close-up shot showcases the small cow tiles that accent this terra-cotta floor.

Photo By: Matt Villano Photography; Design By: Jill Jarrett, CKD, CBD, and Lauren Villano, AKBD, of Jarret Design, LLC

Mixed Design

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.

Photo By: Joshua Vick; Design By: Studio Entourage and architect Linda MacArthur

Handcrafted Accents

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.

Photo By: Scott Amundson; Design By: Christine Albertsson of Albertsson Hansen Architects

Warm Textures

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.

Photo By: Susan Gilmore; Design By: Jeff Murphy

The Industrial Age

Exposed ceiling beams and an industrial range hood with its oxidation left as is add a casual, country feel to this kitchen by Historical Concepts Architecture & Planning.

Photo By: Richard Leo Johnson; Design By: Historical Concepts Architecture & Planning

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.

Photo By: Jarrett Design LLC

Animals Welcome

What's a country kitchen without a couple of big, affectionate dogs? Here, designer Patricia Caulfield set a dog-feeding station against a classic country background of white beaded board.

Photo By: Alan Gilbert; Design By: Patricia Caulfield

Natural High

A knotty-wood table and rush baskets add farmhouse style to this suburban dining nook designed by Stonebreaker Builders & Remodelers. Accessories in on-trend shades of turquoise and brown make the space feel fresh.

Photo By: Larry Huene; Design By: Stonebreaker Builders & Remodelers

Country, Southwest Style

Rough-hewn alder wood cabinetry and wrought iron accents keep this space “country” without the slightest hint of “cutesy.” The floor is cement with a faux-wood porcelain tile inlay

Photo By: Works Photography; Design By: The Sky is the Limit Design, Inc.

Go Fishcamp

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.

Photo By: Jack Gardner; Design By: Historical Concepts Architecture & Planning

Francais Farmhouse

Cream-colored cabinets and painted ceramics give this country kitchen a French accent. The turned island legs and farmhouse-style drawer pulls complete the look.

Photo By: Steve Voegeli; Design By: Tami Holsten of Bear Trap Design

The Lodge Look

Painted cabinets with antique-looking glass add to the lodge look of this space by Tami Holsten of Bear Trap Design.

Photo By: Steve Voegeli; Design By: Tami Holsten of Bear Trap Design

Blending In

Freestanding storage pieces complement built-ins for the assembled-over-time look characteristic of country decor.

Photo By: Steve Voegeli; Design By: Tami Holsten of Bear Trap Design

Beam Me Up

Wood takes pride of place here, too – this time in exposed ceiling beams, evoking camp-cabin memories in this family-friendly kitchen by Remodelworks.

Photo By: Scott Basile; Design By: Mary Jennings

Eclectic Eat-In

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!

Photo By: Carlos Vergara Photography; Design By: Susan Klimala of the Kitchen Studio of Glen Ellyn

Modern

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.

Add Modern Style to Your Kitchen

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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

Illuminating Elements

Accent lights below the wall-hung cabinets illuminate the floor and the cabinetry panels above the tall cabinets were custom-fitted for one long, neat line. Wood on the ceiling and island base softens the look. Design by Edward Scirghi; photography by Ivan Cruz

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

Reflective Surfaces

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

Nature-Inspired Details

Large windows bring the natural world into this modern kitchen. The honed-granite countertops and backsplash echo the greenery outdoors. Photo courtesy of TMS Architects

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

Cottage Charm

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.

Kitchens With Cottage Charm

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One-of-a-Kind Approach

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

Offbeat Art

There's plenty of room for whimsy in a cottage kitchen. Check out the fun fish above the range and the framed picture of Tabasco. Design by Rodney Tassisto

From: Rodney Tassistro and Rodney Tassistro

Photo By: Melissa Oivanki

Mixed Style

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

Cozy Nooks

Jodie Gould, AKBD, made the most of every inch in her own small kitchen. Built-in benches surround a charming wood-topped table, and mix-and-match pillows add relaxed comfort. Photography by Mallory Parkington

Barn-Inspired Colors

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

Contemporary

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.

Design a Contemporary Kitchen

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Classic Contemporary

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

From: Alan Tanksley

Unconventional Lighting

In this New York kitchen, designer Andrew Suvalsky showcases a modern Louis Poulsen pendant lamp re-plated in polished nickel. Photography by Seth Boyd

Multipurpose Living

With two separate islands, there is plenty of space for storage, prep and on-the-go dining. The Electrolux Hood suspended over the range adds sculptural flair. Design by Stephanie Maheu; photography by Adam Frehm

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

Artful Details

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

Nature-Inspired Textures

Designer Andrew Howard chose reclaimed tiles and elmwood cabinetry for the unique look of this kitchen. Photography by Jessie Preza

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.

Mediterranean-Style Kitchens

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French-Country Character

An armoire-style cabinet lined with curtains, arched backsplash and a trio of iron lanterns showcase French-country flavor. Design by Gail Drury

From: Drury Design

Romantic Accents

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

Tuscan Hues

Designer Katheryn Cowles chose honey-toned woods and variegated marble for this Tuscan-inspired kitchen. Ornate chandeliers add an extra layer of whimsy.

From: Katheryn Cowles

Photo By: Picasa

Built-In Charm

Arched cabinets add a touch of the Mediterranean, and open shelving allows the homeowner to showcase favorite majolica pieces. Design by TMS Architects

Timeless Toile

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

From: Dave 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

On Display

A mantel-style hood is the perfect platform for Mediterranean accessories such as copperware and dried grasses. Design by Cheryl D & Company; photography by DaurDaug Design Group

Coastal

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.

7 Coastal-Inspired Kitchens

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Bright and Beachy

Blues in various textures and patterns make a bold splash, and starfish votive holders carry the beach theme through. Design by Bruce Palmer; photography by John Jenkins

Seaside Essentials

Weathered rattan chairs and sea-glass-toned dishware are all part of the vacation-house vibe. Crisp white cabinetry against pale blue walls reminds us of light clouds on a summer day. Design by Brian Patrick Flynn

Sandy Hues

If you're not a fan of the blues, you can certainly decorate a beach house with seagrass and sandy tones, as designer Lisa Sherry did in this coastal kitchen. The capiz-shell chandelier adds a soft beachy vibe.

Coastal Cabinetry

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

Bring Home the Beach

Nothing says "beach house" quite like white wicker chairs and a large painting with shoreline color. Design by Regan Baker Design

Oceanfront Oasis

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.

Tropical Vibe

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

Old World

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.

Design an Old World Kitchen

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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

Photo By: Rachael Boling

Timeless Details

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

Photo By: John Bessler

Above the Curve

Arched leaded-glass windows and a barrel ceiling create a casual, Old World aesthetic. Design by Linda McDougald Design and Postcard from Paris Home; photography by Rachael Boling

Heightened Design

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

Hidden Gems

Distressed finishes and crystal chandeliers add a touch of elegance. That antique mirrored armoire? Look again: It's the refrigerator. Design by Brigitte Fabi; photography by Eric Hausman

From: Drury Design

Photo By: Eric Hausman

Ornate Overhead

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

Photo By: Copyright 2009 Craig Thompson

Old Meets New

Heavily carved moldings, corbels and countertops combine to make this kitchen an Old World gem. But there's plenty of room for new-world technology — including a built-in television. Design by Cathy Sparling, CKD; photography by Theresa Gruenwald

Traditional

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.

Design a Traditional Kitchen

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Period Detail

Patricia Caulfield custom-designed the turned-wood leg of the center island specifically for this traditional kitchen. The soft gray of the base picks up the veining in the marble countertop. Photography by Alan Gilbert

Photo By: Alan Gilbert

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

Built-In Charm

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

Photo By: JOSEPH ST.PIERRE JSP247@GMAIL.COM

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

Classic Approach

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

Mission-Style Character

Oak cabinets with sculptural metal hardware are quintessential Mission style. Designer Angela Bonfante kept the look clean, simple and traditional in this efficient space.

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